How to make dcs responsible for more without making it feel like a bad thing for them?

(74 Posts)
YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 16:46:46

Its long overdue and i hold my hands up and know i am entiry to blame for not dojng it all from the start but i decided that with the new year, as part of an entire life overhaul for me, this is one issue i want to finally deal with. This thread has been prompted by ds(8) whining that he is unable to put cereal and milk in a bowl for himself hmm (he can, he does it without thinking if he gets up before me).

So these are the things i would like my dcs to do. They are 8 and 4.

Make own beds, open curtains and window
Fold pjs an put under pillow
Bring dirty laundry down to wash basket
Get own breakfast things out in morning
Make 1 evening meal each per week (with 100% supervison from me and assistance where necessary)
Be involved in the weekly meal plan without everything having to be sausage and chips!
Put washing in machine and load powder/softener and turn on
Put clean laundry away
Check uniforms for dirty marks needing spotwashed
Spotwash dirty marks
Wash dishes after evening meals
Dust and hoover rooms once a week
Other random chores like emptying bins, changing loo roll holders, topping up dogs water as and when required.

It looks a lot but i dont think any of it is beyond their capabilities. Is it? Happy to be told i'm dreaming here grin

If all that is ok, how do i get them doing these things without them whingeing about it or feeling like theyre having to do something thats not their responsibility. If that makes sense?

IDoBelieveInFairiesIDoIDo Mon 30-Dec-13 16:51:40

I, personally, think that is way too much. Particularly for the 4 year old. I was on board til you said make an evening meal each once a week!

Why so prescriptive? Make beds, out their own shoes away, put dirty washing away - yes, yes, yes and it just becomes part of life rather than a job but make a meal? At 8 and 4?
I'd be more inclined to ask them to set the table while they tell me about their day or dry the dishes while I wash up.

Weelady77 Mon 30-Dec-13 16:59:07

Wow that's an awful lot for small kids to do!! Especially if they haven't done anything before, think you need to do baby steps like put toys away, make there beds,put dirty clothes in basket etc,
My oldest 2 are 15 and 18 and it's only been in the last 6 months that I have got them doing there own ironing changing there own beds (I strip them so they need to do it) put dirty clothes in basket,occasionally wash and dry dishes!
My 8 year old fold pjs and put toys away my aim this year is to get her to shower herself by herself!

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 16:59:40

Well lets be honest it will be me making the meal using their hands to put the things together. I wont be having them study delia's cook book for ideas and expecting 3 course meals. I'm thinking simpe things like pasta.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:01:56

Weelady what you deacribe is exactly what i am trying to avoid. Teens who dont even put their own washing in the basket. I see thread after thread on here about teens, adult dc or partners who do naff all and leave it to the mothe of the house.

Weelady77 Mon 30-Dec-13 17:04:24

It's easier if I do it lol

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:08:22

Exactly- and it will always be easier if you (or I- as currently i am the same) do it and then you realise you are the only one doing anything for a house full of perfectly capable adults or almost adults.

minipie Mon 30-Dec-13 17:09:23

That sounds like way too much to me as well OP. Of your list, here's what I think they could do:

Make own beds, open curtains and window - yes 8 yr old. 4 yr old could do bed, but curtains and window may be difficult unless very tall 4 yr old. I assume make beds means pull the covers straight rather than changing sheets.
Fold pjs an put under pillow - yes 8 and 4 yr old
Bring dirty laundry down to wash basket - yes 8 and 4 yr old
Get own breakfast things out in morning - yes 8 yr old, maybe 4 yr old
Make 1 evening meal each per week (with 100% supervison from me and assistance where necessary) - no, unless they enjoy it
Be involved in the weekly meal plan without everything having to be sausage and chips! - maybe the 8 yr old but you'll just get his favourites suggested I'm sure.
Put washing in machine and load powder/softener and turn on - no way would I expect or allow 8 or 4 yr old to do this. disaster waiting to happen
Put clean laundry away - yes 8 yr old, no 4 yr old
Check uniforms for dirty marks needing spotwashed - no, I wouldn't trust 8 or 4 yr old to check properly
Spotwash dirty marks - definitely no way!
Wash dishes after evening meals - 8 yr old can help but not do it all by himself
Dust and hoover rooms once a week - no
Other random chores like emptying bins, changing loo roll holders, topping up dogs water as and when required. - yes (assume you mean waste paper baskets not main kitchen bin)

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:13:12

Yes kitchen bin.

This would all be happening with me right there in the room. I wouldnt be leaving them to it and washing my hands of those jobs.

IDoBelieveInFairiesIDoIDo Mon 30-Dec-13 17:15:07

I don't think there is anything wrong with your aim. I also don't want teens who can't do anything but I'd start small and work upwards with the 8 year old having more responsibility and perks.

Maybe they dust their rooms while you Hoover? You load the machine and they put powder in etc?

