This paper combines quantitative and qualitative analysis to develop a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of childrens work, in particular, the role of the household in determining work roles. Using a cohort study of children from Ethiopia, we examine the intra-household distribution of labour and make comparisons between households. Combining findings from these different perspectives reveals that work is fundamental to childrens lives and the functioning of their households, and is a source of pride, except when arduous or when not conforming to gender norms, which are quite pronounced girls tend to work more in the household and boys in farming activities. The nature and amount of work done by children is affected less by levels of household poverty than by shocks and adverse events, such as illness and death in the family with girls being more affected by illness and the absence of mothers. Boys work more when households have more livestock.