It’s day four of both kids being away at camp, and while I’m enjoying a quiet house, I’m also dreading the impending end of Summer Break. I just love the casual schedule and increased family time. Plus, without the demands of school, both kids are so much more relaxed and fun to be around! (High school challenges are no joke!)
But around here, fewer outside responsibilities mean more chores at home! I mean, I’m all for kids having unscheduled downtime, but we also believe living in our home is a privilege and everyone pitches in…and even more so in the Summer.
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a Let’s Chat post, and I thought this would be a fun topic! I love hearing how other people run their households, and learning new tips for parenting…so let’s chat about kid’s chores!
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As each kid has gotten older, their list of responsibilities has grown and evolved, but they’ve been required to help around the house from an early age. Of course I want them to learn responsibility and the importance of contributing, but my main goal has always been to teach them how to be functioning adults, who can live and thrive on their own.
For my son, I want him to be an equal partner to his wife and their home someday. It seems funny to think about now, but I know coddling him wouldn’t be doing his future wife, or their marriage, any favors! And I want my daughter to be fully self-sufficient as well, so she looks for equality in her own relationships.
Their chores aren’t divided by gender, but rather by age and physical abilities. And these are just a starting point, both are expected to help out anytime there’s an opportunity or a larger project.
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Teenage Chore List
- Take out trash & recycling bins, carry to the curb on Pick Up Day
- Wash, dry & put away own laundry. Fold any laundry found in dryer. (None of that dumping it in a basket business!)
- Dip the pool & empty skimmer baskets
- Keep room & bathroom clean
- Maintain car (gas, oil changes, keep clean)
- Run any errands requested by me, including driving his sister places (this is part of the privilege of having a car)
- Vacuum the stairway and upstairs
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And can we chat vacuums, too?! We have a robot-vac we use daily and adore. (Yes, I adore a vacuum, read all about which model we have and why we love it here). But while it’s perfect for daily foot-traffic and pet hair, we still needed a hand-held vacuum for spills, stairs, furniture, and more. After hearing y’all rave about the Dyson stick vacuums, I went with the Dyson V6 Animal Cordless…and hello, life-changing!
I’ve had the same corded vacuum for over 20 years, and had no idea how freeing a lightweight, cordless vacuum could be. I can literally use it in every nook and cranny, without getting tangled up in cords or having to move the plug from room-to-room. It’s ridiculously powerful, and comes with several attachments that snap on-and-off easily. Plus, it holds a battery charge for 20 minutes! That’s more than enough time to do my entire house, stairs, and sofa.
And the coolest part is I scored it for almost 70% off at the Dyson Outlet on eBay! I had such great luck buying a refurbished Dyson Hairdryer (see my full review for that here), that I had no qualms about choosing a Dyson refurbished vacuum. In fact, the refurbished products go through a much stricter testing process than new! Some may have a scratch or blemish, but most are perfect condition in original packaging.
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We found the perfect charging spot for it in the Laundry Room, and my son easily attached it on the wall with the mounting hardware included. All the attachments are stored in the little bin. And dirt and debris is sucked into the canister which easily opens for disposal. No bags!! (Seriously, vacuums have come a looooong way in 20 years!)
This model is super-powerful, but also light enough to lift overhead for ceilings, corners, and window coverings. It also converts to a small hand-held vacuum that’s perfect for all the messes hiding behind sofa cushions. It’s honestly fun to see everything it picks up! No one complains about vacuum duty with this one!
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Pre-Teen Chore List
- Feed the dogs
- Empty & load dishwasher
- Bring laundry hamper down when full & put away clean laundry
- Keep room & bathroom clean
- Vacuum high-traffic areas & messes from meals or projects
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See more of Little Miss’s Room here
Additional Shared Responsibilities
- Walk the dogs
- Pooper-scooper the backyard
- Clean up after themselves or friends in any area of the house
- Help with mealtimes and cleanup
We make a conscious effort to have them do things for themselves whenever possible, which is obviously easier now that they’re older. And with our son leaving for college in one short year, I know I’ll feel better about him being on his own if he knows how to do things for himself.
