Cinderella Lives At My House


As I told you last week, we recently moved into our very own home. Both of my children are very happy here. I’m a single mom so I truly count on the help of my children in order to keep up with the house. This is a discussion we even had before I started hunting for a home. I told them both they would have more chores and they willingly agreed to pitch in.

 My son has taken on the extra responsibilities that come with a house with open arms. He rakes leaves, takes out the trash, sweeps the deck and helps in any way I ask. Shoot, I usually don’t even have to ask. Unfortunately my 12-year-old daughter hasn’t kept up her end of the deal. In fact, I can’t even motivate her to completely unpack or keep her room clean. She’s supposed to load and unload the dishwasher each day but even that is a fight. Based on her reaction, you would think that I just asked her to jump in a pit with venomous snakes when really I only asked her to sweep the kitchen or dust her room. Don’t get me wrong, A will help sometimes without complaining  – if it’s something she enjoys doing like making homemade ravioli with the family or watching her baby cousin. And J does complain from time to time, especially if it’s something he doesn’t like, but is usually willing to pitch in without much of a fight.

I do not give an allowance but I do pay for both of their cell phones monthly, in addition to providing a warm place to live, clothes and food.

 How do you get your children to pitch in around the house without a fight? Do you pay an allowance or offer some other type of incentive? What do you expect of your kids and at what age? I appreciate your advice.

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12 thoughts on “Cinderella Lives At My House

  1. I have wondered at what age you give chores and allowance, if even. I have two little kids and want to get them on the right path though my son (age 4) and daughter (age 6) sound exactly like your kids (especially my daughter!).

  2. I donot give an allowance either. My daughter has a cell phone that I pay for with all the bells and whistles. Her chores are supposed to be the dishes…to which I cave in and do frequently and also keeping her room clean. She does very well keeping her room clean and is still working on bringing the dirty laundry to the laundry room each week. I basically tell her the same thing, that these are her responsibilities and she needs to do them or her privledges will be taken away. It was a struggle at first, because her Dad gives her an allowance when she is at his house. Her Dad however doesn’t pay for her cell phone that costs $30 a month either. So that was a struggle at first, but she is old enough now that she knows that rules may not be exactly the same at each parents house. We both reward her in different ways and assign responsibility differently.

  3. My kids are frequently grounded from *everything* fun. Make the coming week’s cell phone, computer, TV and etc, hinge on the prior week’s chores and grades. If she only emptied the dishwasher twice last week, then she only gets her cell phone two days this week. Grab a dry erase board at the $ store and list what chores need to be done which days to remove any sort of “but I didn’t know or I forgot” sort of excuses. Then most importantly STICK TO IT. If you can talk Dad into a similar plan when they’re at his house, even better. Good luck!

  4. My children are 9 and 7. They are expected to tidy the communal living areas when asked, without complaining, and without compensation. When I can no longer tolerate the state of their bedrooms, I make a list of the individual steps (chores) to getting them clean on a large whiteboard between their rooms, along with how much each step is worth (anywhere from $0.25 to $0.75). When each step is completed I mark it off for them and pay them at the end of the day. They work hard for the little bit of money that they earn and understand that keeping a reasonably tidy home is just part of living in one with others. If arguments about tidying up arise, they loose screen-time privileges (computer and DVD).

  5. We expect our children, ages 6 & 7 to help around the house. They set the table, put away laundry, make their bed and are responsible for tidying up their rooms and the playroom weekly. In addition, they help with seasonal chores like raking (they LOVE this one), shoveling snow, then plating and watering in the warm months. They also like to help cook dinners. I do cook ahead days where we fill the freezer and they are sooo proud to eat meal they “cooked themselves.” We do give them allowance. I want them to learn to save up and budget a little. I’m not sure what jobs they could have at their ages. In A’s case – can you hold the phone hostage? That’s a big monthly bill to foot for her. You could also give her chores that have a natural consequence for her if they are not completed. If my two do not put away their laundry they have to scramble for underpants- Not me. If they do not set the table my husband and I will set only our own places and begin dinner without them. If I have to tidy up the playroom any toy I pick up gets put into storage for a week or two.

  6. Gina, you are living my life! We struggle too but like the other comments have a split arrangement. My daughter, A, is almost 12 and does help out quite a bit when she is in the mood. No allowance here, but she loves Starbucks and I do occasionally bribe her with that in exchange for extra chores. The other side waits on her hand and foot and the grandma takes care of everyone – including the grown dad still. So although I don’t quite receive the venomous snake response, periodically I get the whiny, unmotivated, poor me look which doesn’t fly. Hang in there. I love the chart idea- might give that a shot 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  7. We don’t give an allowance either…it’s part of being a family everyone pitches in their share. Phillip is almost 12..he has to collect the trash on Thursday nights, empty the dishwasher, feed his own pet, and put away his clean folded clothes, and help with whatever else he’s asked to do. Sometimes like A he acts like I asked him to scrub toilets when putting the forks away from the dishwasher. We take away things he enjoys for whining and complaining. He likes to watch movies and play video games so we’ll take those away for a couple days. That usually does the trick in my house.

  8. This is like a flashback for me : ) .Here are my ideas.Shut the bedroom door and no buddies in it until it’s unpacked and straight.At least with the door shut you don’t have to have to be reminded of the tornado.Park the cell phones at the door and pick them up when chores are done.Quick reminder to the kids_You are a team.That means everybody.Hugs and understanding<3 kathi

  9. My 4-yr-old daughter is responsible for putting her dirty clothes in front of the washer, helping feed the dogs, cats and fish, and keeping her toys picked up. My 10-yr-old son (who is only with us on weekends) puts his dirty clothes in front of the washer, folds and puts away his own laundry, keeps his room clean, and cleans up after the dogs if they have accidents on the weekends. They really don’t have much of a reward system. Good behavior earns outdoor time, TV time, or Xbox time (for my 10-yr-old). It’s a constant battle, I won’t lie, but most of the time they do it without too many complaints because they want their reward time.

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