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Parents Panel: Do you set chores and household tasks for your little ones?

Tidying up, making breakfast, and sharing the load with mum and dad.


AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

This week, we’re asking about chores and sharing responsibilities with little ones – and making it fun, too: What kinds of chores do you set for your kids – if any?

Here’s what our panel had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

My toddler knows he has to tidy: I am a firm believer in participation and of everybody helping out. Tymek is only 20 months old so I can’t expect too much, but he does put away his shoes after we’re back from a walk and he helps tidy his toys each evening. Sometimes he helps a lot, sometimes a little, but he knows he has to tidy.

- Marta Lisiecka

We ask the boys to share the load with us: We used to rely on incentives such as pocket money or time on computers to get the boys to do chores, but now that they are 14 and 12, we simply ask them to help share the load with Mam and Dad. I have explained to them that they need to start doing things for no other reason than they need to be done.

- Ken Hyland

shutterstock_455879746 Source: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

None yet – but I have big plans: At 9 months, Clíodhna is a little young for chores but with a Mammy who believes household tasks help develop life skills, there is definitely tidying, bed-making and table-setting in her future…

- Ríona Flood

Chores equal pocket money: In our house, chores are one of the criteria for receiving pocket money. My two girls (9 and 10) do things like dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the windows and folding their own clothes. There are days when they grumble and moan about it, but it’s good for kids to learn the basics about looking after themselves.

- Susannah O’Brien

She’s our top chef: My two year old loves to help around the house. We caught her one morning climbing onto the worktop trying to put bread into the toaster to make breakfast for everyone. Long may her helpful attitude continue.

- Denise Cumiskey

shutterstock_645825004 Source: Shutterstock/Am goods

If you want it done right, don’t ask the kids: It is so time consuming taking care of four very young children that it can be difficult to find time to supervise chores as well. Our eldest is given the responsibility of fetching items and entertaining the younger children – when I’m cooking, for example. We do plan to introduce chores on a more routine basis but for now, as the saying goes, “If you want a thing done right, do it yourself.”

- Ross Boxshall

Right now they just tidy up: My two year old son loves to ‘help out’ with hoovering, vacuuming and stirring porridge. Personally I would prefer if he didn’t! The only chore I really impose with my toddlers right now is to help me tidy up their toys. When they are a bit older I have every intention of us all sharing household tasks.

- Denise

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He’s the chief pet feeder: The main “chore” we have for our three-year-old son is feeding the family pets, a cat and a dog. We’ve explained to him that we have to look after our animals and it’s his responsibility to feed them. Without lecturing, we let him know that there are certain things that have to be done for all of us in the house, and we all share those tasks.

- Olly Keegan

shutterstock_635755742 Source: Shutterstock/Ulza

We’ll give him another year of freedom: Charlie is just starting to understand the meaning of ‘put’ so we’re a while away from chores! I’d imagine in a years time we’ll be trying to get him to start picking up after himself, putting away his toys and taking care of tidying his dirty clothes and dishes.

- Kait Quinn

Tidying up, sorting laundry, the list goes on: From an early age, tidying up was chore number one for our kids. At age two or three onwards, they wouldn’t get to watch TV unless they imploded the mess they had just exploded. Then we moved on on to things like making their own breakfast, hoovering, cleaning bathrooms, emptying the dishwasher, and sorting the laundry. To their credit, the kids get on with it and see real rewards at the end of it.

- Alan Dooley

He adores clearing the lint tray: My seven-year-old loves helping out. He prepares breakfast cereal in the morning and cleans up after too. For my four-year-old, I keep tasks simple. He loves putting clothes in the washing machine… and one of his most loved jobs is cleaning out the lint tray!

- Suzie Kelly

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