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How much housework do/will your kids do?

kenny

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When I was a kid my siblings and I did it ALL.
We had no maids and my parents did ZERO housework, laundry, ironing or lawn/gardening maintenance.
When old enough we even did all the cooking except for holiday meals.

Besides all the routine stuff we'd wake up to a list of weekend chores every Saturday morning.
We were even taught to fix the car and paint the house, fix a stopped up sink and develop an I-can-figure-out-and-do-anything attitude.

People vary so I'm curious what do your kids do compared to what work you did in the home as a kid. More? Less?
Is kids doing housework becoming a thing of the past?
If so, why?

Are there downsides to making kids do housework?
 

yennyfire

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I don't see any downside to having kids help with the housework, as long as it doesn't take over their lives. Growing up, we were responsible for very little, other than making our beds and helping to set/clear the table. My Mom had to teach me to do my laundry when I was getting ready to leave for college. While I seemed to do just fine with taking care of myself, despite the fact that I didn't do anything as a kid, I don't plan to take that approach with my kids. At ages 4 and 6, they already help me set/clear the table, put their laundry away (at least they try!) and make their beds. So far, they are excited to help do "grown up" things. I know that the day is coming when it will no longer be fun for them, but I feel that it's important to teach children to be independent and that being part of a family means pitching in to help with the responsibilities of life. As they get older, I plan to teach them how to cook, clean and do the laundry. I also plan to teach them how to build fences, paint walls, do basic home repair/remodeling, etc. I am a big believer in learning to do things for myself and I take great pride when I accomplish something new (like tiling the laundry room floor). I want them to experience that. I also think that there's nothing wrong with teaching kids that parents aren't servants and that it's a team effort.
 

zoebartlett

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When my sister and I were kids, we had chores to do. We had to clean our rooms, do our own laundry by age 12 or 13, take care of the dishwasher, clean up after dinner (put leftovers away, clean the kitchen, etc.), do yard work like raking and weeding, and other things around the house, both inside and out.

Frankly, I'm appalled at how little kids have to do these days. I don't have kids, but I do have students who are 7 and 8. It amazes me every time I hear a child talk about how their parents do everything and they're not responsible for helping out at home. I've even had parents themselves tell me that they do everything for their kids. Nothing's ever really expected of them.

When I was younger, I was always told that it takes a whole family to take care of their home. It wasn't just the parents' responsibility. We (kids) lived there too, and we had our own things to take care of and maintain. Somewhere along the way, things changed and now parents are so quick to cater to their children. Obviously I know it's not like this everywhere, but that's been my experience.

So even though I'm not a parent, I always give a stern speech every year about how our classroom will run, and everyone will pitch in to make it their home away from home while they're in our grade.
 

D&T

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hmm, growing up, I did a lot, you name it, we did it! my mom was a housekeeper after we immigrated over so she was a nut about cleaning after living in the jungle for so long.

Anyways, I am a little OCD about things being put in its place (less so now that we have kids). My oldest help with cleaning the dishes, floors (swiftering) (can't really take on the vacuum yet)taking out the trash, folding laundry, mirrors, weeding, cleaning the car and she's only five. She knows mommy likes things neat and tidy and clean. She does get "chore" money which she puts away in her piggy bank and treats here and there, but not always. My youngest is two and she cleans up her toys and put her clothes away, she likes to swifter the floors too because her big sis does it, she likes to follow.
 

TravelingGal

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My kid is three. I make her attempt to help me fold her laundry and after we fold it all, she has to put all of her laundry away in her dresser by herself. She also cleans up her room every day before bed.

We were latch key kids, so we did all the chores, including getting dinner started so my parents would have to do less work when they got home. Amelia will be doing housework, absolutely.
 

jaysonsmom

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My kids do SOME, but not a lot.

They both set the table for meals, and rinse the dishes after meals and load them into the dishwasher.
My son (9) lines the trash can with trash bags after we take out the trash, sometimes we ask him to take out trash too.
My daughter (7) helps me sort laundry for washing, and occasionally helps me fold and put away stuff.
Both are required to keep their rooms tidy, although I help them make their beds still. They put away toys and clothes etc.

