Chore Drama - FamilyEducation
Chore Drama
01/24/2008 at 14:45 PM

I am hoping to get some suggestions on dividing up the chores fairly.  We are having a major issue over this.  I have a 14 & 10 year old who spend have of there time each week at their dads house.  My fiance has a 12 & 9 year old who's mother passed away so they are in our home full time.  We are having a big problem with my fiances children feeling like they are stuck doing most of the work in the house.  I feel like my children should be required to work when they are at our house but when they are gone for 4 days at a time they should not return home to a huge list of chores to do.  I am hoping someone can give me some pointers in how to best handle this problem. 

I made a list--I just looked at it, it has 27 daily chores and 27 weekly chores.  Each item has a number beside it which is a generous estimate of how many minutes the chore will take.  Then I tell the kids how many minutes they have to do, and if they have to choose a weekly chore I tell them that, too.  For example, tidy bathroom is a 5 minute daily chore.  Bathroom fixtures (I have 4 bathrooms, an embarrasment of riches) are weekly chores, divided up. clean toilets is a 20 minute weekly chore.  clean sinks is a 20 minute weekly chore.  clean   tubs is a 20 minute weekly chore.  

   Anyway, I would suggest that  required is  15 to 30 minutes of chores from everybody who is in the house on a workday or schoolday (including the adults).  As a chore is completed, they initial the list.  On a non-workday, require 60 minutes.  I believe in the sabbath concept, one day a week, everybody cooperates on getting simple food on the table, and getting the mess cleaned up after (use throwaway dishes if you can). Nothing else is done,  it is a "free-for-all", nobody initials anything and if somebody just needs to lie on the couch and fan themselves because it has been a crappy week, they are allowed to. 

  I also pay children (base rate is 1 cent for 5 minutes of work)  for chores which they have completed and RECORDED, on a graduated scale (max is 25 cents for 5 minutes of work)  which means that the more work they do on a given day, the more they get paid for each chore.  and they get more money if they have a good attitude.  (And I include brushing their teeth, but not writing in their journal:)  The most anybody has ever earned -- my firstborn used to get about $20 a week.  She was motivated! 

  The other motivator which I use is a two-way dynamic.  When the kids need permission to do some activity, even have a friend over, we look at the record sheet and see if they have fulfilled their obligation of keeping up the house.  If they have already kept their obligation, they get permission to do a (reasonable) activity.  Adults still get to use discretion--no unsupervised rock concerts for 15 year-olds, etc.

  I think the other key is to make this an unimportant part of the dynamic you have with the kids.  This is just background, like carpet.  It isn't the focus of your relationship.  The focus is good times, and helping with hard times, and developing their talents, and enjoying the world.  Some wise man said, work8 hours, sleep 8 hours, play 8 hours.  That is a good balance.


Hi, i was looking at wot ur chores were for the house and thought to my self  i have 6 kids 5 of them are at home the ages r 17,13,11,10,and 3, and i only get them to do the washing up,drying the dishes and puttin them away,some times vacum and hang the washin out but when it comes to the toilet and the bath room i do it myself,if u say ur rich y not hire some1 to do the bathrooms and not get the kids to do it thats wot i think and to have that many chores wow thats a lot i dnt have that many and a have more children then glad i dnt live at ur house as i wouldnt expect that many things to do........have a nice week.......


It is a lot easier to do the work yourself, isn't it.  By the time my kids leave home they know 1.  That if you want to get paid, you have to do work, and that privileges are earned. 2.  Keeping up a house requires quite a bit of effort.  3.  That they can take care of themselves. They can cook, clean toilets and keep things tidy, even while they work full time jobs. 

  I think that those are the goals that the person who started this thread has, too.  I hope their household is having a better time.


YAHOO GAIL! I have to say congrats for making your kids responsible. i too make my kids accountable for their rooms, their dinner plates, dogs, toys, etc. if children have parents doing for them all the time they will not learn the value of hard work and, more importantly (for them) they will have the feeling of accomplishment, self-worth and in some cases, monetary benefits. I reward my children for doing their work. Rooms are standard, you make a mess - you clean it up. I have a 10 and 13 year old and they are responsible kids because of this. It isn't easy and sometimes you don't want to it to do it. It is harder to tell them to do instead of you doing it. But then again, picking your battles is a hard part of parenting. I do not over-task my kids but when they have loads of homework they are not doing their additional chores. I am lenient but will not allow a lazy attitude. They also get time to play but realize they are part of a family and they have to do their part. Whether you are well off or not, accountability to yourself and your family is an important lesson to learn.

TLC, I believe it is reasonable to expect everyone to do daily chores. This means when your kids are in your home, they clean up dishes and the areas they have messed up. I would simply explain to your step children that they are responsible for more chores because they live full time in your home. Also explain that your children are expected to do chores at their dads as well. I do think however, that your children should be assigned at least one weekly chore (like mowing the lawn)...

I have three children (20, 17 & 8) ... When my older boys were young, I cleaned the bathroom, did the dishes, mowed the yard, carried the groceries and all the chores except cleaning their room and sometimes cleaning up after dinner. WHAT A MISTAKE!!!!! At the time, I thought I was responsible to do this. I mean what kind of mother makes her kid clean the BATHROOM??? I have learned a great lesson about what NOT to do!!! My sons are lazy now. They did not learn to appreciate what I did for them, they came to EXPECT it. My 8 year old boy has been expected to help out with all the chores; it is so much better for him. He is proud of himself. Excellence is not an act, it is a habit. Let's not teach the kids to just be good, but teach them to be good for something. Bravo mothers for teaching your children to stand on their own two feet and be capable, independent people!! Doing all the household chores, or having a maid, is a disservice to our children NOT a service. I learned this lesson the hard way...

I thought that some of the ideas on this board would be useful to the stepmom who posted today.