MellowAutumn Mon 30-Dec-13 17:19:38

Dont try and introduce all together- Start with the morning bedroom tasks and make it a routine that you supervise for a while and do for at least a month till its second nature before you introduce anything else. Also make sure you get them up in time so they can do it without being harassed by you to hurry up - also realise that at their ages it will not be done to your standards but that's ok. The random tasks are too much of a stretch as you are asking for adult levels of awareness, much better just to have on job each that they do at a set time each day - ie oldest feeds and waters dog in morning and eve - 4 year old helps you empty bins on a Saturday or something similar.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:20:48

Yes good idea about the perks of having more responsibility. I was thinking of a tick chart for the make bed, fold pjs stuff, along with brush teeth and check school bag so these things become just another morning habit rather than chores.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:22:59

The random tasks, i was meaning if i ask them to feed dog or chane loo roll ( and then hope that as time goes on they will feel ownership of these jobs and do when they notice) but good idea about having one set task a day like feeding dog for 8 year old.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:25:00

I dont have high standards btw grin so there would be no issue if jobs not done perfectly. Quick swish on windowsill and bedside table with microfibre cloth type of thing.

4 and 2 here.
4 yr old can make a bed after a fashion. 2 yr old thinks in involves making sure all his teddies are in there.
Put things in the bin, yes. Empty a bin, no - they can't unlock the back door, or open the wheelie bin.
Put dirty clothes in washing basket, yes, both.
clear floor before bed, yes both.
Help sort dry washing and put theirs in their own wardrobe, yes. Both.
Feed cat - 4.
put new loo roll in - both
help me cook, yes (peel carrots, mix cake / biscuits etc)
Help choose meals , veg etc yes. meal plan- we don't as a household. Choose and help cook puddings.
Hoover. well, they both enjoy it, but I wouldn't say the floor is clean afterwards!
Take plates to dishwasher after eating, both.

There are one or two things on your list I'm not sure about, but think the sentiment is right. Start small, and see where it goes.
Its likely to take longer than just doing it your self.Saves me doing them after bed time, so is a time saving of sorts and means I don't have to play octonauts snap again

3bunnies Mon 30-Dec-13 17:40:54

We are working towards more independence - our dc are 8, 6 & 4. We started with taking plates out but made it age dependent, so dd1 started when she started school and we realised that if she could clear her plate at school she could do it at home. dd2 was only 2.5 so she was 'too young'. We promised her that she could when she turned 4. She was so happy when she was finally old enough to take her plate out. Ds is now pleased to have graduated to that stage just need to work on dh .

With food we tend to do it as a holiday thing - so they take it in turns to help an adult while we are camping, they choose the meal, go shopping with the adult and then cook together.

Dd1 can now make hot chocolate unsupervised using the microwave and enjoys the power it gives her. Dd2 is now begging to do the same. She has also started baking cakes which they have in lunch bags.

For clothes I have started to get them to look at their uniform each night and decide whether it needs a wash. I might wait a bit longer before letting them loose on the washing machine.

I would say take it slowly - see your list as a goal for yr 6. Introduce things with your oldest first, wait until he is confident before extending to your youngest (except the room tidying and help cooking). Nothing like being told that you aren't old enough to make a younger sibling want to do something!

3bunnies Mon 30-Dec-13 17:55:41

Just asked my lot if anyone wanted to help empty bins & recycling - either I have spontaneously sprouted a second head and antennae or that is a step too far for them! Cross bins off the list for the time being!

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:56:20

Ok so start small with the morning stuff and make it a 'reward' (won by getting older grin) yes i can see why that will work.

Hadnt thought about not being able to reach wheelie bin. 8 year old can but not to lift black bin liner in. Maybe just et him to do bedroom and bathroom baskets weekly.

noblegiraffe Mon 30-Dec-13 17:56:41

I don't have an 8 year old, but I think you should have separate lists of what the 8 year old and 4 year old are expected to do. E.g. The 8 year old might be able to put a wash on, but I think it's too much for a 4 year old. I'd do cooking with the 8 year old. The 4 year old can take care of their room, but I don't think they are big/strong enough to do the kitchen bin.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:59:37

3bunnies your mistake was asking if they wanted to grin

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 18:03:11

Noble i had thought of having separate lists but i am having problems with jealousy from ds1 and am trying very hard to be as fair as i can to both. I wouldnt want him to think he has been given more 'work' than ds2 because he is older. I think i'll give them the same jobs but more of my involvement with ds2.

PowderMum Mon 30-Dec-13 18:09:37

As a mother of 2 able teenagers I think your list is a bit over the top.

