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For Parents

Parenting Tips

Helping Out Around the House

Dear Janie,

At what age should children start helping around the house? Our 3 sons (ages 11, 8 and 6) make their beds and put their dirty clothes in the hamper, but that’s about it, and I’m getting tired of doing everything else myself. My husband agreed that our oldest son should help with simple chores, but he thinks the younger two will do more harm than good. I disagree and think it’s time for everyone to pitch in. What do you think?


Dear Cindy,

It’s important to teach children at a young age that they are part of the family. And with the privileges of family life come responsibilities. Everyone, even the youngest child, should take part in keeping the household in good order. Do we want our sons and daughters growing up thinking mom and dad will always do the chores? I think not!

Many jobs like vacuuming, dishes and laundry can be broken down into smaller tasks that each age level can help with. The youngest boy can match socks and fold underwear; your middle child can load and unload the dishwasher; and your oldest would probably have fun running the vacuum cleaner. As they get older, the boys can take on more.

I also suggest developing a Chore Chart to keep track of who does what. Check off chores as they are completed and reward the kids for a job well done. Remember, it’s a family!

Your husband is right, it will take time to teach your sons to perform some of the tasks, but isn’t that our “job” as parents … to teach? Be sure to spend time with the boys while they are learning so they know what you expect. Don’t expect them to be flawless from the start. Be patient and have fun. They won’t be perfect, but then again are we?