How to Divide the Chores When There Is a Stay-at-Home Spouse

by Kathryn Hatter
Even with a stay-at-home spouse, the whole family should work together.

Even with a stay-at-home spouse, the whole family should work together.

A family who pulls together to get housework and other chores done often has a closer connection and camaraderie. In fact, children who pitch in and help with housework often feel more self-worth and important in the schematic of the family, states Sheila Gains with the Colorado State University Extension. Even if one parent stays at home, it’s still important to divide up chores to get the whole family involved in the work.

Hold a family meeting to discuss the needs of the household and the division of the labor. With one parent in a stay-at-home position, it’s likely that this parent will take on more of the parental responsibilities than the parent who works outside the home, advises the Family Education website.

Hold a family meeting to discuss daily schedules and responsibilities of each family member to determine who will accept responsibility for household chores. For example, the parent who stays at home might take on meal planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation as well as laundry detail and daily clutter control. The parent who holds a job outside the home might take on after-dinner cleanup and weekend cleaning chores. Any teens in the house might be responsible for yard work, shoveling snow and cleaning bathrooms. Younger children might help sort and fold laundry, vacuum and feed pets.

Make a chore chart to keep track of each family member’s household chores once you figure them out. You might agree to try the new system out for one week to make sure the schedule works for everyone. Post the chore chart in a central location so everyone can refer to it as necessary, recommends Gains.

Reassess the system after one week to ensure everyone feels satisfied with the workload. If any family member feels overwhelmed with too many responsibilities, discuss the situation and make adjustments.


  • Approach the division of labor and assignment of chores with a positive attitude to teach children that chores don’t have to be unpleasant. If any family members refuse to work as a team to accomplish household chores, apply a logical consequence, suggests Mary Schroeder, extension educator with the University of Minnesota Extension. Tell an uncooperative family member that if he won’t pitch in to help the family, he will not receive blessings and services such as rides to activities, computer time and having friends visit.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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