chores for kids

After I posted about the Pivot Vac that my daughter uses as part of her daily chores I receive several emails asking me about how I do my kids chores and what exactly they do to earn their money for the week.

There are several reasons why it is important for kids to do chores around the house. First, it helps to teach them responsibility and the value of hard work. By completing tasks and contributing to the household, kids can learn that their actions have an impact on others and that they are an important member of the family.

Doing chores can help kids to develop independence and self-sufficiency. It can also foster a sense of accomplishment and pride in their contributions to the family. Kids can learn important life skills such as organization, time management, and problem-solving. These skills will be useful to them in all areas of their lives, including school, work, and relationships.

Now every family does things a little different so you have to adapt to your lifestyle and personality. But this is how we do it.


I think we are pretty strict with our kids. Wait! Strict sounds like a bad word – maybe consistent is better. We strive very hard to make sure that our kids know our expectations. Therefore I don’t count to 1-2-3, don’t give them numerous chances, don’t constantly repeat myself, etc.

When I want my kids to do something I look them in the eye and ask them. For example, (looking into Kayla’s eyes) “Kayla it is time to clean up your toys, okay?”

And then while still looking into her eyes she knows I expect a response. Therefore I communicated what I would like to have done and she has acknowledged me. Therefore, if it isn’t done, she knows she is being disobedient.

The only thing we punish for in our home is disobedience. I say all that to say, for us, a chore chart isn’t necessary. My kids know their daily jobs and I help remind them to get them done and help them keep track of time so they can do their jobs in the allotted time.  However, for some, that visual reminder of moving their jobs to the “done” section of a chore chart is really helpful. I think you need to know you kids and your personality and see if that fits for you.

So what do my kids do for their jobs?

Well there are some family contributions that my kids do simply because they live in the house and are a part of this family unit. For example, my kids have to clean their rooms and the playroom each day.

That is not something I pay them for. They also have to turn all of their clothes right side out and bring it to the laundry room each week. I then wash it and fold them and put them back in the basket.

They are then expected to put the clothes away. However, we do pay for extra jobs. Each of my kids have chores where they earn money each week and we pay them half their age.

Kayla – age 5 earns $2.50 a week



1. Putting all shoes away at the end of the night. We are always in such a rush around here that we put our shoes right by the door and kick them on and off as we come and go.  At the end of the night she puts them all back into our cubbies in our mudroom.

2. Vacuuming the kitchen floor. With the Pivot Vac, she zips around and vacuums after dinner every night.


3. Putting the pillows back on the couch. After pillow fights, lounging around watching TV, fort-making, etc., our pillows are a wreck.  She is responsible for fluffing and making the pillows look nice each day.

4. Kayla sets the table for dinner. I get down all the plates and cups and set them on the counter and she fills all the water and puts everything on the table.

5. Kayla is responsible for helping mommy make salsa and muffins each week. We usually make a double batch on Sunday and, of course, make sure we do the salsa dance before we start 😉

Isaac – age 8 earns $4.00 a week



1. Empties the dishwasher each day. He hates this job the most and usually can rope Kayla into helping him. Since he can’t reach past the first shelf in our kitchen cupboards he will stack the rest on the counter and then Tim or I will put the rest away.

2. Folds all kitchen rags and puts them away. Each week I wash all our microfiber cloths and he neatly rolls them and puts them in the

3. Clears the table after all meals and puts all the dishes in the sink.

4. And his new job (since he turned 8 last week) is to help prepare one meal each week with mommy’s help. Kayla loves helping in the kitchen but Isaac –notsomuch. So this was a way that I can get him in the kitchen with me and teach him some basic skills.

Hopefully his wife will appreciate that one day.

How do you pay your kids?

On Sunday is payday. Tim handles that. Each of the kids receive their allowance and they get to give back to God. We have shared with them from the Bible what God expects them to give back.