We have always worked as a team here and as I work full time in the evenings the jobs would be shared and appropriate, so laying table, putting toys away etc. proper chores like your list started when they went to secondary at 11

They each have fixed chores when they get home, one feeds cat and closes curtains or opens windows depending on time if year. Other empties dishwasher and restacks with breakfast things

From your list
Make own beds, open curtains and window - yes from a young age, although I'm not that hung up on beds being made.
Fold pjs an put under pillow - we don't bother
Bring dirty laundry down to wash basket - have always taken off clothes and put in was bin
Get own breakfast things out in morning - started when I felt they could manage the milk, around 6 I think.
Make 1 evening meal each per week (with 100% supervison from me and assistance where necessary) - no I did the cooking they did other jobs and homework, however I have taught them both how to cook, even now they only cook for the family about once a month.
Be involved in the weekly meal plan without everything having to be sausage and chips! - I've always menu planned and included favourites or asked for input, to be fair most of the time they are happy itch what is chosen.
Put washing in machine and load powder/softener and turn on - only once at secondary school
Put clean laundry away - they helped when younger but didn't really do this until they were at secondary school
Check uniforms for dirty marks needing spotwashed - don't do this
Spotwash dirty marks
Wash dishes after evening meals - no they learnt how to scrape plates and put in dishwasher, once tall enough they helped occasionally with the washing up.
Dust and hoover rooms once a week - need to be big enough to use Hoover properly.
Other random chores like emptying bins, changing loo roll holders, topping up dogs water as and when required. Will do all of these if asked, and sometimes spontaneously.

noblegiraffe Mon 30-Dec-13 18:12:51

If you were being fair, the 4 year old wouldn't be doing anything till he was 8! I think you are going to run into trouble if you let the 8 year old insist that the 4 year old is treated the same as him. The 8 year old should have more responsibility.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 18:18:24

You have a good point noble, so how do i sell more responsibility to ds1 as if its a good thing and not work that ds2 doesnt 'have' to do.

The hoover is a small cylinder and very easy to use. 4 year old has used it quite a few times.

Bonsoir Mon 30-Dec-13 18:25:43

I think your list is a little ambitious smile.

My feeling, FWIW, is that it is easiest to get DC to take care of themselves in the first instance, rather than ask them to take responsibility for collective household chores. So - yes to opening curtains, windows (providing there isn't a dangerous drop), making beds, tidying own bedroom, dusting and vaccuuming own room etc. No to making meals and doing laundry, which are collective tasks.

noblegiraffe Mon 30-Dec-13 18:27:48

I'd go for 'now you are big enough you will be allowed to help with the cooking/laundry/bin emptying. DS is too young/small/incompetent to be trusted with heat/electronics/heavy stuff' ?

Noble do you have a massive qualification is child psychology? Thats ingenious.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 30-Dec-13 18:51:01

See I would disagree Bonsoir. I think that cooking a meal for the family can be introduced as a very fun and responsible activity, there is a sense of pride when people eat something you've cooked etc.

Although I think once a week is too much, especially for a 4 year old. Once a week is teenager territory really, introduced from about 10/12yo. Starts off very supervised and then letting them have more control. Maybe once a month the 8yo could help out or something like that and the 4yo just as and when, if he's in an amenable mood kind of thing.

3bunnies Mon 30-Dec-13 18:52:37

You don't necessarily need to introduce things at the same age - when ds1 is 10 he probably won't remember that he was 8 not 6 when he started doing things. We made a bigger deal about being 4 because younger than that we didn't want them making a mess. It also works if you just say that they can do it when they are older without specifying an age, for example I think that dd2 will probably be able to bake alone earlier than dd1 - more due to me being more comfortable than her being more able.

nooka Mon 30-Dec-13 19:08:48

I'd really caution against a big bang approach because it's highly likely that it won't happen. Better to introduce a few tasks and follow through. Also they don't need to be the same tasks for each child, the 'fairness' comes from both having something on the list, not so much what the task actually is. I have a 13 and a 14 year old, and they are totally responsible for their own laundry and for the state of their bedrooms and they are expected to help with house cleaning and cooking (which they do with varying degree of complaint, but it gets done and done well). Most of this has been in the last couple of years - you don't have to start very young in order to turn out competent teens!

So think about tasks they can perform well where you won't have to be on top of them all the time, and where the consequences of not doing them affects the child rather than you, or where they will feel feel pride in their accomplishments.

I'd also avoid trying to sell the new regime as being some sort of good thing for them. I think most children see through that sort of scam fairly quickly (maybe I just have cynics!)

3bunnies Mon 30-Dec-13 19:20:50

I also tell them scare stories about people starting uni who couldn't even cook baked beans and tell them that if they can cook other students (and boyfriends/girlfriends) will want to be invited. I also tell them about the time I was hospitalised due to food in halls. They are all desperate to be able to cook their favourite meals for future flatmates.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 20:11:23

Thank you all- was dealing with dinner/bedtime.

I think i'll start with just the morning stuff for now and see how we get on with that.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 20:15:57

Also 3bunnies

"If they can cook other students" shock grin

I thought you were about to share the recipes for cooling students!

3bunnies Mon 30-Dec-13 20:26:37

Well by the time my lot get there student finances might be such that cannibalism is the only way to afford meat as a student smile

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 20:31:27


lostdomain Mon 30-Dec-13 20:34:42

OP, it depends on your DC but I find that giving them a specific job, without any preamble works best. I just shove a hoover at them and say 'Please hoover your room' or 'please mop this floor' and they do it. I never suggest it's a chore, never criticise imperfect work and they are fine with it. It's not a routine but it gets them used to mucking in.

For stuff they should do regularly such as their own rooms, I broke down the jobs. Never said 'tidy your room' but 'put all your books away, then put all your laundry away' and so on until the room was clean and then made a big fuss about how lovely it looks now it's tidy.

Four is too young for most of what you are suggesting imho. But you can get them in the spirit by asking them to put 5 toys away or plump up cushions. Make it fun.

BobCrotchstitch Mon 30-Dec-13 20:41:08

I would give DS1 more pocket money based on his greater responsibility. This is clearly bribery but works well in our house smile

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Mon 30-Dec-13 20:50:12

I go for the line that there are 4 people in the house each has a quarter of the jobs to do but as you are still little will help you with yours till you are old enough to manage by yourself.

Mine are 9 and 7 and do the same as each other on the whole (7yo is more mature for age than 9yo so capable of similar).

Make beds (loosely enforced)
Put away clean laundry (with help if necessary)
Put dirty laundry in basket (struggle to get this done reliably)
Unload DW together (one does top rack, the other bottom, first to start chooses). Weekdays only at the moment.
Wash up lunchboxes and waterbottles (one washes, one dries, again first to start chooses)
Feed cats (DS in the morning, DD in the evening)
Put out clothes for next day (school days/early starts only)
Help with supermarket shopping, unloading (ad-hoc)
Help with cooking (DD loves to cook, DS not so keen but helps a bit)
Help doing laundry occasionally.

FairyTrain Mon 30-Dec-13 21:06:07

OP, we started getting the DCs (5 &3.5) to do more a month ago (coincided with chocolate advent calendars which were a real motivator ) taking baby steps and making them more responsible. They now clear away all the dishes etc from tea, make their beds in the morning, put PJs under pillows, open curtains, dress themselves completely (clothes laid out by me but if I forget they now get their own) self bath/ shower put dirty clothes in laundry/ clean clothes on spare bed for next day, dry themselves after bath, PJs on themselves, brush teeth then they can come downstairs and switch on cBeebies. It is amazing the difference in a month! Be consistent (it was all DHs idea as DC3 due soon and I couldn't be doing so much running around for them) they don't Hoover (but neither do I wink) but they enjoy dusting and tidy up their toys (with the odd threat of said toys being sent to boys and girls who do tidy up!) they help me feed & clean out the pets etc too. I don't think your being too ambitious, just take it slowly and consistently and before you know it, it will be automatic for them. Can't believe some posters suggested waiting til they are at senior school.... confused

Bonsoir Tue 31-Dec-13 07:54:25

I am truly sceptical of the wisdom of leaving very young DC to wash themselves and clean their own teeth. IME DC who are left to their own devices don't learn how to wash thoroughly and get very smelly and disgusting when puberty hits. And it is much harder to teach and enforce basic thorough washing skills at 10/11 than at 6/7...

FairyPenguin Tue 31-Dec-13 08:25:08

In our household the DC (6 and 4) do the following:

Get breakfast things out ready for me to pour (bowls, spoons, choose cereal, get milk out) - they spend an age deciding which cereal they want otherwise
Lay the table
Clear their plates off table and put next to sink
Help empty dishwasher (6yo)
Put their dirty washing into one pile so I can sort it out in one place
Pair clean socks up (4yo finds them and 6yo pairs them)
Put their clean washing away (underwear and pyjamas only for 4yo, stuff which can be wrinkled and it really doesn't matter)
Empty school/nursery bags, put lunchbox rubbish in bin, water bottles and lunch boxes next to sink
Sweep up any crumbs they have dropped after meals

All of these are usually done without too much fuss.

Bakerof3pudsxx Tue 31-Dec-13 08:29:37

My elder two are 4 and nearly 6

They -
Put all rubbish in the bin
Scrape any left over food into the bin
Put dishes in the sink
Put clothes in the washing machine
Empty and load the dryer when asked
Take responsibility for their room and toys
Put away clothes that live in drawers but not wardrobes
Empty their lunch boxes on school days

Bakerof3pudsxx Tue 31-Dec-13 08:29:59

I have just started getting them to get cutlery set up at meal times

FairyPenguin Tue 31-Dec-13 08:32:51

I meant to add: most of these things are related to their own belongings so they have an incentive to help, e.g. If they don't get breakfast stuff out, then won't get breakfast! If they don't clear their plates, nothing else will go down on the table for pudding as there won't be room. It helps that DS is a bit of a clean freak so if I say his clothes won't get clean if he leaves them on the floor, he rushes to put them in the washing pile.

If I am really struggling to get them to do stuff, then I give them an incentive, eg if they tidy the playroom within 20 mins then we can all sit down and play 2 games, each DC chooses one, because they will have cleared floor space to do it. They also know that tidying playroom is something that has to be done every evening so if they are slow then it's eating into bedtime story time and sometimes (rarely) there is no story as they've been so slow (with warning, of course).

