6 Chores I Refuse to Pay My Kids to Do

shutterstock_62041624-1I’m a huge believer in giving kids chores for a few reasons:

1. I’m busy.

2. They live here too.

3. It’s the least they can do.

But really, folks, anyone over the age of four living under your roof can and probably should contribute to your household in some way. Kids are capable, and in some cases, willing to help out however and wherever they can.

The trick to raising kids who help around the house is twofold: One, start ’em young; and two, accept the reality that each chore will take five times as long, require your help, and will not be performed to your standards – but so what? Your kid is trying, and as they grow older they’ll refine their skills and be able to help you in real and meaningful ways.

I’ve never paid my kids to perform basic household chores. Personally, I feel like an allowance should be earned for efforts exceeding the very basic functionality of our home.

My job is to provide and care for my kids in the ways they cannot – not work as their maid, personal assistant, and general gopher gal.

Check out these 6 chores I expect my kids to do for free, because they live here too:

  • Take out the trash or sort recycling 1 of 6

    Kids, you produce a lot of trash. In fact, we all do. When the large kitchen trash becomes too full or stinky, or you can't fit another plastic container in the recycling bin, do something about it. You're going to grow up to do it for free in your own home anyway; you might as well start now.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Put away clean clothes 2 of 6

    Look, I washed your clothes, dealt with the stubborn aftermath of the Chap Stick left in your pocket, jacked that lucky quarter you found on the street, dried your clothes, folded your clothes, and proceeded to deliver them neatly to your bed for no additional charge. The least you can do is put them away. You do know where they live.

    Image credit: Shutterstock


  • Set the table 3 of 6

    We dine every night at approximately the same time (give or take a DVR'd episode of Downton Abbey). Dinner is a given, as is my preparation of said dinner foods that you are about to enjoy. Please place a napkin and a fork at each place setting because civilized people eat that way, or so I hear. The idea of paying you to spend 20 seconds gathering the tools we need to eat the food I prepared? I don't think so.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Clean their room 4 of 6

    Dear Child, see that messy bedroom? Yeah, you did that. You know how I know? Because I don't live there. I go to painstaking measures to pick up after you in our shared living quarters, but your room is your responsibility. If you can make the mess, you can clean the mess. For free.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Wash their dishes 5 of 6

    OK, so this picture is a bit misleading. We here at the Mommyfriend compound are big-huge believers in the power of the almighty dishwasher. That said, my kids are old enough to bring their dishes to the counter, allow me to rinse them (only because I'm taller than they are), and personally load their own dishes into the dishwasher. Unless my kids are leaving me a tip for superior service, they can bus their own place setting.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Help unload the groceries 6 of 6

    Grocery shopping blows, unless you happen to enjoy grooving down aisle 5 to an instrumental version of "Peace Train". Tack on the search for missing coupons, person in front of you who insists on writing a check, and the strength required to manage a 24-pack of bottled water - it's no wonder you're exhausted by the time you get home! Children, if you want to know if I bought Flamin' Hot Cheetos, you're going to have to unload the groceries and see for yourself. At $4.95 a box for Fruit Loops, I can't afford to pay you!

    Image credit: Shutterstock


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