I think my brother and I did about the same amount of housework as my kids.
 

VapidLapid

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I do all the cleaning and have since I was seven. Mom died at only 36, and dad was a disaster for the rest of his life. by the time I was ten I did all the cooking, including marketing. Too much responsibility too fast and too young. Kids should have childhoods. Not only could I cook Thanksgiving dinner for twelve people at the age of eleven, but I could roll perfect joints too.
 

kenny

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VapidLapid|1308269012|2947857 said:
I do all the cleaning and have since I was seven. Mom died at only 36, and dad was a disaster for the rest of his life. by the time I was ten I did all the cooking, including marketing. Too much responsibility too fast and too young. Kids should have childhoods. Not only could I cook Thanksgiving dinner for twelve people at the age of eleven, but I could roll perfect joints too.
Hahaha.
 

kenny

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jaysonsmom|1308268572|2947851 said:
My kids do SOME, but not a lot.

They both set the table for meals, and rinse the dishes after meals and load them into the dishwasher.
My son (9) lines the trash can with trash bags after we take out the trash, sometimes we ask him to take out trash too.
My daughter (7) helps me sort laundry for washing, and occasionally helps me fold and put away stuff.
Both are required to keep their rooms tidy, although I help them make their beds still. They put away toys and clothes etc.

I think my brother and I did about the same amount of housework as my kids.
Ask?
Not tell?
 

jaysonsmom

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kenny|1308269625|2947870 said:
jaysonsmom|1308268572|2947851 said:
My kids do SOME, but not a lot.

They both set the table for meals, and rinse the dishes after meals and load them into the dishwasher.
My son (9) lines the trash can with trash bags after we take out the trash, sometimes we ask him to take out trash too.
My daughter (7) helps me sort laundry for washing, and occasionally helps me fold and put away stuff.
Both are required to keep their rooms tidy, although I help them make their beds still. They put away toys and clothes etc.

I think my brother and I did about the same amount of housework as my kids.
Ask?
Not tell?

Yes. I ask. I try to teach my kids not to demand things of other people. I operate the same way at work. I always start my requests with: "Could you please do me a favor and.....". Some people may view this as weakness, but believe me I get a lot of things done using the sweet approach. The saying you catch more flies with honey totally applies to me.
 

kenny

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jaysonsmom|1308270169|2947881 said:
kenny|1308269625|2947870 said:
jaysonsmom|1308268572|2947851 said:
My kids do SOME, but not a lot.

They both set the table for meals, and rinse the dishes after meals and load them into the dishwasher.
My son (9) lines the trash can with trash bags after we take out the trash, sometimes we ask him to take out trash too.
My daughter (7) helps me sort laundry for washing, and occasionally helps me fold and put away stuff.
Both are required to keep their rooms tidy, although I help them make their beds still. They put away toys and clothes etc.

I think my brother and I did about the same amount of housework as my kids.
Ask?
Not tell?

Yes. I ask. I try to teach my kids not to demand things of other people. I operate the same way at work. I always start my requests with: "Could you please do me a favor and.....". Some people may view this as weakness, but believe me I get a lot of things done using the sweet approach. The saying you catch more flies with honey totally applies to me.
But they're your kids, not your peers.

So in the home and family your kids have power, control, authority and responsibility that is equal to that of the parents?
Your kids are responsible to teach you their sense of right and wrong, raise you, know as muchas and have life experience equal to mom and dad?
 

jaysonsmom

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EVERYONE, kids or adults alike respond better to requests when they are done in a nice way. I'm no pushover....maybe I'm just lucky, and I don't have terrors for kids. They usually comply when I ask them to do something because if they don't my husband will follow with the "mean cop routine".I know that when my husband yells at them to do certain things (without asking nicely first), it usually ends with my daughter in tears, or my son back-talking and getting punished. Then everyone is in a bad mood.

