Kids doing chores – when should parents step back?

When children are young we are keen to help them develop their independence. We celebrate each milestone with pictures and journals. Once they get older we can fall into a pattern of running around after our kids when really there are many things they can do for themselves.

There has been an interesting generational change on the social expectations of our children. High profile cases in the 90s, increased car use and the rise of social media has led to many parents being fearful of the world out there. And yet as children they were probably out and about at an earlier age than their children are now.

For parents there is something great about being needed by your children. By them still relying on you – and it may be a much quicker way of getting them out of the door when you are in a rush in a morning! But don’t forget to reflect every now and then. What CAN your children do?

Children form comfortable habits as much as adults and they Will find it easier for you to run around for them than do it themselves. But we do know that successful and resilient adults are those who haven’t had everything done for them. Who have learnt to contribute to their family. Who look for what needs to be done and takes on their share of the responsibility. That is why chores at home do not need to be paid for. They are something that every member of a family needs to do. They are a contribution.

By celebrating their independence at each stage and giving them the space to do chores (and the expectation from you -very few choose chores!) you are helping them with a ‘can do’ attitude. You are teaching them skills for their adult lives and a positive work ethic. By spending time around the family doing chores and having conversations you are providing protective factors for the world out there, either online or in reality!

To look further at the research on how chores help the development of independence skills join us at the Modern Parenting Must Haves seminar in September. Contact for more information and to book.


This week has all been about teenagers. How difficult it can be to spend time with them when all they seem to want to do is be without us. We can get caught up in our own concerns of what they should and might become that we struggle to see the wonderful young people that they have become. We can find our selves in regular negative interactions about homework, exams, friends etc. ** STOP** stand back for a moment. Try and find 10 minutes a day to be with your teen with no agenda and no questions! You may have to watch or even play a computer game! Your presence will allow your teen to remember how good it can be to have you around. Make appointments to discuss your concerns so they don’t feel like they have to avoid you. They may have the same concerns but don’t feel that they will be listened to or that they will be bombarded with advice. Just listen. Give gentle advice when asked. They need to be able to come to you. You need to provide them the opportunity to be close to you. Your teens need you. Honest!!