Just because you can (give more chores) doesn't mean you should

As your household becomes more involved in doing chores, you as a parent, might find yourself tempted to “extend” those responsibilities. While there’s no reason not to gradually assign more chores for your child, you’ll want to avoid the temptation have your kids, well, do all of the chores (because honestly, it would be great recline on a couch with a Mojito while reading “Oliver” for an entire weekend).

You won’t find any actual legal document containing various child labor laws in the United States or Australia or Bermuda (or wherever it is you might be located), because we don’t know anything about Child Labor Laws. What we do know is that it’s probably bad, if not morally reprehensible, to force a 5 year old to build a patio or haul 150lbs of rocks to your “meditation garden”. If you want actual legal insight into child labor laws, go to LegalZoom or your local senator or Google or something, we don’t know. But if you want sarcastic and completely useless advice on how your 7 year old might not be able to handle that power sander, then you’re in the right place.

As a parent it’s easy to become drunk with power as you see your kids want to do more and more chores around the house*. Clearly your desire as a parent (or grandparent or guardian or captor) is to have your kids help around the house and eventually build a self-motivated work ethic. But to jump from having your child make the bed to powerwashing the fence might not be the best way to achieve this goal (especially if you sit in a lawn chair drinking a beer as you tell them to put their back into it). As your kids complete their chore list you might think, “Well, the basement walls are full of holes, smudges, scrapes, dings and that one discoloration that we will not mention; maybe little Henry could get some spackling and patch that baby up?” And we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. But don’t do it. Trust us. Even if it seems plausible, like “It’s just painting a wall”, kids and paint can sometimes create more problems than solutions. In an effort to be mildly helpful, here’s a short list of things to avoid when implementing a chore schedule for your children:

  1. Orange jumpsuits
  2. Shovelling ditches
  3. Referring to your child as a number (“No. 714564, Clean Up The Plates”)
  4. Anything involving paint
  5. Calling bedtime “Lockdown”
  6. Electric power tools
  7. Using doors that lock from the outside
  8. Areas that could potentially allow for a sibling to be shoved into a small space
  9. Hammers
  10. Unnecessarily sharp objects

*We cannot claim that every child will ask for more chores, but it certainly does happen more than you’d think.


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