Monday, June 10, 2013

Children's Chores

 Okay, confession time. I am a MEAN Mom. I make my children do chores. And the kicker is, I don't even pay them! The HORROR!
 My children once upon a time discovered that there are other children in the world who get paid for doing their chores and thought they should too. I told them that I would happily pay them for doing their chores, but that I would then be forced to charge them room and board. They quickly determined that they were coming out ahead by continuing to work without pay.
 Why am I such a mean Mom? Well, I happen to have some deep seated beliefs about developing a work ethic in my children and I feel that chores are an invaluable part of that. As a homeschooling Mom, I don't believe in busy work. I don't make my kids do homework to "learn" things they already know. I don't make them do pages of useless worksheets to make sure they do just as much "work" as the child in the next seat. I make their learning relevant to them. We skip pages in our curriculum and do just a few problems on the page if the child can show mastery of the subject( if they don't show mastery they have to do all the pages and possibly extra). I was always told that the endless pages of needless work in school were to teach me a work ethic. I firmly believe in teaching work ethic, but I feel that real work is a much better way of teaching it. Sweeping a floor can be just as tedious as doing pages of worksheets, but there is a reason for doing it. The child can easily see how their labor has made a difference.
 One of the complaints I often hear about large families is that they make their children work around the house. I just can't figure out why that is a problem. It is true that I can't possibly do everything that needs done around here by myself. I need my children to help. I think that rather than destroying their freedom, it gives them a sense that they matter. My children know that their work is important. They know that our household would not function without them. I think that is a good thing.
 I also hope that some day my children will have homes of their own and I'd like them to know how to take care of them. I worked with a young, newly married girl (I can't call her a woman)who didn't know how to do laundry. She had no interest in learning. She just took everything to the cleaners, even their underwear! Now, that might be alright if you are extremely wealthy, but for most newlywed couples working part time and going to college, that is a huge waste. I can't even count the number of people I know who can't cook an entire meal or sew on a missing button. I don't want my children to leave my house not knowing these basic things. So, my poor children are stuck with doing chores.
  I  do believe in allowances. I just don't tie them to chores. Allowances are for personal expenses and everyone in the family is eligible when there is enough money in the budget for them( there isn't right now, but that changes).  My children also have the ability to earn extra money for special things by doing jobs above and beyond the norm. We have paid children for things like building fences, painting, and chopping trees. We do want our children to be able to earn money for things they really want and we do give them opportunities to do so. They just know that their reward for doing the dishes is getting to eat on clean plates and knowing that they have helped our family run smoothly. I guess it will have to do.


  1. Just discovered your blog. Thanks for sharing your family and the wisdom you gain form raising a large family. I totally applaud your kids doing chores. I've had many college students live with our family for a summer and many don't know how to cook or clean. These are life skills, as well I too feel everyone should contribute to the household. I only have 2 kids but they don't question that they need to do chores. I love that they have favorite chores, and let them trade with each other as they then happily do the chosen chore.

  2. One of the biggest complaints I get about large families is that the kids have to work so much. I just don't understand why that's a bad thing. My kids have plenty of play time too.