Kayla is the generous one and usually gives $.50 each week. Isaac gives the 10% but then, oftentimes, will give some of his money when he sees a need like giving money to a local children’s hospital or helping to buy shoes for kids in Haiti, etc.

What if they don’t do all their chores?

My kids have never really said no they won’t do it. But if they don’t do it for some reason they lose $.50 per job not done. So 5 missed jobs in a week for Kayla is no money. We have only had them lose their money once each though. It hasn’t been an issue before.

What if they whine and complain?

I always try and sympathize with my kids first. I know chores aren’t fun. So I will say, “Buddy I know chores aren’t fun. Mommy doesn’t like washing dishes but I do it so that our family has clean dishes to eat off of.

I am so grateful for the part you play in helping our house run smoothly. If you need a minute by yourself to be able to have a good attitude while doing it, that is fine.

You can go up to your room and have that minute and when you are ready you can finish your job.” Since they hate being alone they usually change their attitude on the spot. But there are times, Kayla needs that minute and takes it.

The goal for chores isn’t just to get stuff done around the house, although that is a huge perk!  It is to teach them responsibility and that they are an important part of our family where we all work together.

Also it is to teach them about money and how to handle it.

So this is how we do it and it isn’t always perfect. The kids complain and pout and mommy loses her temper at messes many times.  But we strive for progress and not perfection in our house.

I would love love love…did I mention LOVE to hear how you do chores in your house.

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  1. I Love this! It’s so helpful. We’ve never paid our children, probably because my family continually blesses them and which they too are required to pay tithes/offering, but it’s definitely something to look into. My kids groan less now about chores but on occasion when they’re occupied with something fun, that’s when it starts lol. We have also taught them that we are a part of team, no one person can or will do it all, we all will work together. And I love, love, that my hubby makes that clear when he helps with dishes after I’ve cooked. Iron, yes IRON because I despise it and overall be my helpmate as I am his. You’ve given me lots to think about.

  2. Hi Amanda, Thanks so much for commenting. Your system sounds very similar to our own, and I love your point about how your hubby sets an example for your family. Sounds like a keeper! 😉

  3. I’m so glad that your children are given responsibilites. My background is in early childhood development and I can’t stress enough how important chores are. But really not even chores, giving your kids the ability to accomplish tasks including household ones teaches them so much. Not only do they get a feeling of accomplishment, they learn what it means to be a part of a team and to contribute. Lastly, they develop skills that empower them for life. Yes, even small household skills can help empower your children to become achievers. I can’t tell you how difficult it can be for a 4 or 5 year old in a classroom that can’t do some of the simplest tasks simply because they have never been given the opportunity. THanks for sharing and major kudos for you for letting your children do things independently.

  4. I have an 8 & 5yo too! (Only my boy & girl are the other way around). We just moved and it’s been the perfect chance to reassess/reassign our chores. I have our chores organized by day of the week, kind of like the olden times:
    “Wash on Monday,
    Iron on Tuesday,
    Mend on Wednesday,
    Churn on Thursday,
    Clean on Friday,
    Bake on Saturday,
    Rest on Sunday.”
    So each day we have specific things that need to get done. My kids are assigned certain tasks, “remove and replace trash bags in all the small trashcans,” or “wipe down bathroom sink, counter, & mirror.” My 8yo is capable of all her tasks without help; my 5yo still needs me right there for many of his. We have a laminated checklist (reusable!) and we don’t pay for chores. We simply expect each child to do his or her part in making this household run smoothly. If I receive push-back in the form of whining or complaining or refusal to work, the consequences are loss of a privilege (screen time, usually) and/or additional chores depending on the severity of the offense.

    My 8yo is quite capable in the kitchen (she can bake and decorate a cake from scratch on her own, for example). So this year I have her responsible to plan and make one meal a week. I look over her plan to be sure it’s a balanced meal and something she’s capable of (and something we can afford the ingredients for! She has a bit of a taste for the exotic. Ha!), and I offer assistance if needed, but usually she’s able to execute her meals on her own. My little guy comes and helps me in the kitchen now and then, learning to handle a sharp knife and stir hot pots, etc.

