Jobs for Children

January 20, 2010 by  

How Do You Get Your Kids To Do their Chores?


Kids should help with the family cleaning

Repetition…Consistency and Follow up.

I had someone ask how to “get” your child to do their chores, or more specifically the morning routine chores I had posted yesterday.  To me it is very simple and there may be many who don’t like my blunt answer. But here it is in simple terms, YOU ARE THE PARENT, THEY ARE THE CHILD. Do not let them make the rules. Do not ask them if they “want to” do something. What do you say if they say no?  If you want to give them choices, then say, ” Would you rather carry up the laundry baskets or take out the trash to the trash cans?”

Do I think kids should have jobs?  Heck YES!

You are the one who is in charge, not them.  “No” is not an option when you ask them to do a job or help in the house.  If I ask one of the children to do something and they would say no, my immediate response would probably be, “ExCUSE me?”

THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES FOR THEIR ACTIONS – What if they say No or won’t do them?

If they are given a list of 2 or 3 jobs to do during the day during the summer when they are off school and they do not complete their jobs that day…guess what?  They get those same jobs the next day AND 2 or 3 new ones.

They are not going to get friend time, or TV time, or computer time if they don’t get their jobs done first.

I have had my share of discipline problems with my children. Especially my 4 oldest boys. Three of my 4 boys have ADHD. I don’t use that as any excuse and I don’t let them use it as an excuse to get away with anything. It doesn’t change a thing I expect of them and that they are capable of.

In a grocery store. (Don’t kids always act up there? ) when I first met my now husband the triplets were 3 1/2 years old. From the time I met them I never accepted that they ran all over the store. If they went to the store with me they learned quickly that they stayed right with me and they kept their hands off things. So how did I get them to do that?

1) I give them assignments. They got to take turns picking the items off the shelf when I needed them. (ages 3) If they weren’t behaving, they sat in the cart front seat.

2) They got their own shopping lists and had to sound out the words on their list. (ages 5)

3) They get their own cart or basket with their own list and help figure out which is the better deal: The gallon of milk for $2.50 or the 2 half gallon bottles of milk on sale for .99 each.  (ages eight and older)


If they don’t behave they sit in the cart (ages 3) or have to hang onto the side of the cart (too old to sit in cart).

I also have a point system while out and about.  1 point for poor behavior. That point can be redeemed at home (but don’t forget!) It can be lose of computer time, or TV time. 1 point = 10 minutes. It can be 1 point = 1 extra chore (cleaning up dog poo outside in the yard). It can be time in their room when they get home. 1 point = 10 minutes.

When my 4 older boys were young 1 point = 1 spanking when we got home.   But they can also LOSE their points for good behavior. If they were misbehaving in the store I would calming say, “Joe, you just earned 1 point”. That is usually all it took, then he worked the rest of the time to lose that point.  But I did make sure that I did not give in after we left that store. He he earned and did not lose 2 points in the store..when we got  home he DID get his 2 spankings. But guess what, I didn’t have very many problems in a grocery store with 4 boys under the age of 12 (3 of which had ADHD)


Your kids will learn real fast that if you threaten to punish them, but never follow through….they won’t listen.  Why should they?

With my step kids now, I don’t spank them. If I have to discipline in the store, which I usually don’t…making them hang onto the cart and not get to help by picking out or helping shop is enough that they settle down real fast.

I also used and still do use the 1…2…3. But if I said the number 3…then there was discipline. I used it more for my older boys. It worked.


I have a job board that we use. These jobs are on top of their daily tasks such as cleaning their room, getting dressed etc.

A job board can be made easily. (click on picture for post on making one)

A job board can be made easily. (click on picture for post on making one)

This chores rotate weekly.  I don’t think any age (even toddlers) are too young to start with picture job boards and helping put toys in a basket.  You can make it a game or use songs to help. With the older kids, make a cleaning bucket for them to use.

This might sound strict to you and if what you are doing is working for you and your family – then wonderful, keep doing it.  But if you are having problems getting your children to help or do as you ask them, you might want to give my suggestions a try.  I am not a mean mom, but I am a firm mom and my children DO listen to me.  I believe that as the parent it is Our job to teach our children right from wrong and teach them the value of being a family member and part of a team.

Repetition…Consistency and Follow up.

Be consistent in what jobs the kids do each morning and after school.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat….they will learn the routine.

Follow up to see if they did what was expected.

Disclaimer – I am not telling anyone to spank their child. I am stating that I did use spanking with my older 4 boys when they were young as a form of punishment for inappropriate or harmful behavior. This is my own opinion and I am entitled to it. I make no apologies for it and I think my grown sons would agree that I did a pretty good job of raising them. I in NO way ever abused my sons and feel it is silly that I even feel I have to add in this disclaimer.

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9 Responses to “Jobs for Children”
  1. I find that charts definitely help out. I like your job board idea. My kids are USUALLY pretty good at helping out, but sometimes there is a breakdown ;)
    Thank you for the tips.

  2. Tara Hill says:

    I agree with most, except the 1, 2, 3 part. They should listen WHEN you tell them to, not after a few chances and not at 3.

    I am a big believer in consistency and follow through. They do learn quickly if you will do what you said you will do. I think it is hard to do because sometimes it is just easier not to get up or stop what you are doing to be consistent. It’s a lot of work, but if you start early, they will learn early. The older you start, the harder the habits will be to break.

    I also think there has to be a lot of loving attention outside of punishment as well as during. Before I reprimand my oldest, I pull him close and hug him before I tell him why I am going to punish him and how. That way he always feels that love first. I have always given him hugs and kisses after I’ve spanked him (yes, I do) because I don’t ever want him to think I am doing it out of anger and I want him to know that even when he does wrong I love him. Now if I have to discipline him, he always makes the first move for a hug.

    Great post, I enjoyed reading it!

  3. Katie Hozan says:

    I LOVED THIS POSTING! I’m 19 and I completely agree that kids should have chores, and do them or face a consequence. I wish other parents could read this – today you see so many kids in the store acting up because they’re allowed to. This is a very sensitive issue to many people, thank you for speaking your mind!

  4. kalanicut says:

    Started 3-yr-old on chores and have never looked back. I reorganized the kitchen to be more conducive to having the little one help, so she could reach things more easily. She’s a real stickler for silverware organization now after two years of unloading the silverware tray in the dishwasher (I take out all the sharp stuff before I turn it over to her). Consistency and effort on the grown-ups part is the key. Many times when children are badly behaved it seems like it just a lack of consistency on the grown ups part. It takes a ton of work, but it pays off when the little ones are helping with the work and behave nicely. Thanks for saying this, putting it out there, reminding people of how children grew up in earlier generations.

  5. Sandy says:

    Thanks much!! I remember being a very young child and putting away the silverware as my first kitchen job too! lol

  6. Misty says:

    We use for our three kids. It’s basically a website where you create a custom list of chores and you can separate by indoor/outdoor and kids ages. The kids login and click ‘Get My Chore’ and are given their chore everyday. It makes it kind of a fun game for them to see what they are going to get that day. It also has a page where I can grade how well they did on the chore. It has helped keep us consistent on giving kids chores.

  7. Sandy says:

    cool.. thanks for sharing


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  1. […] have chores.  But in the summer my kids have extra jobs.  I’ve done this post called, 1) “How Do you Get Your Child To do their Jobs?”  2)  “Should Kids Help in the House?” 3) “Kids Chores – Cleaning […]

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