So let’s chat chores…what responsibilities do you give your kids? And those of you with older kids, what additional chores are helpful for transitioning to life on their own? And of course vacuums, I know y’all are passionate…tell me if you’re a Dyson fan, too!
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*Photos by Audrie Dollins. This post is created in collaboration with eBay, but all styling, opinions and clean house are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*
You have the best ideas! I never had any chores growing up (I was sooo spoilt, my God), and it was a huge learning curve for me when I got older and was forced into the real world, haha.
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I so agree with this. It does no favours to kids of any gender or their future partners if they don’t have household responsibilities. I have two 19 month olds at the moment, which is a little young to start tbh, but I will definitely get them helping as soon as they are able. We do put toys back in the toy boxes right now – which is a good start 🙂 Good on you for preparing your kids for the future 🙂
Yep, we started singing the ‘Clean Up’ song at a very early age!! 😉
We also had our kids start putting their dirt clothes in the hamper at this age. They LOVED it and are still pretty good at it as young kids.
Cassie, this brings back memories for me. My husband and I raised 4 sons…lots of chores to be done. As a family the boys all had to pitch in…even stripping their own bedding for wash day, then making them up again. On several occasions the boys would say” mom with us doing all these jobs…what do you have to do?” At the time I didn’t think it was funny, but now years later, I LAUGH! All our sons cook, clean and can manage on their own. In order for us to do fun things together as a family…we all had to do the jobs…then fun get a ways. OH THE SWEET MEMORIES! You are doing the right thing Cassie, it’s about being fully responsible for themselves when they are on their own.
Four sons…so much fun!! And yes, we ban together and get all the stuff done so we can play!!
My girls were supposed to keep their own bedrooms clean, but the older they got, the more they seemed to ‘forget’ or run out of time. So I told them I would do the vacuuming, but they had to make sure everything was off the floor on vacuuming day. That worked. Sort of. One of them was a master in tossing things on the bed on Mondays and tossing it off again for the rest of the week 😉
All three have their own homes now and manage to keep it clean most of the time. I guess it’s only human to neglect things when work gets busy and things like that, but they never let it get out of hand.
The one thing I regret is that I never really showed them how much work it actually is to keep a house (semi) clean. I did most of the work when they were at school. They all started their own households feeling it would be easy and found out the hard way that it wasn’t. Should have involved them a little bit more, I guess.
My children are 22, 20 and 18 and they had similar responsibilities to yours. One other chore I wish I had made them do more is cooking. Some of my friends have their kids plan and cook one meal for the family per week. It is definitely important to train them up so they know how to run a household. And I LOVE my Dyson SO MUCH. I hardly ever want to drag out my central vac any more but I love vacuuming with my Dyson!
I love this idea…will def get them more involved with cooking!
We have had great success getting our preteen & teen to cook a meal each per week by using a mail order meal service. The one we use (Plated) comes with easy-to-follow recipe cards with photos, so they can prepare it without any help from us. The cost of the meals is more than if we bought the items from the grocery store, but less than going out to dinner in a restaurant. They are learning cooking skills while my husband and I get a night off from kitchen duty – a win-win in my book!
My 16 year old daughter is in charge of cooking 3 week nights during the summer. When she’s in sports during the school year we obviously don’t have her do it since she’s gone most nights at practice or meets, but it has been so helpful and good training for her!
We have similar chores to Cassie’s list, but I definitely need to get our almost 13 & 17 year old boys involved in more cooking, so thanks for the reminder. I’ve always tried to teach new things during the summer when they aren’t so bogged down with school and activities. I’d love to give them money, shop for food, and prepare a dinner (basic dinner, nothing fancy). I definitely could have used the practice when I was their age, and I think this would give them few things…creative time to choose their own recipe, budgeting for selecting the food, and then using teamwork to prepare the meal. Ok, I’m going to get on this before school starts! :*)
When my older kids were still living at home (they are mid-20’s now), teaching them to cook basic things and harder meals was key. I wanted them to be able to fix something to eat other than ramen noodles and microwave mac-n-cheese while away at college. For back-to-school shopping, we gave them cash in an envelope so they could do their own shopping and learn how to budget. We did require receipts so they didn’t pocket the cash and say “oh, I didn’t need anything” but then turn around a few weeks later and say “I need such and such”. My boys had to mow the grass and if they didn’t, we would charge them what a lawn service would cost – only happened once! Sometimes they complained about chores, but now as adults, we hear “thank you for raising us that way”!
Love that idea for school shopping, too!!!
Love that you’re training your son to be a partner and not just an occasional helper! From middle school age, my mom had me cook one meal a night including putting the needed ingredients on the grocery list a few days ahead of time. It really helped me learn how to plan ahead and follow a recipe. And she got a night off from cooking!
I’m SO going to implement this idea this school year!!
Raising your kids to be productive members of society… that’s the best thing we can possibly do as parents, #amiright? Kudos on all your expectations!
I have the big Dyson but just bought the cordless Dyson on a Groupon and an seriously in love with it! Question… where did you find a place to connect the cord when the Dyson is hanging? I can’t seem to find a place to connect it and just have the cord wrapped next to the unit so I can charge it independently… would dearly love to find the “super-secret -squirrel” way to get this to work!! Thanks for the review, Cassie…
I don’t think I understand your question? It’s mounted on the wall, and plugged into an outlet that’s inside the cubby!
Your future daughter in law is going to so love you!
I was wondering there for a bit, well, what does Cassie do? LOL.
I too totally believe in re-manufactured or refurbished appliances. Never have had an issue w/them, saved a ton of $.
So, I walked into my daughter’s college dorm on move in day, and her new room mates were all cleaning and scrubbing it all down. Still my favorite dream! Amazing. xo.
LOL, you know moms stay plenty busy!!!
This vacuum looks amazing! I have a robot but might have to consider adding this for quicker vacuum jobs. I have 8 kids and all do chores except the 2 youngest. Having more helping hands around means less chores per person but also means we have to stay on top of things or the messes can pile up quickly.
EIGHT kids!! Yes ma’am, you need this stick vac! Or maybe you need two! 😉 xo
Ps- I lay a big, dark colored bath towel in the entry where the dogs come and go. It seems to catch most of the stuff they bring in on their paws. Easier to clean too.
Such a great idea!!!
Yes, yes yes! I cannot tell you how many people I met when I went off to college (15 yrs ago) that did not know how to regularly wash their bedding, much less their own laundry, didn’t have any kitchen safety or cleanliness skills, and let’s not even start on bathrooms. Ugh! So, my parents had a very similar approach that you have with your kids and I think it’s been a crucial defining situation for me. I adapted, grew, and matured faster than those in my example. The ownership, independence, and responsibility was helpful across many facets of my life. I truly believe that these lessons translated to my work ethic. My launching post college, was leaps and bounds different than my peers who had not gone into college with those skills. They ended up being the ones who didn’t have the drive to be fully independent and were “a-ok” with getting hand outs from their parents when they couldn’t make ends meet (rather than taking it as a loan and paying them back immediately once they got on their feet). I for one, am glad I am not them. Thank you!
I love this so much!!! thanks for the great ideas and feedback!!
My daughter in law is teaching our grandkids (ages 6 and 12) how to cook and bake this summer. They’re following a program designed for kids and learning measurements, knife skills and safety. We’re coming to dinner Friday night and they’re making it! Learning how to cook simple meals is fantastic for kids.
My mom insisted my sis and I learn how to clean house and cook and iron (we practiced on dad’s boxer shorts!). That last skill has fallen into disuse with the advent of no-iron clothing. We also learned how to weed and mow the lawn.
I wish we’d also learned how to fix a dripping faucet, do simple plumbing work on a toilet, hammer a nail, saw straight, paint a room, and how to rewire a lamp. I eventually taught myself all those skills, but a little instruction could have saved me from a lot of mistakes.
I love this idea about cooking and baking! As for the rest, my kids just find a You Tube video…there’s a How To for everything online now!
An acquaintance told me when her daughter was a freshman (and taking dance) that she started helping her budget her money by the month. Then that Christmas, she extended the things she was responsible for (adding lunch $), then she extended up all the way until she graduated from high school. By then she could take a sum of money and have it last an entire semester — or else. It was a great learning tool for me to help our own son learn about money. Also, teaching him to cook a week’s worth of meals was a help. He’s now 28 and has 3 roommates. He’s teaching one to learn to cook! Great job on giving kids responsibilities. We do them no favors if we don’t teach them what goes on in the background.
Yes, love this!! My son gets a set amount each month for everything from food to gas to social…it’s his job to make it last, or earn more!
This new Dyson seems all the rage and I am just about to bite the bullet and spend the money BUT I am concerned that since it’s rechargeable, in a year it will start to lose its charge (like so many rechargeable items do). It’s way too expensive for it to not last. Have you received any feedback about that?
I’ve heard nothing but great things…that’s why I decided on this one, too!!
Thanks for all of these great tips. I checked out your post on your robo vac (btw I laughed out loud when you said you had an affection for vacs – I feel the same about mops!). Anyway, I went over to eBay and discovered that there are lots of options with this brand. Would you mind telling me the actual model you purchased? Thanks so much!
I love these vacuums!! I swear they’ve made my life easier, and my house always looks so much cleaner!!
I have this stick vac: http://bit.ly/2IMsVBV
And this robot vac: https://amzn.to/2mQV0jj
They look too happy 🙂 I think your doing a great job. As a Family and Consumer Science Teacher, I think it’s important to teach everyone to do everything.
My son learned to clean and cook. He is an excellent husband now. He does all the chores I wish my own husband ( his dad ) did daily/weekly. We tend to teach our daughters, but not sons. Good for you, Cassie! We all share the same house and should do our share in the running of a busy household. I’m so happy you posted this!
I love this post and the great reminders that I should be teaching my kids to help with the cooking!. As far as chores I have four teenagers, 3 boys and 1 girl. I can tell I’m in the minority here but we sometimes give them different chores based on gender, although they are ALL expected to keep their own rooms, bathrooms and general mess clean themselves. We have a large wooded yard that is a lot of work and the boys tend to get those heavy jobs and my oldest daughter does more of the driving the others, going to pick up groceries, and inside jobs. Last week my husband taught my 14 year old son how to clean up an unfortunate possum that had chosen our lawn as his ” final resting spot!!” (sorry icky I know) I can’t imagine how my daughter would have reacted if I had tried to share the equal opportunity of that job LOL!! 🙂
Great post, I also love hearing parenting and household management tips from other families! I have 3 kiddos ages 8, 10 and 13. A few years ago I came up with a list of chores for them to complete each morning. Nothing too complicated, my goal was just to get them used to the idea of pitching in and having some responsibility. We have a rotation system so they are doing something different each week. After reading this post I am inspired to revise our list a little and add in some new chores, now that they are all older. And as for the Dyson stick vac, I have been coveting one forever but was reluctant about spending the money. No joke I was at Costco the other day and caught myself stroking the new Dyson Animal…you know, the Ferrari of cordless vacuums? I am so excited to try a refurbished one, am going to order right now. Can’t wait to (have the kids) give it a try, lol!
I’ve always been in agreement with giving chores to children. And I agree that the balance lies in age and not gender. I was my mother’s single child (daughter) and she was always a great cook and organized but never one for more “masculine” projects. So I quickly became her “man of the house” growing up and I think it’s important for girls to be able to do these things traditionally done by boys (or thought to boys by their father). On the same level, it’s equally important for boys to learn about maintaining a house hold the way girls were traditionally thought (it’s 2018 after all). And things have come a long way since just 20 years ago when I was a pre-teen. We have two young boys at home (5 and 7) and we’ve slowly introduced some “tasks” rather than chores for now (we have a cleaner who comes every two weeks and currently have no pets (although I keep begging for a puppy and hope to get my wish granted sooner than later ;p)). They are required to help fold their own laundry together with us and they have to pick up all of their toys in the basement before we sit down for movie nights or at the end of the week. Eventually they will be taught how to make their beds and will be required to do them in the morning. Once they are old enough, the dish washer and cleaning up after meals will be on their list too (they currently have to pick up their plate and glass after dinner and bring it to the counter and dispose of cheese string wrappers or juice boxes). The youngest is actually very interested in helping out in the kitchen when I make dinner (I typically make dinner because I enjoy cooking and the spousal unit doesn’t mind doing dishes (which I hate) so he takes on that responsibility but I’ll do dishes if he cooks, it’s only fair). He is a big fan of stirring, arranging fries on a cooking sheet, taking off the ends of beans or “undressing” corn on the cob (his words). He’s also really good at rinsing off the soap off cleaned dishes and placing them on the drying rack. The older one will need more convincing to help in the future but they will be thought how to make simple meals.
