A fellow Mom Collective contributor inspired me to write this article. Gia posted about being a “mean mom,” since she was encouraging her family to do chores in accordance with household needs and life skills. I support and applaud her efforts!

Do your children have chores?

Many families adopt some type of assigned chore routine, with or without pay. I did chores (washing floors) when I was young, and I’m thankful my mom held me accountable to helping around the house. For several years, she was a single mother working multiple jobs. Someone had to vacuum! My brother and I dusted, watered plants, and raked the yard, too.

My husband and I (veterans who once went through bootcamp) believe doing chores instills responsibility, work ethic, and citizenship.

Like I tell our son, “Chores keep you grounded (humble), rounded (in experience), and grateful (for what it takes to clean and care for a home, especially with our pet hair collections).” As a fire-wife, parent club volunteer, indie author, and substitute teacher, I sometimes struggle to keep up with daily demands and personal ambitions. I figure the kids can help, and I know my parents would agree.

So, what tasks do your children regularly perform?

It’s important to keep age and abilities in mind. Our chore chart includes daily to-dos (make bed, feed animals, unload dishwasher) and occasional or as-needed extras (vacuum, clean cat box, wipe sink, put laundry away, take out trash/recycling). For this, our 11-and-13-year-old each earn an allowance of $5 a week. I appreciate their assistance.

Of course, money (and ahem, intrinsic value) aren’t the only incentives.

Let’s be honest, screen time drives tweens, too! Before applying to play video games, our two typically get ready, eat, draw, journal, read, and practice music for enrichment. Exercise and homework are factored in as well. Priorities.

Yes, I have high expectations. No, I don’t feel bad about that. Sure, the kids complain. True, we are flexible at times because of sports, schedules, and such.

Some may say I’m strict, but I know I’m not alone.

Check out these “Scary Mommy” posts that a neighbor friend shared with me. Like one dad (who is also a doctor) says, “If they want to enjoy their phones or tablets, certain tasks need to be completed.” 

Parenting involves so much more than meals, school transport, and bedtime stories. We try to raise capable children and create routines as we grow, right?

I think it’s smart to enforce screen time structure, which (aside from watching a show) my family normally reserves for weekends and school breaks. Kids like to know what’s expected, and often, my daughter will even write her own to-do, pre-screen list.

I might not get everything right as a mom, but I feel good about our general “work before play” habits. It’s nice to know a fellow writer and I are on the same page.

(c)cby kate_sept2004 from Getty Images Signature via Canva.com
(c) personal photo Tami Davis




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