Kids and Chores: What Works?

When should kids start doing chores around the house? Should allowance be tied to chores? Do sticker charts help?

Check out my interview (no byline, unfortunately, but it’s mine!), on, with parenting expert Amy McCready. A mother of two and the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, an online parenting education resource, McCready explains why chores are an essential part of growing up. (She even has suggestions for ways toddlers and preschoolers can help around the house.)

I’ve also been checking out her online course, which teaches parents how to calmly and confidently put an end to back talk, lack of listening, tantrums, whining, sibling rivalry, bedtime battles and any other misbehavior that comes along. Gotta love that! Want to see McCready in action? Here she is on the Today Show.

Check out Positive Parenting Solutions. There’s a lot of great material there for parents of kids of all ages.

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3 Responses to “Kids and Chores: What Works?”

  1. Cindy says:

    Great job, Kathy!

    I copied an idea from a friend-of-a-friend that works great for us. We give our kids a new chore (although, we call them responsibilities) on their birthday. The logic goes that as you get older you’re capable of doing more things and should be able to help out more around the house. They’re pretty eager to prove to us that they can do these bigger things, and we get the chance to prepare them for real life.

    So far, I’ve tried to come up with ideas of things they can do for themselves. This way each kid has the same expectations for the same age (always trying to keep things fair…).
    Here’s what we’ve done so far:
    3YO: Put your dirty clothes in the hamper. (I safety pinned ribbon pieces to the hamper sides so they know how to sort properly.)
    4YO: Carry your dishes over from the table after every meal.
    5YO: Brush your teeth, comb hair and get dressed independently. (Even though they could do these things earlier, it became their job so I don’t have to nag before school. Kindergarten seemed like a good time to start good habbits.)
    6YO: Make your own bed in the morning.

    Our family also has a special boy of the day. This kid gets privlidges and additional responsibilities. He gets to have his story read first, gets to pick the fruit for lunch, etc. - but is also responsible for feeding the dogs, setting the table, running upstairs when I forgot the baby’s diaper, etc. (If I gave one kid the job of feeding the dogs - something they love to do, or the job of getting his teeth brushed first - something they fight us on, I’d never hear the end of it.) This lets them take turns with the “fun” and “not-so-fun” jobs, and ended lots of squabbling around our house. It also keeps me from relying on my oldest when I need help, (He’s the fastest, needs the least direction and it’s easy to go to him for an extra hand. But he was starting to resent being asked all the time, and the other two didn’t have the same serving heart.) It lets everyone help out mom and get the praise.

  2. Amy McCready says:

    Hello Kathy!

    I just had to comment on Cindy’s note above. Three cheers for her!

    I love how she gives her kids “responsibilities” versus “chores” - so much more empowering! I also love how making the new responsibilities part of the family tradition each year makes it “just the way we do things here” so she doesn’t have to nag and remind! Keep up the great work, Cindy!


    Amy McCready
    Positive Parenting Solutions

  3. Kathy says:

    Cindy, I love this comment so much, I’d really like to make it a guest post. I’ll drop you a line. Great stuff! You are doing such an awesome job.