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How I Get My 9 And 6-Year-Old Kids To Do Their Chores

flickr / Suzette -

The following was syndicated from Quora for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

Do parents doing their kids’ laundry, keeping their room clean, etc., result in tidy people when the kids live on their own?

Yes, it does!

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Provided you stop doing that as soon as they’re able to do it themselves, which is around 5 years old. If you keep on doing what they can do themselves, they become lazy and entitled brats who expect others to go out of their way to cater to their needs.

I believe a key aspect of parenting is to turn dependent infants into independent adults, which entails involvement in all aspects of keeping house.

My children are 9 and 6 and they have to participate in the household to the best of their abilities. Of course that doesn’t mean they have to do everything by themselves, but I make it a game to sort the dirty laundry and load the machine, to carry the clean and dried laundry into the bedroom, to sort out their own clothes and fold them and put them away in their drawers. To clear the table after each meal, to stack the plates and bowls and cutlery next to the sink, and clean the tabletop. To strip their beds and help me with making them with fresh covers, to clear the floors in their rooms so I can vacuum, and to store their toys back into the storage spaces.

That means it takes me longer to clean house, because I have to guide them to do a proper job, which takes a lot longer than doing it by myself. But it’s like teaching them how to tie their shoelaces — if you don’t take the time to teach them, you’ll be tying their laces way beyond the age they should be able to do it themselves.

I believe a key aspect of parenting is to turn dependent infants into independent adults.

I left home at 17, but I practically raised myself from age 8. And I noticed on campus how many, many children my age were unable to keep house, to do their own laundry, cook their own meals, because they had parents who didn’t make them participate in the household.

There is a time to spoil children. That time is from birth until they are 6 months. After that, the spoiling should stop and children should learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Not doing that will mean you’re actually doing your children a disservice.

Martyn V. Halm is a fiction writer and professional confabulator. You can read more from Quora below: