Roman Children

When living in an Ancient Roman family, the father was in charge of the household and so the children would always listen to the father.


The Ancient Roman family was a patriarchal family which means that the children would be required to listen to the father.  Even the mother would listen to the father and the father would be able to decide whatever would happen in the home.


The father would even decide what the children would dress like.  If the children were disobedient, they could also be sent away from the family.  Fathers were permitted even to kill their children if they chose not to listen to the father.


The father would decide what kind of education the children in the home would have.  If the family were wealthy, the boy children would get a chance to either get a tutor or go to school in a schoolhouse.

The boys would learn how to write, read and to speak publicly.  Boys needed to learn to be good at public speaking because being a public speaker was one of the best jobs that a person could get.

Boys would also learn how to fight and to be warriors in case they ever had to go to war.

Girls were taught differently, and girls were only taught to read and write and then take on household chores.  It was expected that the girls would eventually grow up and take care of the homes and so this was important teaching for them.

Low-income families would have children educated at home or they would have no education whatsoever.

Slaves and moms and dads would sometimes teach their children to read or write because these families could not afford to hire a tutor or send their children to school.

Daily Life

When a child would wake up, they would have breakfast.  This would usually be bread, fruit or meat but it depended on how wealthy the family was.  If the family was poor, chances are the children would only have salted bread and porridge.

After breakfast, the mornings would be the time where the children would be educated.  They would either learn from their mother, father, a slave or a tutor.  If a family were wealthy, they would be sent off to tutors or they would be sent to the schoolhouse.  These schoolhouses were very small and strict.

Girls would stay home, and they would help their mother to do chores around the house.  The girls would learn how to be excellent cleaners and how to help take care of people in the house.

Play Time

During the afternoon and sometimes in the evening, children would play games with each other and they would play with toys.  Children had toys such as dolls, playhouses, pull toys, tops, balls and other toys and games that they could play.

Other fun that Ancient Roman children had were flying kites, rolling hoops, playing war games, riding hobbyhorses and making carts that they would race.


Sometimes, the children of Ancient Roman times would go outside, and they would play games.  Many of the boy children would play war games because most of the boys wanted to be warriors.  The boys would pretend to fight in a war with their wooden swords and wooden shields.

Children would also play hide-and-seek, blind man’s bluff and a variety of ball games.  Sometimes the children would hit the balls with a stick and many of them would pad their bodies to stay protected from the flying balls.


Children that were from lower-class families and those that were poor would sometimes have to go and help their fathers to do work.  Most of the time this was done on the farm.  Children would learn how to do the trades that their fathers did so that they could make money when they got older.

Food and Drink

Children would eat three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Depending on how rich or poor the families were, it would depend on what the children would get to eat.  If the family were wealthy, the children would get meat, fish, bread, vegetables and fruits.

The main meal was dinner, and this was a special meal for the wealthy, and they would sit around and eat and talk.

Rich Children

Children that were born in affluent families were treated differently than children in poor families.  Rich children would get a better education and have better food to eat.  The wealthy children would have better games to play and better toys.  They would also have nicer clothing.

Children born into wealthy families were tutored or went to school. They did not have to work in homes or farms.

Poor Children

Children that were from low-income families would have fewer things them wealthy children.  They would have less food to eat and food that was not tasty.  They would not have any education and they would only be able to learn if their mother or father took the time to teach them.

The children had to work in the same trade as their father. They worked hard and to played less.


Most Roman children wore clothes such as tunics that were above the knee.  The children would wear a cloak over these tunics when it was cold.

If the children were rich, they would wear purple togas.  The girls would wear a tunic and a belt tied around the waist.

Most children, both boys and girls, would wear jewelry or charms around their necks.  This was given to the child when they were born, and the girls would give these away when it was time for them to be married.

Facts About Roman Children:

  • Boys had more freedom than girls.
  • Boys were more educated than the girls were.
  • Children that were from wealthier families would be educated at home or would be taught by tutors or in the schoolhouse.
  • Poor children would work in and outside of the home so they could learn a trade for the future.
  • Children that were poor did not get to play as much as the rich children.

What Did You Learn?

  1. Who was in charge of the children of Ancient Rome? The fathers were in charge of the children in Ancient Rome.
  2. What would happen if the children did not listen to their father? They could be kicked out, beaten or even killed.
  3. Did children in Ancient Rome live normal lives?   Children in Ancient Rome lived lives like we live today, playing games, working and learning.
  4. What kind of work did children of poor families do? Children of poor families would work on the farm or do whatever work their father did.
  5. Did rich children work? No. Mostly, rich children would learn and play and were not forced to work.