Also wanted to add, asking the kids to do chores in a nice way does not take away my authority. It makes them respect me more and want to please me more, and they do a better job because they are not pissed off and bitter while doing it!
 

kenny

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Thanks JM.
My parent's made a lot of mistakes and I'll never have kids.
Frankly, I'm totally clueless about kids, and kind of curious about how parents raise them.
 

junebug17

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My kids did a few simple chores around the house - collect the garbage from other rooms, keep their rooms straightened up, put dishes in the dishwasher, clean off the bathroom counter etc. I did most of the major cleaning - just didn't feel like making my small kids clean a toilet.

They're both away at college for some of the year, but when they're home they do their own laundry. If I want them to do something, I just ask, and they do it.

My daughter lives in an apartment, and she does all of the cleaning. Her room-mate does nothing. I didn't make her scrub floors or toilets, but she knows enough and cares enough to keep her place clean.
 

KaeKae

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My mom died when I was 13, so at that point, I was doing most chores inside, while my younger brother was busy outside.

Today, my kids 15 and 12, definitely have responsibilities. They clean up the kitchen after dinner. They are asked to help with folding laundry and the 15 year old ususally washes her own, as well. On weekend, and now in the summer, they help with basic house work, like dusting and vacuuming and are responsible for their own rooms, including making their beds/changing sheets. The 15 year old also cleans their bathroom, while the 12 old does the powder room. (I do admit to going over the bathrooms occasionally, for my peace of mind.)

According to the 15 year old, NONE of her friends have household chores. Their mothers, or the cleaning ladies do it all. Well, no cleaning service here, just us chickens to do the work. And, even if I believed her about the friends' repsonsibilities, that's just too bad. Part of raising kids is teaching them the basics of taking care of themselves, including keeping their home reasonably clean. Believe me, this house is hardly eat-off-the-floors clean, but hopefully we won't be shut down by the health dept., either. :wink2:
 

lbbaber

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I have my 6yr old pick up after himself. I grew up like Kenny...exactly like him. I want my kids to learn responsability but I do not intend on putting too much on them like my parents did. I want them to enjoy being kids. I do all of the work (except DH's laundry) with a little help from a cleaning service 1x/week.
 

ksinger

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My mother was always courteous, but her courtesy and demonstration of respect masked a will of iron. It was NOT a request, and there was no option but to comply. She was the parent and I was the child and we both darn well knew it. And I adored her, even as a child and a teen. I had a good gig and new it.

Honestly, I don't recall how much, exactly, that I did as a child. Work was just something that was, whether it was more or less? Don't know. But I suspect it was more. My mom ran a pretty tight ship and expected me to contribute to the household. And I didn't get an allowance for it either, because she thought you should not equate reward with pulling your weight in a household. She didn't get paid for living like a civilized human, and neither did I. Learning to handle money was separate from anything I was required to do around the house.
 

Italiahaircolor

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Growing up, we had a housekeeper who did a lot of the deep cleaning...later, when my Mom had cancer, she did more--laundry, house tidying, cooking.

My Mom was very firm that our housekeeper was not our maid...she did not "clean up" after us. We were tasked with keeping our room neat, our toys organized, our spaces clean. We washed our own dishes and put them in the dishwasher, put away our own clothes, did laundry (once we were 10) during the time of the week when the housekeeper was off. We always helped prepare meals, set the table, clear the table and wipe down the counter and tables after meals. Taking out the garbage, recycling, straightening the pantry, wiping out the fridge were all normal. Once I was 16, and able to drive, I would go to the grocery store, run errands, I'd drive my sister to her activities and help out where I could.

I think that kids need to learn responsibility. If I end up having kids, it will be the same deal. No free rides. As they get older the more they will be tasked to doing.
 

suchende

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I don't think we would ask a lot of our future children. Not to be slovenly, sure, but generally I would expect their schoolwork and extracurriculars to get the majority of their focus. I grew up with a housekeeper and so did BF. I would hope that my children would be able to provide the same for themselves, when they're grown.
 

