How I Got My Kids to Do Chores & Stick to Them!
Updated: Apr 9
I struggled with keeping my house clean for the longest time. I couldn't seem to get my kids to chip in and do chores, so everything was on me. I didn't feel like arguing with them, so I just let them get away with it.
I got really sick of being embarrassed when guests showed up unannounced and the house looked like a literal pig pen. I learned that you CAN get your kids to do chores, it's just how you go about it.
Start by Making It Fun
If I've learned anything, my kids respond well to positivity. When I am being angry or negative, they tend to "rebel." When I am calm and take a positive approach to things, everyone wins. These are kids we are dealing with. Think about it, they aren't born understanding the value of hard work. We have to teach them. Getting the kids to do chores and be responsible for certain tasks teaches them great responsibility as they grow. They will appreciate it as they become adults and know how to be clean people instead of slobs!
I knew if I could make chores fun, we would be off to a great start. I made several games out of chores. There are literally TONS you can find online. I created my own before realizing there were so many amazing ideas online.
I did 2 "games" and would alternate which game we would do each day.
We each drew a room out of a jar of pieces of paper each labeled with a room in our home. Example: living room, bathroom, kitchen, office, etc. Each child plus myself draws a piece of paper and become assigned to that room. I would start a 10-minute timer and it's a race to get everything done in that room. It helps to have a "list" of to-do items for each room so the kids know what to do. It's only 10 minutes of your day! You can do it a few times and still you're not even burning an hour.
Another example would be having a jar of chores. You can use popsicle sticks or rectangle pieces of paper each labeled with a task. Example: load dishwasher, vacuum living room, wipe bathroom counters down, etc. The kids take turns drawing a chore and completing it. Some of the pieces of paper can have some fun items on it, the kids get excited to hopefully draw one of those. Like, take the dog for a walk (if appropriate), 15 minutes of your favorite TV show, 10 minute coloring break, etc. Be creative!
I usually allocate an hour for this game. It works well if I'm working or busy. I just keep the jar next to me wherever I am and they keep coming back to draw more chores or fun items!
Again, there are so many chore games online so you can get inspired or create your own!
Make it Routine
After making it fun for a while, they started realizing cleaning and doing chores isn't so bad after all. I began giving them each a daily routine. Now that they know how to do the chores, I've taught them that these routines are important to help keep our household running smoothly. We are each responsible for something and it's important to each pull our weight. It's good to give them some responsibility!
I made it clear that this routine has to be done before they can do anything else like watching TV, playing outside, etc. My kids now rush to start their chores without me having to tell them, and they consider it just part of their routine when they get home from school. In the summertime, they do them when they wake up. I do change it up each week. Every Sunday I take a few minutes to make out their lists for each day and post it up on the fridge. They mark things off as they go. This is where you might want to do some type of chart. I haven't gone as far as making a chart, but I know a lot of craft moms out there who do! Remember, when you're doing all of this, YOU have to stick to it! I know we can get busy and it can be easy to not check that they did their chores. You have to make sure you stay on top of them so they know you mean business, or it will never "stick." If you can stick it out even if you hate being a nag, they will begin to make it part of their life and habits. They will understand how to get work done!
After a while, my kids knew that they better just get it done and no arguing. They know the sooner they get their list done, the sooner they can get to doing what they want to do. They know I'm not going to budge or cut them slack. The first week might be challenging to keep reminding them to make sure they've finished their list each day, but make sure you do.
Help Them & Use Positive Encouragement
Like I mentioned in step one, teach them and work WITH them. Explain the chores so they know what your expectations are. Help them through each one so they see the proper way to do it. Plus, seeing you work at the same thing you're asking them to do, is good for them to understand that you're not afraid of hard work either. Use positive encouragement and give high fives when they complete their jobs. Kids want to impress their parents, so let them know we're watching and notice their hard work!
Come up with a reward system. This doesn't have to be extravagant, because chores are a part of life and kids should know that. However, a reward can be motivating. Whether it's an allowance at the end of the week or something else. I personally use a coupon system. At the end of the week, they can pick a coupon out of the reward jar as long as their lists were completed each day for the week. Examples include: Movie Night, Trip to the Arcade, 1 Day Off Chores, Ice Cream Date, You Pick Dinner, etc. Be creative and have fun!
Set Ground Rules Upfront
There is to be no slacking on chores. Set ground rules from the beginning and make sure they understand them. No slacking for you either, hold them accountable! If you can get through the first few weeks eventually it will just be part of their routine and you won't have to put as much effort into it. They will understand this is part of their life and must be done to pull their weight!
Examples of my ground rules:
1. If the chore isn't done right, you will have to start over and who knows maybe mom has something else she can add to your chore list while she's at it? So, no rushing through the chores, take your time and make sure it's done right
2. If you don't finish the chores, you don't get to go about your day! Priorities. (Stick to your guns here. Also keep in mind, if you threaten with"if you don't finish the chores than you don't get a reward," you might be faced with carelessness. I tried this and eventually my kids were saying"well, I just won't get a reward this week, no big deal.")
If you can get your kids to pull their weight, your entire household will run so much more smoothly! Start getting creative!
-Blissful Blue Jays
*This isn't considered advice of any kind. I am not a professional and this is just my personal experience. By using this website you agree to the disclaimer.
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