Thanks for the great ideas, so important for kids to be included in chores. Do you have have a house cleaner as well, or do you and your husband do the rest of the cleaning? Your house looks amazing!
We do have someone come every 3 weeks, but we do the in-between. And of course everything else that comes with running a household! 😉
We have two sons ages 38 and 32 now – but years ago they had regular chores and odd jobs around the house and were paid in poker chips that had either a dollar amount or TV / video game time attached depending on the extent of the chore. This way no arguments of shutting off a video game or buying a new CD. Our youngest has a group of college interns at the company he works for this summer and he has been complaining to me – they are not motivated, he busted his butt last week on a project and they were amazed he went to “all the trouble” and he was like “isn’t that what you do to excel go above and beyond” his work ethic makes this momma smile. I believe it starts with learning at home. Chores, respecting what you have, finances and time management.
Thanks for this great post Cassie. Our boys, 12 & 15 do the same chores as your kids but also have to mow the lawn. We give them a small allowance for that job (since we’re saving a lot by not having to hire a landscaper!) and we just opened them each a checking account complete with a debit card and old fashioned check register. We’re hoping that by the time they go to college they will know how to manage finances and keep a balanced checkbook. I also just deposited money in their accounts for their back to school clothes. This will be the first time that they have to shop within a budget !
I thought this was a really clever way to incorporate a sponsored post! It’s also awesome that your kids were willing to pitch in with the photos. The vacuum is on my wish list for sure. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Thanks Rachel!!! I’m really particular to the sponsored posts I accept, and sensitive to making them extremely authentic and organic. I’m thrilled you liked it!
I completely agree that children of all ages should assist with age-appropriate chores, and not just for a monetary reward, but to participate in the demands of running a household. My 12 year old came to us 5 months ago with an idea to earn money to purchase his late grandfather a headstone. (He passed 4 years earlier and only had a temporary marker). Today he is $36.14 short of reaching his goal. I have not folded laundry, emptied dishwasher, taken off trash, etc since March. He has done work for others as well to help reach his goal, not to mention made many sacrifices along the way. Proud mamma moment <3
That is so sweet!! what a lovely thing to do…I’d be so proud, too!!
Weird question…. if the Dyson vacuum doesn’t have a bag, then where does all the “stuff” go? 🙂
Hi — it goes into the center round part of the vacuum. When it’s full you disconnect the attachments, hold it over the trash, push a lever and the bottom opens up and the yuck falls into the trash. I use a chopstick to release all the cat fur that gets stuck. No more running out of vacuum bags.
So far my one year old puts toys away & dirty clothes into the hamper. Caught a video of her “wiping down” the fridge & dishwasher the other day! We’re still working on “refrain from throwing food on the floor” lol!
But I totally agree with your plan–my parents implemented something similar and it meant college wasn’t a home care shock in addition to all the other changes you go through during that transition. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t know how to do laundry, dishes, cook…biiiig shock for him how much there was to all those things!
I really enjoyed reading your post! My husband and I do not have kids yet and are just coming up on our two year anniversary, but you have given me some good ideas to keep in mind. I also completely agree with what you said about helping your children to grow up to be strong productive partners! As much as I love my husband and mother in law, she definitely did him no favors by coddling him, he knew nothing about how to clean or run a house. It was definitely one of the biggest obstacles in our marriage, but he has come a LONG way, and even enjoys doing certain chores now, along with realizing how much healthier our marriage is. Enjoyed reading your post!
The best way to motivate kids to do chores is to have them first watch “Chore Day” by Three Beat Slide. It covers most common tasks such as doing the laundry, dusting shelves, putting toys away, vacuuming, doing the dishes, etc. , and is guaranteed to put a smile on their face (and yours too)!