Sometimes it backfires when they say they don't want to play anyway, but it works more often than not.

FairyPenguin Tue 31-Dec-13 08:39:21

I haven't asked them to do anything involving cooking or washing machine/dishwasher/dryer related as I'm too wary of them feeling overconfident with the appliances if I am not around. I don't know if this is being overprotective. I have only recently asked DD to help empty the dishwasher and this is with the proviso that I am always there and I do the sharp knives and the heavy stuff (pots and pans, baking trays).

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Tue 31-Dec-13 09:17:51

We oversee dishwasher emptying for the DCs, partly because of sharps, partly because a lot of stuff lives in high cupboards and we put it up once they have stacked it on the counters. They'll have to grow quite a bit before they can manage all of it.

Bonsoir Tue 31-Dec-13 10:02:44

Agree - I never want young DC near dishwashers. Far too many dangers.

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 01-Jan-14 14:04:39

Wow, thats a whole lot of chores for children. When do they get to be just children?

I will happily admit that all i expect DS to do is to clean his things away after use. He likes occasionally to help with cooking but does so by choice. He is a child and should enjoy his childhood, he has a whole life of household things once he is an adult so why not have fun whilst he can. He can do lots of things so wont go out into the world with no skills.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Wed 01-Jan-14 14:20:30

That's what my parents did with me. We just had to do a couple of token chores on a Sunday night and mum did the rest while we were at school. So while I left home knowing how to dust, vacuum, iron, operate a washing machine etc, I had no idea how often any of it needed doing or of the extra jobs that make a house run smoothly. She didn't do me any favours really. That's why I want my DCs involved every day, and doing all sorts of jobs. None of it takes long if done frequently.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 01-Jan-14 14:42:56

Happymum it looks like a lot written down but when you thjnk of how long it takes for each to be done its really very little time.

Making bed, window curtains for example, umm thats a ten second job (if even!)

Hoovering their rooms once a week= their rooms are small so 2 minutes max a week- thats really not a lot of their weekend taken up is it?

Bringing washing down and putting im basket= they'll be coming downstairs for breakfast anyway and the basket is in the way

Spotwashing their clothes= a few minutes each afternoon if necessary before snack and homework.

Its really not a lot of time. Plenty of time to be children

lostdomain Wed 01-Jan-14 19:16:27

This thread is enlightening. Such young children being so capable. My two are three times the age of some of the children on here and don't do a quarter of what they do.

Time for some New Year's Resolutions.

dizzyday07 Wed 01-Jan-14 19:55:37

Never mind teenagers - my DH doesn't do most of this list!

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 01-Jan-14 20:05:33

Which is so depressing dizzy and why i'm starting young with my dcs so they learn that homecare is the whole family's responsibility an not just the one who gave birth!

nooka Wed 01-Jan-14 20:32:37

Well that's another issue entirely though isn't it? My dh has always done at least as much and often more than me, but I was expected to pull my weight at home, taught how to cook, iron, clean etc (although we did have a cleaner so I wasn't exactly put upon) whereas dh was pretty much left to his own devices. I'm not sure it's always that direct a relationship.

For me it's pretty straightforward, we want to share the load across the four of us rather than just dh and me, we want our children to appreciate the work that goes into running a home, and we want them to be competent and independent. I didn't worry about most of that when they were very small, they didn't get any formal chores until pretty much last year and it's not really been a problem getting them in gear now. They do think that having to do drudge work is a bad thing. So do I!

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 01-Jan-14 20:44:19

I think your dcs personality plays a big factor aswel though. I could wait til my dcs are 15 to get them pulling their weights but knowing ds1 as i do- he's even more bull headed now at 8 than i was at 15 and i remembe how 'put upon' i felt then when mum asked me to empty the dishwasher because it "wasnt my job" whereas if i'd been doing it all along it wouldnt have been a source of battle with an already stroppy teen. I'd rather battle it out with mine now and get these habits settled in than take him on at 15 when he could basically trample over me if he felt like it.

I think the list in the OP is a bit much to suddenly expect your DC to suddenly start doing. As others have said you have to start gradually.

I have 3 DC and expect them to work as part of the team (I know that sounds corny) that keeps the house running smoothly. DS1 loves helping and so he is a breeze. DS2 is less enthusiastic, but can be bribed encouraged. DD tends to follow DS1 as she wants to be a "big kid".

I expect them to:

Keep his room tidy
Make his bed and open his curtains
Put his clean washing away
Put his dirty washing in the wash basket
Put a wash on (including measuring detergent and choosing cycle) when asked
Put the tumble dryer on and empty it and fold washing if asked
Wash up
Help with food preparation
Help to put the grocery shopping away
Empty bins (including kitchen bin) if asked
Tidy up anything he uses or plays with
Run the hoover around the living room if asked
Check calendar and pack school bag appropriately for that day's activities
Hang coat up and put shoes away when coming in from outside.