Haven

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We weren't expected to do any housework in my childhood home, but NOBODY did any housework in my house.

I've always liked to have people over to my home, even as a child, so I used to clean everything on my own whenever I had people coming over. I never liked being in a messy environment, so I kept things as clean as I could. It was really difficult and I hated it and was constantly embarrassed of our house.

We don't have kids yet, but I imagine we'll expect them to clean up after themselves and contribute to our household by doing chores. We'll see how reality matches our big plans once we get there.
 

chemgirl

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I don't have kids, but I think the amount of housework I had to do was reasonable and I would probably require them to do the same amount. I had to keep my room clean, change my bedding, do my own laundry, vacuum the house (on weekends), set the table, make my own breakfast and lunch, and wash the dishes after dinner. My mom did the dirty jobs like scrubbing the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, and making dinner. Once we were older, we were expected to help out with outdoor things like raking the leaves, staining the patio, and painting the garage door (ones I remember off hand). It wasn't so much work that we were always busy, more like half an hour per day and a couple hours on weekends. I'm glad I learned how to do chores before moving out on my own. My first roommates were all from households with housekeepers and yard people and they had no clue about how to do simple things. It was almost like they expected somebody to come to pick up their stuff and clean their rooms for them. Forget about their bathroom, it was disgusting because they "didn't know how" to clean it. I think some chores are a good learning experience so you get used to maintaining your environment before you're out on your own.
 

nfowife

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My kids are young- 4 and 6- and they do some chores. Help empty the dishwasher, set the table, put away laundry, make beds, clean up toys, etc. When I do some things like clean windows they will help but I dint have them do too much because I don't like them handling cleaning products at their ages. They are still at an age where they love to help. We don't do allowance yet but I'm sure in the coming years as they are able to take more responsibility for themselves they will have more chores. I'm satisfies with how much they help right now.
 

packrat

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My brother and I had chores and they were considered something expected of us, so there was no allowance. For that we had to do above and beyond. When we got older the allowance stopped and we got jobs, and we still did stuff around the house. We lived on a large acreage and my parents like flowers/plants so..it's a lot of work. Plus there was a garden, the square footage of which was probably close to as much as my house right now. Quite large for a garden. After high school we were allowed to stay at home for free but were expected to do chores. My brother high tailed it out the door the day after he graduated and I stayed until I got married. I loved it. Worked 40 hours a week at my job and another 40 at home between the house and yard/garden.

I'm pretty easy on my kids but..their dad didn't grow up in the same environment I did so it's hard to get mad at the kids for doing the same thing Dad does. He doesn't quite "get it" that I have a nervous breakdown when things aren't looking nice and put away.
 

hawaiianorangetree

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My daughter is nearly 11 and she helps around the house. I usually ask her to empty the dishwasher, clean the table ready for dinner when I'm cooking, stack the dishes and help clean up after dinner, hang out a load of washing and keep her room clean.
She doesn't have to do a lot, but she is always willing and it helps me out immensely.
 

Kaleigh

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VapidLapid|1308269012|2947857 said:
I do all the cleaning and have since I was seven. Mom died at only 36, and dad was a disaster for the rest of his life. by the time I was ten I did all the cooking, including marketing. Too much responsibility too fast and too young. Kids should have childhoods. Not only could I cook Thanksgiving dinner for twelve people at the age of eleven, but I could roll perfect joints too.

That's so wrong, and am sorry that is what your life was as a child. :(sad
 

Kaleigh

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My kids started to help out in ways that were age appropriate.. And from the time they could cimb on a step stool, they were able to help me cook. I never left them alone by the stove. But loved how enthusiastic they were about cracking an egg, and helping me stir the pan... They loved making cookies, but now as adults...

They kick ass in the kitchen and put me to shame... Seriously.. I don't know who is better... They both rock...

Oh back to the chores? Well they did their own laundry...God forbid I shrunk a shirt....

