Rules for Giving Children Chores

Make a Chores List
No family should be without a chores list, Rabbi Shmuley says. If parents are just establishing responsibilities, they may want to pick out age-appropriate tasks for each child. As months go on and kids get into the groove of their responsibilities, they can pick new chores or shift chores with their siblings, he says. "The chores list has to be posted where everyone can see it—the kitchen is where we keep ours."

Some household duties should be required of all children, including cleaning up after dinner and keeping their rooms clean.

Give Financial Rewards for Chores
When his children are saving up to buy something, Rabbi Shmuley often will give them a special job to do around the house to earn extra money. For example, Rabbi Shmuley asked his older children to help their little brother read. Instead of paying a tutor, Rabbi Shmuley paid his older children and taught them the importance of helping out their brother.

Motivate Your Child to Help Out
Rabbi Shmuley encourages parents to have conversations with their children about the importance of chores. "I am a big believer in having an inspirational conversation with your kid about what kind of person he wants to be," he says. "Do they want to be a lazy person or a helpful person?" Rabbi Shmuley says it's important to reward your child when she's done her chores well.

Know Your Child's Limits
Don't give your children so much housework that they're overburdened and begin to resent it, Rabbi Shmuley says. "Remember that kids today already bring home a ton of homework, and that has to come first," he says. He recommends 30 minutes of chores a day, but it depends on what the child's other responsibilities are.

During the weekend, Rabbi Shmuley says children should be expected to help get the house in order for the upcoming week.

Set Up Consequences
When chores don't get done, it's important that children realize the consequences. For example, if your child doesn't clean his bedroom, everything on the floor must be considered garbage. "It sounds harsh, but don't be afraid to go into their room and put everything that's on the floor into garbage bags," he says. Let your child get his things from the garbage twice, but the third time it happens, the items have to stay in the garbage. "You'll lose $100 worth of things, but in the long run, it will be the best investment you ever make," Rabbi Shmuley says. "They'll never leave their room a mess again."

Hire Outside Help
If you can afford it, try to get a cleaning person once or twice a week, Rabbi Shmuley says. A cleaning person can help with bigger tasks like cleaning the kitchen floors and scrubbing down the bathroom. "The only rule is that a cleaning person, if you are lucky enough to have one, should never clean up after the kids," he says. "Making their beds and picking up their rooms always has to be the kids' responsibility."

Teach Your Child Responsibility and Values
Whether it's helping with the laundry, doing the dishes or walking the dog, chores teach children to give back, Rabbi Shmuley says. "It teaches them responsibility and how to overcome laziness," he says. "Almost every chore a child does teaches them that they're part of a household and they have to contribute."

Rabbi Shmuley shares his recommendations for chores for every age.