Keep his room tidy
Make his bed and open his curtains
Put his clean washing away
Put his dirty washing in the wash basket
Empty tumble dryer and fold washing if asked
Help with food preparation
Set table and clear away dishes at the end of mealtimes
Empty waste paper bins if asked
Tidy up anything he uses or plays with
Run the hoover around the living room if asked
Check calendar and pack school bag appropriately for that day's activities
Hang coat up and put shoes away when coming in from outside.

Keep her room tidy
Make her bed and open her curtains
Put her clean washing away
Put her dirty washing in the wash basket
Pair up socks when they come out of the tumble dryer
Help with food preparation
Tidy up anything she uses or plays with
Check calendar and pack school bag appropriately for that day's activities
Hang coat up and put shoes away when coming in from outside

Written down they look like quite long lists, but they have evolved over time. Some days are better than others, sometimes I feel like I'm nagging and other days it all runs quite smoothly. They are going up to be quite independent though, they can all make themselves breakfast or a sandwich etc and the eldest can cook a meal by himself now.

I agree with starting them young, but you do need to do it gradually.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 01-Jan-14 21:28:17

I agree jemima so im just starting with the morning stuff and little things like laying the table or feeding the dog.

Sorry, I missed the post that said you were starting with the morning stuff as I scrolled through (on my phone).

WantAnOrange Thu 02-Jan-14 07:01:42

I don't think the list is an unreasonable aim at all. I find it a little sad how children are viewed as so incapable in our society. HOWEVER, I wouldn't introduce everything at once, maybe one new habit a week?

I would expect 8 year to have the same list as 4 year old but the 4 year old to need more support, whereas the 8 year old could do more independently. Don't let your 8 yo convince you he doesn't understand this! He may not like it, but he can understand it, and well, that's life isn't it?!

The only thing on the list I wouldn't have as a responsibility is cooking. DS (7) adores cooking and this is a fun activity we do on Saturday afternoons, rather than something he has to be responsible for. We got him Jamie's 15 minute meals book for his birthday (takes an hour for DS mind you!)

My mum did everything for us around the house. I am grateful for how much she did but I would have appreciated it more in the long run if I had learned these skills before I had a child of my own and got my own home. It's a lot to learn all at once and it's the hard way to do things. It is also the only cause of arguments between DH and I. I don't want that for my children.

BobCrotchstitch Thu 02-Jan-14 07:39:11

DS is 9 and has a friend who does nothing, literally nothing round the house. He is really hard work when he comes round as he just expects food to automatically appear, along with cutlery, drinks, sauces etc. He doesn't even carry his own bags which makes me gnash my teeth when I see it
In comparison DS is expected to:
Put washing in basket
Put clean laundry away
Empty lunchbox and water bottle
Lay table for dinner and clear plates to the kitchen after.
Check planner and make sure bags and kits are ready for the following day
Clean shoes on a Sunday
Sort recycling and put outside fortnightly. DH often helps him put the box out but he brings it back in after.
Then random as and when jobs like hoovering his room, putting shopping away, filling the dogs water etc.
His pocket money is dependent on these jobs but generally he is quite amenable as he has been expected to chip in since he was very young so it's just second nature to him now smile

3bunnies Thu 02-Jan-14 07:59:32

I would like to be able to make jobs linked to pocket money they currently don't have any but dh thinks they should just do the jobs anyway because they are part of the family. Interestingly in his family his mother did absolutely everything until she died quite young. My mother did most things. I think he still would rather I did everything but we're gradually finding compromises.

I do use bribery when it comes to tidying up which everyone hates - if they help tidy then they can have friends around to play.

BobCrotchstitch Thu 02-Jan-14 08:10:53

3bunnies we tend to pay full pocket money for a good all round attitude over the week rather than an amount per job IYSWIM?
DS also gets 30 minutes on his iPad on week nights once everything has been done properly. TBH the iPad time is more precious to him at the moment rather than the pocket money but I'm really not bothered either way. It's a reward for being organised, playing his part and having a good attitude <blanks out early memories of swearing I would never use blackmail>

RRudolphR Thu 02-Jan-14 08:18:47

Introduce one thing at a time and devote the time to show them how to do it properly.
Perhaps they could each have one thing for this week?

Next week swap the jobs over and get them to show each other how to do it.

Different jobs the week after etc etc.

Procrastreation Thu 02-Jan-14 08:30:16

I don't understand why you've been critisised. My older kids are a 9 yo, a (just) 7 yo and a 5 yo. We live in a shit-tip - but they do do chores. (in fact - the two statements are related - since ime part of getting kids started on chores is not getting hung up on everything being done to adult standards).

