Ask the Mamas: Kids and Chores

Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, kids, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses! Ask the Mamas: Kids and Chores

Do you have a question you’d like to ask the mamas? If so, send us an email with your question to askthemamas@mamasaywhat.com.

Mama Say What?! Haylee T. asks, “Does your child do chores? If so, which ones?

My oldest is 5 and he has a couple of chores that are his responsibility. For every meal, he has to put his dishes in the sink and we are working on having him remove everyone’s dishes instead of just his own. Before bed every night, it’s his job to make sure all of his toys are put away in his bedroom and playroom. Any toys that have been left out go into a box destined for Goodwill. It’s harsh, but it’s worked very well. He gets the mail and brings in any packages that were delivered. When I’m vacuuming, it’s his job to move big items for me and he helps me with laundry by getting clothes out of all of our hampers. He can almost start a load of laundry by himself, he’s just not tall enough to reach the soap. ~Alex T.

E’s daily “chore” is to feed the dog. She LOVES getting his empty bowl, bring it to the dog food bin, and then carefully walking it back across the house to its spot. We are beginning to have her help with putting away the silverware too, although most of the time I end up having to rewash the forks and spoons that end up on the floor. Since she’s only 21 months, she mostly just copies me as I do housework, which I believe is great practice for both future chores and the “you’re part of this family, this is what we do” housekeeping tasks. ~Michelle W.

My older son who is 3 1/2 is responsible for putting his dirty dishes in the sink. He at times helps clean up toys as well. My younger son (who wants to do everything his big brother does), puts his dishes away and cleans toys. He also thinks he’s “helping” feed the cats (if throwing their food down the stairs is helping) and he loves to throw things in the garbage. ~Mary Ellen M.

My son is 3 1/2 and helps in almost everything we do around the house. Feeds the dog, gets the mail, puts away silverware when we are doing dishes, helps sort and do laundry, puts all his own clothes away, cleans up all his own toys, dusts, helps me put groceries away, he will use a spray bottle to help when I’m cleaning bathrooms, I’m sure there is more as well. I don’t think of them as “chores” but just as him being a part of our household and all of its functions. He’s so used to it now he just joins in when he sees me doing something or cleans up toys when he sees them out. For now I don’t want to assign him specific thing because I want him to have the mentality of automatically chipping in whether it’s “your job” or not. But later down the road if he gets resistant or lazy about it I will assign things. ~Laura K.

Although technically not a chore, A, who is three, feeds the dog. She loves doing it! She also is responsible for bringing her dishes to the sink when she is done, putting her dirty laundry in the hamper, and putting away her toys/cleaning up. I had been pretty lax about putting toys away, but now with two I am really trying to firm up that she needs to put toys/items away when she is done. Things can quickly get out of hand and I can’t stay on top of it as well now that I have an almost 3-month-old as well. ~Jessica S.

We aren’t really calling them ‘chores’ yet, but we have things that have become his responsibility. He has to put his clothes in his hamper, take his dishes to the sink, and puts the silverware away. He helps to take the trash out. And loves to help sort the laundry and water the plants. He helps a lot around the house and we encourage and just go with it. ~Cari H.

My 2 1/2-year-old matches socks and stacks wash cloths when I fold laundry. She moves clean cloth diapers from the drying rack to the dryer and sometimes helps me hang them. She puts away clean silverware and also helps with stirring, measuring, and pouring when I cook. And she picks up toys and takes things to the laundry or trash. ~Christina D.

My older girls (8 and 3 1/2) take turns feeding the cats and getting them water. They also let the chickens out everyday and collect the eggs. I expect that they all pitch in and clean their playroom daily (even my 1 1/2 year old) and pick up their room. ~Miriam R.

We also don’t call them chores; instead we talk about how our house only works well and stays clean if everyone helps out and does their part. My 3 year old sets the table before dinner and afterward, brings her dishes into the kitchen. She is “responsible” for taking care of the dog, which means she lets the dog in and out of the backyard and feeds her dry food in the mornings. I also have her put her own clothes into the hamper and she helps transfer clothes from washer to dry, and then from dryer to basket. My almost-2-year-old son helps his sister feed the dog, and he’s also responsible for feeding his fish. He’s starting to learn to bring his dishes into the kitchen and set the table as well. ~Cassie W.

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