It’s one of the eternal struggles as a parent…How do I get my kids to do their chores….willingly?!
Without complaining, grumbling, or procrastinating??
Despite our best intentions as parents, sometimes kids don’t want to do chores without putting up a – LOT – of resistance.
Kids are just like everyone else – they know they are important parts of the family, and they know there are household tasks that need to get done.
Power struggles are bound to happen whenever parents are trying to implement household standards.
If only our little beautiful ones would come installed with the knowledge and know-how to follow through and get difficult tasks done! 🙂
Doing Family Chores Builds Good Work Ethic
Just like every other life lesson, they must learn that being a good family member means pulling their weight in the home.
I know that making sure your kids have a good work ethic and that they learn important life skills matters to you…or you wouldn’t be reading his post!
Family chores can be a huge sticking point for any mom or dad.
DO NOT feel bad if getting your kids to do chores seems difficult or impossible to accomplish.
Everyone struggles with this at some point, and it’s part of this parenting gig!
Keep at it because it’s all worth it – kids learn valuable lessons about work ethic from having to do chores around the house.
4 Simple Tips to Get Kids to Do Chores Willingly (with a good attitude)
Let me share with you a few of the things that have brought me success over the years.
1) Know your child’s temperament & interests
Before you assign chores for your little one, take a few minutes to think of your kids’ personality.
- Do they love to organize? They can complete chores that play to those strengths. Don’t give your clutter bug the job of organizing underneath the kitchen sink! I have one kid who HATES anything related to organizing (or paying attention for longer than 15 minutes), while I have another (my 11-year-old daughter) who chooses a new room to organize each week. On her own without me asking! This is the kind of household work I always assign her because she actually enjoys it. My son, who doesn’t like to organize, doesn’t need to “practice” organizing. Surely he will not grow up never knowing how to organize. LOL Maybe he will always be kind of messy…and that’s okay. We are raising FUNCTIONAL ADULTS, not perfect people. If that is your standard, then no chore assignment strategy will work because it’s doomed to not be “perfectly executed.
- Does your child have a gift for growing plants? Add weekly plant watering to their ongoing chore list. I am a huge fan of giving each child their “own chores” that are always theirs no matter what. In fact, this is another key to making a good chore system work. Less confusion over who is responsible for what is always a good idea.
- Does your oldest child or teenager absolutely hate doing dishes? Get the entire family to agree that this kid never has to do dishes BUT is ALWAYS responsible for getting clothes switched from the washing machine to the dryer.
If your kids are all older (let’s say, all teenagers), then one idea could be to have a family meeting where they trade off standard daily chores according to their interests, level of free time based on weekly sports schedules.
Some kids like doing larger once a week chores like mopping the kitchen floor whereas other kids prefer to do all the simple tasks on a daily basis throughout the week.
Anything you can do to get the older children on board with assigning their own chores will help you come up with a breakdown of responsibilities that work best for them.
For instance, I know my nephew (at 9) has a low tolerance for boredom.
My sister gives him tasks that make him feel useful, and he can see the results both immediately and over time.
Right now his main jobs are feeding the dog, watering the plants, putting away dishes, taking out trash, gathering & folding laundry and picking up toys in the common areas.
Tasks like that can be fun and don’t take too long to accomplish.
She tried having him be in charge of sweeping the floors, but was met with resistance each and every time this chore had to be done.
It was a battle that wasn’t worth having for his age. He will get to the bigger & more mundane tasks when he’s older, but the more important lesson at the time was to get him on board with doing chores and having a set of responsibilities.
In all my years as a mom, I have learned one thing – your kids will let you know somehow if they can’t stand a chore!
Look for dragging feet, a bad attitude, and having to nag them just to get them started.
Keep this in mind – assigning chores each child in your family somewhat enjoys & plays to their strengths won’t feel like such a burden on YOU as the parent.
Finding a balance is always a good idea in any area of life, up to and including what chores each person in the home is required to do.
TIP: If your child likes to feel in control, it might be a good idea to let him or her help you fill out a chore chart.
Some kids do really well when they feel like they have a say in what they do. I know I always used to feel that way!
2) Keep the chores age appropriate
Having age-appropriate chores is the best way to get them on board with their job. Not only for safety reasons, but also the jobs can get finished correctly and it will set them up for success.
It’s probably a bad idea to ask a 6-year-old to put away dishes unless you are ok with those dishes getting broken and them needing a lot of help because they can’t reach the kitchen cabinets.
But at age 6, they can definitely learn how to scrub a sink with soap and water, pull weeds in the garden and clean their room.
A teenager can mow the lawn, fully do laundry, vacuum, etc…pretty much anything that you can do as an adult!
Keep in mind that teenagers aren’t as much motivated by a sense of accomplishment when it comes to a household daily routine…..in my experience they are motivated by a reward system.
Even if that reward is “you won’t bother them about doing chores as long as they get done.”
A reward doesn’t have to be tangible…it doesn’t have to be screen time (although you COULD tie video games or screen time to chore completion if you want).
3) Teach them the method first and then give praise
Little kids love praise. So so soooo much they love praise.
You don’t have to act like a nut job and gush on and on every time young kids do as they’re told….but giving encouragement for being responsible for small tasks at an early age goes a long way toward building their confidence as a productive part of the family.
And what a great way to let them see how proud you are of something they did all on their own!
Not only are you teaching them to like chores, but you’re also growing their appreciation for a job well done.
Positive reinforcement is a good way to get younger children to understand the benefits of chores at a young age.
Kids need to be shown how to do things correctly. Think of the way you learn to do anything. Was it easier to learn by example or to just wing it and hope it went well?
Especially if the thing you learned was from your parents. Do you tend to do it their way or is it your own. I know I don’t peel vegetables the same way my mom does, but I do hang shirts in the closet the same way my father does.
Why? Because after being taught, one made sense and the other didn’t but I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t been shown how in the first place.
4) Give them a check off list or chore chart to follow
This is one of the reasons I love chore charts so much. It’s a great way to establish a habit. They don’t even have to think about the plan.
In our home, we do NOT pay for chores.
Our children do chores because they live here. They do extra chores when more work needs to be done. I tell them how proud I am of their level of responsibility, and they know I mean it.
Grab my free printable kids chore chart here:
There’s something so nice and easy about a print off list that you can physically check off the boxes on.
And it’s convenient to have something you can customize for each child in your family.
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