    I’ve known far too many young women who were never required to help at home and therefore are entirely unequipped to care for a household of their own. Most feel they were cheated by not being trained as children. I aspire to prepare my kids for their adult life by starting early so that it’s as natural as any other required task and so that when they’re grown they can be confident in their ability to care for their home, whether they’re married or living with roommates or even still at home with me!

  5. Wow, it sounds like you have an awesome system going on. And how fun for your daughter (and helpful for you) that she can contribute to making meals already. Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. Great ideas!!! We are having the hardest time with chores in our house. Our soon to be 12year-old son is asked to take out the trash & recycling as needed, usually every other day & help wash dishes every other day. Most of the time it’s a battle & my husband or I end up doing it. We also have 6 & 8 year-old boys who have to clean their room & bathroom messes as needed but it too is a battle. And then we have 2 1/2 & 4year-old princesses who just have to clean up their toys. Most of the time I am running around the house trying to clean messes as quickly as they are being made & end up very frustrated. We have tried chores charts with no results. I’m going to try explaining the importance of helping out the way you did to your kids & sympathize with them…..hopefully it works! Any other advice to help chores not be as painful as pulling teeth would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

  7. Hi Hope, For your older kiddos, I would recommend sitting down with them and making sure they are clear on their jobs and the expectations. You can certainly use a visual if you feel they need it. As I discuss in my post, I would emphasize the importance of everyone working together to take care of the home. I would also make sure not to complete the jobs for your children if they are resistant to doing them. Instead, maybe give them a moment to change their attitudes and then finish the job before they do anything else. You don’t want them to learn that mommy will just do it if they complain and drag their feet enough. I hope that helps a little, and I would love to hear back after you give these ideas a try.

  8. I’ve struggled a lot with chores as we have 7 kids! It’s a lot of little people to train & I was not trained properly as a child so I’m having to learn with them.

    One thing we’ve done in the past (which ends up being used mostly in the summer) is a laminated chore chart. We would be broke if we paid our kids so we use small jars from the dollar store which we call “Caught Ya Being Good Jars”. Upon completion of their daily chores, they earn a small pom-pom. When they reach the top of their jar (which is 40 pom-poms) they get $1.00. They can also gain/loose pom-poms as well throughout the day for good/bad behavior!

  9. Love this!! This is exactly what I was looking for. I don’t believe in giving an allowance for something kids SHOULD be doing because they are part of the family but I do agree with paying them for extra jobs 🙂 when did you start this? My kids are too young at this point (2 and 6.5 months) but my 2 year old is great at helping me put his trucks away and shoes in the closet. He also loved helping me sweep and unload the dishwasher! Haha not going to discourage that! Thanks again

  10. Yeah, my son loved the empty the dishwasher when he was tiny too. It’s sweet that they want to help so young. Our kids were four before we really gave them official chores.

  11. Our boys are 5, 4, and 2, and each have a task which is suited to their age. Birthdays are coming up so probably some adjustments will be made. Currently the 5yo is responsible for cleaning off and washing the table, the 4yo is in charge of picking up all of the laundry that ends up all over the house (don’t ask why it ends up there, just that his clothes tend to be there the most so it’s his job), and the 2yo has a task of going potty in the toilet instead of the diaper. They all have additional chores of cleaning rooms and making beds as well. We do a reward system rather than money where they get a mark for each day of doing their chores, an additional mark for going “above and beyond” (and we look for excuses to give them that mark to encourage it). Then at the end of the week we have Sundays (get it?) and they get a scoop of ice cream or a topping for each mark on the calendar.

  12. How cute! I love that you’ve even found a “job” that’s appropriate for your two-year-old and also the idea of the “above and beyond.” Thanks for sharing your system!

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