Family life

Kids' participation to house chores

10-12 years old

  • Mow the lawn
  • Vacuum
  • Prepare simple meals
  • Use the washing machine and dryer
  • Compare prices at the grocery store and calculate the difference with a little calculator
How to encourage them to help with house chores?
Be an example

If a parent does chores and seems to fuss about it, the kids will realize that there is nothing fun about it. On the other hand, if you sing or even dance to music while you’re cleaning, it is more likely that your kids will want to help. It’s more motivating when it seems fun and enjoyable. Instead of saying: “I’m so sick and tired of doing everything by myself”, share your limits and your needs with them. “I need everyone to play a part in cleaning, dinner preparations and house chores. I need some help because I need rest and playtime just like all of you”.

You can write all the chores on a piece of paper and ask: “What are you ready to do?” If possible, let them pick the chores they prefer or pick one out of a hat.

Plan the day and time that the chores must be done.

Agree on the consequences if someone does not do their chores. For example, you can say that the television won't be turned on until the morning routine is done, or that all chores must be done before heading to the movies.  The grandmothers’ rule: “Work first, have fun after” can be useful. Don’t forget to encourage them to do their chores.Playtime or family activities can motivate your children.


Linda and Brian have decided that in addition to their personal chores, their children would have a daily and weekly responsibility. A few days after assigning tasks to everyone, their 6 year-old Julie wouldn’t stop thanking her parents for the chores. She said that she was so proud of herself. Linda and Brian couldn’t believe it and felt like they had given their daughter the greatest gift ever.

All kids don’t react this way. The earlier we start, the easier it is to have their collaboration. Furthermore, when kids have responsibilities before being in school, it is easier for them to be responsible for their school tasks. The ones that resist don’t understand the amazing gift you are trying to give them. The message that goes with giving chores is the following: “I love you enough to teach you how to live without me, because I want you to become independent. I trust you and know that you are able to do this task and do it well”. Love and trust give wings, and that is our main goal: to teach them to live without us.

Brigitte Racine
Nurse and Psychotherapist

Brigitte Racine is a nurse, Psychotherapist, a graduate of Laval University, Centre de relation d'aide de Montréal and the William Glasser Institute in California. She offers conferences, training courses,  and individual consultations. For a list of  her upcoming conferences or to view excerpts of her DVD "La discipline un jeux d’enfant", visit her website. Her DVD is available at the Sainte-Justine Hospital library, at her conferences and on her website., 514.392.4755. Call Send SMS Add to Skype You'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype

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