Family Magazine

Assigning Household Chores: Getting Your Kids Involved

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum
Assigning Household Chores: Getting Your Kids Involved

Getting your kids to willingly do chorse is simpler than you think


When I tell people I have 8 kids I always get the same response, “how many?” I don’t know if it’s the shock on their faces or the disbelief in their voice that gets me but I always feel humored at their reply. On occasion the “how many” is followed with “how do you do it” and inevitably we land on housework and how messy my home must be! The truth is with eight kids it’s really hard to stay ahead of the mess but it’s much easier when you have them onboard for chores!

So how do you get 8 children to share in household chores? Simply by being creative and making each and every one of them think they are in charge of some aspect of the duties.

This “trick” isn’t as easy as you may think. In fact I failed horribly in my first several attempts of having everything run smoothly during chores. But with a few careful steps and intentional thought you can have your kids pitching in with enthusiasm and confidence in no time!


Going from “Do I have to” to “Yes Ma’am” and “Job Well Done”

Getting the kids to stop complaining and start looking forward to their chores was simply a matter of putting them in charge but it had to be done carefully.  I found it helpful to start from the oldest to the youngest.  At the time my oldest was 14 and my youngest was 3 barely ready to hold a dust cloth. I had to be careful not to give the assumption of power to one as well as ignore the desire of my youngest to help. After careful consideration here was the roles I gave each child:

  • The oldest was responsible for assessing chores, keeping track of supplies, managing the chore list (with my assistance) and keeping our chore closest clean and organized.
  • The twins were 12 and left in charge of checking chores every day to ensure they were being done. If a chore was not finished their job was to report to head mom so I could get the job done.
  • My 8 year old daughters were in charge of all things laundry, meaning they had to track and assess supplies, the laundry list (who had laundry that day and did they do it) and assisting the younger ones in putting away their clothes since they were too young to do it on their own.
  • My 6 year old daughter happily supervised the playroom and bedroom chores. It was her responsibility of helping her younger brother know what day was his turn to put the toys away and to report to head mom any time something was broke, lost or generally causing an argument.
  • My son at the time was 3 and the last on the list of chore responsibilities as the baby was merely a year old. He was very fond of his 6 year old sister and truly thought the world of her.  Finding him a supervising role was as simple as understanding that. You see she was allergic to dust mites severe enough to have asthma attacks if the dust built up in her room. So his job was to “assess” the dust level in each room, especially hers and report to head mom. Then he helped determine which sibling (with my input of course) was available to remove said dust immediately. Needless to say he LOVED his job.

I maintained the responsibility of assigning actual chores like who has living room, dining room and the like. But adding these supervising roles to the mix gave my kids a sense of responsibility that made doing their chores part of a grown up process that gave them pride to take part in them.  They knew that if they were going to be reporting on others they needed to be on top of their own responsibilities and so their chores were done quite well with little involvement from me.

But handing over leadership roles alone doesn’t make your children magically do chores with happiness. I learned that it was crucial for them to see their leadership as a service, a means to help our home run smooth and a way to care for their siblings. As they learned this lesson their cooperation in doing chores grew and my stress of keeping up on the housework lessened.

Mikki Hogan is a proud wife and mother living in NC with her family. As a freelance writer she is able to offer up valuable resources to readers covering off a variety of topics from raising kids, caring for pets and answering questions like what is dust mite or how to train dogs.

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