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How to Delegate Chores and Actually Get Your Kids to Do Them

Getting kids to help around the house can prove to be a Herculean task. More often than not, attempts to get children to participate in household chores are met with some form of resistance. Children today are spending less time doing household chores than ever before.

Although there is a common misconception that young children cannot participate in domestic chores, evidence suggests that children assigned chores from as early as age 3 become more self-reliant and independent, are they are also more responsible. According to Rossman, a professor at the University of Mississippi, including kids in chores is worth the effort: starting chores early is among the greatest predictors of success as an adult.

Encouraging children to participate in regular, reasonable and age-appropriate chores has been associated with social, emotional and academic benefits. Chores teach kids important skills such as responsibility, self-reliance and accountability.

In her book “How to Raise an Adult”, Julie Lythcott-Haims argues that by letting your kids skip household chores, you prevent them from developing important skills they will need later on in life. The Harvard Medical School psychologist Richard Bromfielf shares the same view: by neglecting to involve your children in household chores, you may be doing them a great disservice.



How do you get your kids to participate in household chores?

1 | Be specific

If you’re like most parents, you know you want your kids to participate in household chores but you don’t know exactly what you would like them to do.

According to Richard Bromfield, psychologist and author of the book “How to Unspoil Your Child Fast”, it is important to clearly define exactly what you would like your kids to do, and what you want to achieve by assigning them chores. Focus on your objectives:

  • Are there specific skills you would like your children to develop? Which chores can help you accomplish this?
  • Do you want them to participate in chores that are meaningful for the whole family or only those that directly concern them (like making their beds or cleaning their rooms)?

2 | Be firm and consistent

Most kids will resist household chores once they get past the age when “helping set the table” is fun!

It is important to clearly explain to your child that participating in household chores is not an option. Make it clear that “everyone who lives here has to participate in chores”.

Identify your non-negotiables, then be consistent. If you expect your child to set the table, be specific – how often? Every day? One meal or all meal times? Once you’re decided, be consistent. Fight the urge to do things yourself to save “time and energy”.

3 | Negotiate

Families in which negotiation is common enjoy better parent-child relationships, and kids raised in these families are more likely to cooperate. Take the time to listen to your kids. Be flexible. Tell your kids the household chores that need to be done then ask for their input: How can the chores be distributed in a fair way?

Let them decide who does what and when. You can also ask them to come up with a chore wheel that ensures the fair distribution of chores. When kids feel involved in making decisions that concern them, they are more likely to stick to those decisions.

4 | Choose age-appropriate chores

Many benefits are associated with assigning children household chores, but only if those chores are age-appropriate. Even children younger than age three can participate in simple tasks such as picking up toys.

It is generally accepted that children should have more benefits as they grow older; they should also have more chores. Try associating each new benefit with additional chores when they reach important milestones (for example on birthdays or at the start of a new school year).

Below are a few ideas about some of the things kids can do:

Below age 3

Pick up toysDust surfacesThrow their diapers in the trash can

Water flowers

Pick up their books

Age 3 to 4

All previous choresPut away toysPut their dirty laundry in the laundry basket

Help set and clear the table with help

Help clean small surfaces with a wet cloth

Wash hands by themselves

Help put away groceries

Fold their clothes with supervision

Choose their outfit and get dressed

4 to 5 year olds

All previous choresMake their beds with minimal helpHelp in the kitchen with supervision

Take care of a pet (feeding)

Hang up towel after shower

6 to 7 year olds

All previous choresMake bed without supervisionAnswer the phone

Put away their laundry

Wipe floor with mop

Put away cleaned dishes

Fold their clothes by themselves

8 to 9 year olds

All previous choresClean bedroomEmpty trash

Rake leaves

Prepare easy meals

9 to 12 year olds

All previous choresChange their sheetsWash dishes

Do homework by themselves

Vacuum and mop

Mow lawn

5 | Show them how

Don’t assume that your kids will automatically know how to perform household chores. Be clear about what you expect your child to do. If you expect him to dust the furniture, take the time to show him exactly how you want him to do it. If he doesn’t do what is expected, focus on the future: “next time I’d like you to …)

6 | Be clear on the consequences

Now that you have your chores set out, what happens if your kids don’t follow through or if they do a mediocre job? Once again, negotiation can come in handy and make it more likely for your kids to cooperate. Ask them to come up with the consequences of a poorly done job: Should some privileges be taken away? Should they repeat the chore?

What household chores do your kids participate in? Let us know in the comments below


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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like the heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends, which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent.

Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, it's more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby—in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued. Crisis averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it all through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

The fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so that there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas


Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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