They had to tidy up their rooms, and help around the house. I didn't have a firm list... But when stuff was out of order, I would be like ok get this crap outta here.. Yes I said crap... :tongue:
 

Trekkie

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When I lived with my dad and stepmom I did absolutely nothing. We had full-time live-in staff who cleaned up after us. I used to "help" by licking out icing bowls and putting buttons on gingerbread men.

When I lived with my bio mother I was the responsible adult. I did laundry (by hand!), cleaning and took care of my baby brother. I was 10 when he was born and I immediately became his primary caregiver. I cooked for him, fed him, changed him, bathed him etc. I was perfectly ok with doing this. Like Haven, I was always embarrassed to bring people home. At least if the house was clean I had one less thing to be embarrassed about.

My brother is now 17 and although I frequently rant and rave about how spoilt he is, I must admit I actually did a good job with him. He is a bit of a neatfreak and his room is always tidy. He is the only teen aged boy I know who makes his bed as soon as he wakes up. When he gets undressed his dirty clothes go straight into the laundry basket and what will be worn again gets hung up. His bedroom is invariably neater than mine!

One day, when I'm a grownup and have my own children I would like to raise them the way I raised my brother. They would be responsible for keeping their bedrooms tidy and helping around the house. They will be children not servants but I will expect them to pull their weight.

Over and above this, academic and athletic excellence is expected. Not quite Tiger Mother style, but no child of mine will look forward coming home with a B-grade or an "also ran". Even with my brother I do not praise mediocrity.
 

mayerling

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Not any amount that would indicate that they're doing all the housework and father and I are doing practically nothing.

They'll have chores to do such as keeping their room tidy, and depending on age they might help out with the laundry - I've already gone over this in another thread in that I don't agree with them doing their own laundry but helping out with everyone's laundry is good (putting clothes in dryer, folding, hanging out to dry, etc.). They might also empty the dishwasher, some vacuuming, etc.

I would basically expect them to do lightweight stuff, a couple of times a week. The one thing I definitely expect is keeping the room tidy, and cleaning it every once in a while. I don't expect any chores to start until they're about 12 (except for the tidy room issue).
 

yennyfire

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jaysonsmom|1308270169|2947881 said:
kenny|1308269625|2947870 said:
jaysonsmom|1308268572|2947851 said:
My kids do SOME, but not a lot.

They both set the table for meals, and rinse the dishes after meals and load them into the dishwasher.
My son (9) lines the trash can with trash bags after we take out the trash, sometimes we ask him to take out trash too.
My daughter (7) helps me sort laundry for washing, and occasionally helps me fold and put away stuff.
Both are required to keep their rooms tidy, although I help them make their beds still. They put away toys and clothes etc.

I think my brother and I did about the same amount of housework as my kids.
Ask?
Not tell?

Yes. I ask. I try to teach my kids not to demand things of other people. I operate the same way at work. I always start my requests with: "Could you please do me a favor and.....". Some people may view this as weakness, but believe me I get a lot of things done using the sweet approach. The saying you catch more flies with honey totally applies to me.

I tend to agree with the "you get more flies with honey than vinegar approach", but I don't think that asking your kids to take the garbage out is doing you a favor....when I want my children to do something, I say "Nate, please take your pajamas upstairs and put them in the laundry". I am asking in a nice way, but I'm not giving him a choice. IMO, there's a big difference between being nice and telling you kids to do something versus asking them to do something as if they have a choice about it. I give my kids plenty of choices where they actually DO have a choice (do you want asparagus or cauliflower with dinner?), but when it comes to things that I think are their responsibility, I request it in a way where they know that it's something they need to do without question.
 

MonkeyPie

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Apr 23, 2008
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I barely did anything as a kid...and it shows. My mom was home enough to do most of the cleaning, so I did dishes after dinner and that was it. I wish she had made me do more, because now I am a total lazy bum.

Micah already helps me put away his toys, and he's only one. He also "helps" do laundry - he pushes the wet clothes into the dryer, haha.
 
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