You need to know the value of giving chores to your children

Tip #4 – Chores are your friend


Growing up a city girl, I thought chores were things one did on a farm, like Laura Ingalls. Milking the cow, raking out the barn, pitching hay (whatever THAT means), getting water from the creek. I did grow up doing work around the house, we just called it by the task and not the general idea of chores. Both of my parents worked for many years and we were responsible for laundry, making suppers, doing dishes, dusting along with taking care of our own bedrooms.

It has been amazing to me how many moms wear themselves out by doing all the work around their house. Most families with many children have learned to share the work around but there are still quite a number of young moms stressing out over all there is to do in keeping a house functioning and clean. They cook and clean and almost make themselves slaves to their children. I’ve seen it over and over again.

There is a better way; here is Tip #4 in my Tips for Mom series.

I figure, the children MAKE most of the mess, so it’s up to them to CLEAN most of the mess!

Very early on in my parenting I read the book 401 Ways to Get Your Kids To Work at Home by Bonnie McCullough. Now I have not read the book for many years but the part that I really liked was the list of age appropriate chores for children – starting with 2 year olds!

Yes, your 2 year old can clear their place from the table.
Yes, your 2 year old can help you fold wash cloths.
Yes,  your 2 year old can put the cups and plates (plastic) on the table to set it.

Teaching our children to do chores helps everyone. It teaches them responsibility for their own things (toys, bed, etc.), it lets them understand that they are part of a family and helping out is part of family life. It also teaches them that they are not the center of the universe (a hard thing for infants and toddlers to grasp). It also helps them learn to work together (this was a biggie in our home). Don’t forget, God created Adam to work — He created Adam with responsibilities ready for him: to tend The Garden. So, work is actually a part of God’s plan. It is a good thing for us to instill knowing how to work hard and work completely in our children’s lives. This is something they will need for the rest of their lives.

Some things I did that helped our little ones.

  • I got plastic Tupperware plates and cups for our every day use (so no fear of injury from breaking glass or ceramic)
  • I put the dishes and cups in a bottom cabinet so that little ones can reach to set the table and clear the dish drainer
  • I made sure to fold batches that had items little ones could fold after their nap time (so they could focus)
  • I rearranged much of our home to put things down low for little ones to reach for fetching and putting away
  • I set up chores (with their corresponding charts) in a room so that everyone had something to do
    • i.e. living room: 8 year old vacuumed, 6 year old dusted, 4 year old collected what was under the furniture and put away, 2 year old put all toys in a bucket

Would it have been easier for me to do it all? ABSOLUTELY! At least in the beginning. Training for work/chores is a lot of work. And the chores never quite get done to Mom’s standards. But that isn’t really the point. The point is the long range character we are training into our children’s lives. The point is helping them learn the joy of being fully part of the family. The point is to share the load so Mom isn’t running herself ragged while the children grow more and more self-centered and lazy. The point is giving Glory to God as we step into His design for us to embrace work.

We are now at a completely different stage of life with numerous adult children at home and working (even non-adult children working) and schedules are constantly changing. We are always re-working chores and how to divvy up the workload, but it never falls entirely on my shoulders, NEVER.

So, look at your day. Are you frazzled from all the housework? Are you the only one cleaning or doing dishes? Are your children learning to be helpers around the house?

All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.
Unless otherwise indicated, photos from

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  1. Amen. Amen. Amen!!! It is easier for me to sweep the kitchen in 5 minutes and be done. BUT, I’m training my 6 yr old how to do the task, how to obey, how to work diligently for an “employer” even when the task isn’t something he wants to do. So, he spends an hour doing the task at least 3 times. He’ll get there. I just have to remember my long term goals.

    • Ah, those long term goals! Sometimes it is hard for us moms to see them when the floor is a mess and supper is boiling over and it just needs to get cleaned! But you are so so right! Thanks for sharing, Stephanie!

  2. Thank you, Kate! I agree whole-heartedly with the value of chores!
    Thanks for the link-up, friend!

    • Lovely to see you again, Jacqueline!

  3. Kate, my friend, it’s been a little while since I’ve dropped in. But your post today is right on! We have been strong believers in giving our children chores from early on in their lives. And we have seen the fruit of that as they are older now. Thank you for reminding us that our children learn so much from having chores than from not. Thank you for hosting and for the reminder. Have a fabulous week friend.

    • Hey Naomi! Great to see you again. Love seeing the fruit of our labors as our children grow into adulthood!!! Thanks for sharing, dear friend.

  4. You are so right! No child is ever too young to start learning how to do chores around the house. You basically assign the chores appropriate for their age. We do the same thing in our house. The first chore was cleaning up their toys and it built up from there.

    • Yes, Serena…it’s always a blessing to find other moms on the same page. Thanks for coming by and for sharing!

  5. I totally agree :) Chores help kids to feel a part of something bigger, and helps to get over themselves!

  6. I was very good about giving my kids chores when they were younger, but as they became busier with their home-school work, I started slacking off a bit because I deemed their schoolwork as more important. I then realized that life-skills like caring for the home and learning their way around the kitchen are just as important as their ‘book work’.

    As they are getting older and I am getting busier with my writing, they are doing more and more of their share. It is so nice to have some of the burden lifted from hubs and I while also knowing that they are creating good habits that will last a lifetime.

    Thanks so much for the reminder today, Kate. It really does bless everyone when we all share the burden.

    • Heather, you are so right…it is a balancing act for us as moms to determine the priorities. But remembering that we are training/educating the whole child helps to keep perspective on chores as well as school work. Thanks for bringing this up!