Allocating Chores and Responsibilities for Blended Families
In many households, it can be quite a challenge figuring out who’s in charge of which chores and which responsibilities. This is especially true for blended families.
If not handled properly, favoritism (or perceived favoritism) can rear its ugly
head in the chore realm. And the last thing parents want to hear from their kids
is that their new siblings are getting “special treatment” while they do all the
To avoid the Cinderella syndrome that often accompanies the process of assigning
chores and responsibilities for blended families, it helps to keep a few basics
in mind –basics about chores and basics about your kids.
Kids Like Chores
Believe it or not, deep down (sometimes very deep down), kids like chores.
“Yeah, right,” you might be thinking, “not our kids!” But the fact remains: kids
have an inherent interest in contributing to others and helping out.
Think about it. As toddlers, children think chores are an exciting adventure.
The vacuum is awe-inspiring, dishwashing is as thrilling as a bath, and the
washing machine is a great appliance they can hardly wait to discover.
Unfortunately, parents often squelch this natural affinity toward chores. When
it comes to chores, the two main messages many moms (and dads) send their kids
1. “Chores are not fun.”
2. “The household does not need your help.”
No wonder kids start disliking chores and responsibilities!
For blended families, the negative effects of such chore messages can be
especially damaging. You certainly do not want your new son or daughter feeling
that their new home does not need them!
It’s crucial to create an environment in which your children–all of them–feel
needed, wanted, and appreciated. A child who believes their household needs them
knows that they belong–knows that they are accepted.
Figuring Out Chores and Responsibilities for Blended Families
Most children today think the best way they can help out around the house is by
getting out of the way. As I discuss on page 86 of my book When You’re About To
Go Off The Deep End, Don’t Take Your Kids With You, the “Go and play” attitude
does not establish that vital sense of family connectedness nor does it
establish the sense of contribution that is essential to your child’s future
To create this sense of belonging, include your children in household chores and
responsibilities. For blended families, this can require additional time, effort
and patience as you reallocate certain household tasks, but the investment is
well worth it.
The next time you want to snatch the vacuum cleaner from your son because he’s
not doing it right or take over on dishwashing because your daughter has chipped
yet another glass, think twice.
Remember that your children gain a great sense of accomplishment in helping out
around the house. Encourage them for a job well done. Especially encourage them
when the job isn’t done to perfection by pointing out what they did right and
gently telling them how they can improve.
Kelly Nault is the award-winning author of the book, “When You’re About To Go Off The Deep End, Don’t Take Your Kids With You.” Kelly loves kids! This is why she motivates moms to put themselves first–so they have more to give their children. She is the founder of Ultimate Parent, a company that provides parenting resources such as the “Mommy Moments” free online parenting course.