Parenting tool #1: How chores help children grow into good citizens

images-5I’ve been mother and a psychologist for 16 years and its a tantalizing combination at times. I used to be caught over-thinking, over-analyzing and trying to full-proof my son’s emotional life before I would take action. I’d over-process with my weary husband about the effects of just about anything on my son’s self esteem. Thank god that phase is over.

Now I’m a parenting coach, and have tremendous fun helping other parents out of some of the same predicaments I was in. My main problem? I was busy being friends with my children, and not a firm authority figure. I didn’t want to say anything that would make me unpopular. I wanted to be helpful. I wanted to make sure they got all the attention and support I didn’t get when I was young. John Rosemond, parenting expert, calls this the “helicopter mom”~ paying more attention to your children, than they do to you. Putting their needs, their tasks, their homework, their schedules at the CENTER of the family evening. Why is this a problem? Because its creating a nation of over-indulged, under-achieving kids!


Sir Ken Robinson, ingenious, entertaining, education expert, stated in an interview that the 2 most important qualities our organizations need in their employees, in order to resolve the complicated world problems we currently face are:
1) the ability to creatively problem-solve
2) the ability to contribute in a group

Guess what? Those qualities have become rare. Ken Robinson is focusing on schools. I’m going to focus on the Home front.

Over the next week, I’ll share the core pieces of what I have learned about becoming the parent of hard-working, resourceful, self-directing, cooperative, and confident kids.
First on the list, is one of the most critical:


1. Make sure your children are doing a daily chore. No matter what age (after 2), children contributing to the household with a 5 minute daily chore, grows into good citizenship when they’re older.

2. On weekends, 30 minutes of deep cleaning the bedroom, taking sheets off bed, dusting, vacuuming; cleaning their own sink and toilet

3. Never pay children money for doing chores. Allowance is a separate issue that teaches about money. Chores are about learning to contribute to a family.

Examples of 5 minute chore:
empty the garbage/replace bag
cat box (scoop/refresh litter)
unload dishwasher
sweep the kitchen
set the table
clean the sliding glass windows
straighten the play room


I look forward to questions and feedback on this hot topic!


6 thoughts on “Parenting tool #1: How chores help children grow into good citizens

  1. I’m a parent and a teacher with interest in psychology. Imagine how that feels for my children đŸ˜‰ – still catch myself overthinking and overplanning at times, though learnt to take it easier, step back and keep my ‘teaching’ interventions under control. đŸ™‚

  2. Hi Otrazhenie, ha ha ha, we have some “heady” mental energy in common. But our kids our precious and being neglectful would be even worse, am I right? The lesser of two evils. Thanks for commenting!

  3. My children have daily chores, and I fully admit that sometimes I am the one who gets lax and lets them off the hook. Daily reminders to do what they’re supposed to do when frankly I could do it better myself in half the time gets old. đŸ™‚ Then I’m also guilty of having the always memorable mommy-meltdown when I get fed up trying to do it all! All part of my non-supermom persona I suppose!

    1. Solidarity Supermom! I totally empathize with the “rather do it myself, faster” and can only say that I just keep getting back up on that Chores Horse and keep trying trying to be consistent. And then try again. Ha ha. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. I loved this post! I became a member of Parents Anonymous when my children were two and six. In the years that I attended, we had many parents that believed their children couldn’t or shouldn’t do chores so I came up with a list to give parents ideas. The link below is to that list of chores with tips; I have written about chores several times because they are that important.

    Our facilitator used to say, “Never do for children the things they can do for themselves.” I took that to heart and gave my girls all kinds of normal chores and tasks like making their own breakfast. As a result, when they went to college, they were often one of the few students in the dorms that could cook, clean and do so many more things.

    I agree about not paying for chores or giving allowance for chores. Chores are something expected as a part of a family unit. I did occasionally give out-of-the ordinary jobs that I would pay a set fee for like the time I paid my daughter $5 to sort a bucket of Philips and flat screws, bolts and nuts and nails in varying lengths. It was a big job and well worth what I paid.

    đŸ˜€ I better get to work!

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