Should you make your kids do chores?

Is it good for them? Or just a giant faff? We've got 8 reasons for and against children doing chores: how would you vote?

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Now, here’s a topic that’s bound to divide opinion: parents’ views on whether or not kids should do chores can be polar-opposite – even in the same family.

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So, what do you reckon? Should kids do chores? (And by chores, we mean folding laundry, bringing the post in, making beds – that type of thing.)

If they should, at what age should they start? And should their pocket money depend on it?

And if they shouldn’t, why not? Is it because it’s mean to make kids do chores (there will be plenty of cleaning to do when they’re all grown up, after all)?

Or is it simply because it just ends up being more hassle than it’s worth and you know you’ll probably have to step in and take over – or do it all over again – anyway?

Here at MadeForMums, we’ve mulled over the pros and cons of the child-chore dilemma…

The pros

1. Mum and Dad get just props for what they do. Doing chores will help your kids to respect the work you do around the house as a parent. Even if you start them from a young age and they’re not really being that helpful as such, they’ll see the time that goes into making a home run smoothly. 

2. They’ll see housework doesn’t do itself. They’ll realise that there is no happy band of fairies making the clothes clean, keeping the bedrooms tidy and the floors crumb-free. 

3. Kids love it. Yes, for plenty of kids – especially under-4s – chores are FUN! They love being like Mummy or Daddy and grabbing the vacuum or duster. Far from being cruel, it gets them involved in the running of the house and is basically just play time.

4. It can make them feel at home. According to US writer and single mum Laura Lifshitz, giving her daughter chores helped her to feel more at home when they moved house after her divorce. 

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The cons

1. It’s mean. OK, not all adults hate doing chores but the majority of us would probably rather snuggle down with a box set or go out for a family day than clean the bathroom or do the laundry. But, as adults, we know that needs must. And though we’ve wished it a few times, we know the cleaning fairies really don’t exist. Boo! So if we loathe chores so much (some of us, that is) why would we expect to kids to enjoy it? Seems a little harsh, right?

2. Kids should be having fun. Running in fields, making messes, playing with cardboard boxes. THAT’s childhood. No way to chores. Real life will come in time.

3. Things take twice as long. Yep, getting kids to help out with chores – especially the younger ones – might just mean you take a lot more time on stuff you actually want to spend as little time as possible doing.

4. It’s hazardous. Um, not so much for your kids (although, of course, accidents do happen); we’re thinking more about yours earrings getting vacuumed up by mistake or a spot of out-of-hand dusting that ends up with your favourite ornament being knocked over. Just saying…

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