Fold pjs an put under pillow no - but they are able to each locate their own at bed time

Bring dirty laundry down to wash basket * they can and do all do it - but do need prompting)*

Get own breakfast things out in morning Yes. They have a low accessible cupboard with unbreakable bowls & cereal. 5 yo has lots of splats - think filling bowl to the top with cereal - then sloshing a tsunami of milk. When that happens, he is directed to where the cloths are kept - but otherwise it's not treated dramatically

Make 1 evening meal each per week (with 100% supervison from me and assistance where necessary) mine don't do it every week - but I support you in this. I contrast to posters upthread - my 5 yo has been the chef of the gang for a long time. His star dish is a whole 'poached' salmon. Recipe: go to shop & pick shiniest whole fish. Mum puts it in dish & provides saucer with portioned out seasonings (eg salt, parsley, lemon slices, bay leaves, pepper). DS2 applies seasoning to fish. DS2 then wraps the dish losely in foil. At serving time (this is a go-to party dish) - DS2 trots around promoting his fish dish & is generally very proud. DD1 - the eldest - is squeamish - but I've been teaching her the operation of kitchen appliances by letting her fix tinned soups, chips, nuggets etc. In fact - I refuse to actually cook any of the above - since I don't like them. Hence - when that is on the menu - it is totally up to DD to fix it - and I make sure the boys direct their junk-food gratitiude vocally to DD1. DS1 (age 7) is my slow cooker king. He can read a recipe, load a cold crock pot (he doesn't have the upper body strength for a can opener - but I do let him rough slice veggies) and then turn it on.

Be involved in the weekly meal plan without everything having to be sausage and chips! I totally do this! In fact I think this is very important to negotiating the line between 'you're part of this family' and 'eat what you're given'. My 7 yo is the expert at this. He surveys the rest of the family for dishes they'd like, consults kids cook books, and takes into account constraints I set like 'only one junk food day a week'. It's kids meal plan week only once every couple of months - but they take pride in it,

Put washing in machine and load powder/softener and turn on no to powder. IMO chemicals is really not a great idea, because you can't be relaxed about them being a bit random. But everyone can load the machine as part of a weekend clean . It is actually the speciality of my 2 yo - with whom it turns into a long process of 'daddy's green sock; DS1s Tshirt...'

Put clean laundry away
* Clean laundry is sorted into personal trugs immediately as it comes out of the machine. When the trug is full, it's owner is asked to empty it into drawers & return the trug. They all do it - though obv the 5 yo has been known to shove the lot under his bed & hope for the best! *

Check uniforms for dirty marks needing spotwashed
Spotwash dirty marks
no chance! they just don't see the marks! And unless you're happy for them to go to school looking like Oliver Twist, you'll end up stressing & re-doing their work - which will make for a bad atmosphere

Wash dishes after evening meals
* a lot of these things fall in the camp of 'persevere for good habits, even though in the short term it's more work for the kids to 'help''. Washing up by an 8 year old would be << but with bells on! They'd be happy enough to do it - but the quality would never be that great, then you'd need to surepticiously re-wash, then a glass would smash in the bowl.... Really not worth the hassle IMO. However - the bigs load their own plates into the dishwasher wonky *

Dust and hoover rooms once a week
* Dusting has been DS2s speciality since he was three. I put damp socks on his hands & tell him to wipe everything that is hard & not electric. DS1 loves to hover. I also ask them to mop & sweep kitchen when we have big weekend cleaning blitzes*

jellyandcake Thu 02-Jan-14 08:37:28

Wrt early responsibility leading to more capable and responsible adults - my parents assigned us similar chores and all I learned was to bitterly despise and resent housework, do a grudging and crappy job of it and gleefully live like a pig for years after leaving home. I still hate all housework with a ferocious passion but am forcing myself to learn now that I have my own home and children. I can't remember any particular skills I learned doing this stuff as a child, I think I deliberately didn't let it sink in!

Also linking it to financial reward didn't work once I was old enough for a Saturday job and I just did that instead.

I definitely would introduce tasks gradually and I think the laundry based ones are a bit much for their ages at the moment.

Procrastreation Thu 02-Jan-14 08:38:11

A lot of the above is done via the FLYLady home blessing hour system. This is basically 6 jobs in 60 minutes. I have a list of what needs doing - and they each pick a job & work at it for 10 mins, then come back for a new job.

This system works for us because:
- the DC can 'specialise' & always choose their individual favourite jobs
- it doesn't require ongoing nagging. IME expecting kids to remember much more tha on brushing their own teeth is a bust.
- you can get a nice atmosphere going eg with music and high energy OTT cheerleading of their achievements. We also tend to round off with a family treat, like ice cream sundaes.
- I treat the time as 'teach DC to housework. I give my undivided attention to flitting between them supporting & firefighting. This works better than expecting them to 'just do it' and then being disappointed in the result
- by the end of the hour, the house is appreciably nicer, so they get job satisfaction & pride in their work.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Thu 02-Jan-14 08:48:03

I keep money out of it too, otherwise I suspect they might call my bluff and say they just don't want the money sometimes. They can earn a bit more than their regular money by doing extras though.

Mine are scrupulous about fairness, trying to get them to pick jobs off a list or do different things tends to lead to arguments, so we have to say you hoover one room you hoover the other etc. Mine are pretty close capability wise, despite 2 year age gap (9 and 7).

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 02-Jan-14 12:09:51

Thank you all for comments, i am nodding in agreement with lots of it- have to head out now but will post a proper response later of what ive decided on. Thanks all.

I keep money out of it as I want them to understand that they do chores as they are part of the team that keeps the house running smoothly.

Mind you, if someone would like to give me pocket money for doing chores I'd be very grateful! wink

Stillcomingtoterms Fri 03-Jan-14 01:24:19

My dd9 and ds7 do various things, mainly because I don't want two incapable teenagers.
I originally started off with a tick list and for each job they did they got 20p. Ds had easier tasks than dd or tasks I knew one of them liked. However after a few weeks dd decided it wasn't worth the money and ds was Bribing me into paying for every task. Ie he would offer to help me weed the garden and then say 'that's £2 please' which frankly is over inflated and also he hadn't learnt to negotiate before the jobsmile
However what doing this showed was that both are capable of more than I originally thought.

Most of what now gets done is normally me asking ie can someone lay the table, pick up shoes etc.
Without asking They both feed the cat when they notice her bowl is empty,they make they're own cereal every morning, get their own uniforms out and dressed and get their own school stuff ready. They can both also make their own sandwiches and packed lunches if I'm busy doing something else.
Dd has also recently learnt how to make a cup of tea and make herself some beans on toast. I've noticed if we have friends kids round they get horrified when I ask them to clear away the toys so I think maybe I get mine to do more than others.

As for your list

From your list mine do
Make own beds, open curtains and window - yes but generally only if their on best behaviour for something
Fold pjs an put under pillow - not something I can be bothered to get them to do
Bring dirty laundry down to wash basket - they did this but I had to stop them as dd was putting things she had only just put on in there and my washing grew.
Get own breakfast things out in morning - started when I felt they could manage the milk, dd at 6 and she made ds until he was 6
Make 1 evening meal each per week (with 100% supervison from me and assistance where necessary) - no I do the cooking and if one of thems bored I'll get them to help out
Be involved in the weekly meal plan without everything having to be sausage and chips! - We food shop together
Put washing in machine and load powder/softener and turn on - they both can do and will occasionally but it's more faffing than it's worth at the moment.
Put clean laundry away - will put draw stuff away
Check uniforms for dirty marks needing spotwashed - impossible, they never see any dirt
Wash dishes after evening meals - no, they put things in the dishwasher but hand washing made too much of a mess
Dust and hoover rooms once a week - ds can now he's 7 up until then the Hoover was too big. They do need to be told when to do this though as again they always think they're rooms are clean!

Mellowandfruitful Fri 03-Jan-14 01:33:34

Really interesting stuff here. The Flylady approach for kids is very good - not that I have properly implemented it... I think for me I wouldn't have the 4 yo interacting with machinery, so the 8 yo could be expected to put a wash on but I would only expect the 4yo to bring down dirty washing and put clean away. Plus also consider height - this got mentioned with the bins but depending on how tall your 4 yo is, and how accessible all your surfaces are, some of this just might not be possible.

Fantail Sun 05-Jan-14 09:41:53

DDis 2.9. She can (with assistance/prompting) - put dirty washing in laundry, put clean clothes away, help unload dishwasher, help set table, help dust and clean windows, help tidy her toys.

Turning on the washing machine is a huge reward for her. grin

We cook and bake a lot. Her achievement over the Christmas holidays is that she can with my help make a peanut butter sandwich.

Timetoask Sun 05-Jan-14 09:51:53

I am thinking of teaching my 9year old (with special needs) and almost 7 (nt) how to clean toilets. They still make a huge mess!
Is it too ambitious? Will obviously explain that they need to wash their hands extra well!

My almost 9 year old with special needs loves helping around the house it's the nt one that is more of a struggle (he prefers to play)

Mikkii Sun 05-Jan-14 10:26:11

We have DS (9), DD1 (6) and DD2 (3).

They are all expected to put dirty washing in the basket, but not if clean enough to wear again. DD2 has also been trained (by DH) to come into our room, collect his laundry and put it into the basket.

The older 2 have to make their beds, lay the table at weekends. All take plates to kitchen after meals (although with DD2 it is dependent on how much is left on plate and how messy spills might be!)

DS will make tea/coffee, hot chocolate for youngest also he can scramble eggs. Older 2 can make toast or a sandwich, get cereal ready (although kept in a high cupboard so DD tends not to).

DS will feed dogs, he can't empty bin as the bag is too heavy for him (he's quite petite). All expected to hang coats (DD 3 is expected to pass her coat to DS or mummy for hanging) and put shoes in their room.

DS likes to cook and helps regularly.

All expected to tidy playroom. They are currently banned from playroom as they didn't tidy it up. As a result they are not getting to watch much of their tv as I have got used to not watching kids tv all the time.

DS is currently working off a debt. He wanted a new club penguin membership but he asked for it after Christmas. He is earning about 50p a day, sometimes a £1 for extra chores, above what I would normally ask for. Such as making my coffee this morning using the Dolce Gusto machine.

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