Who really likes doing chores? Most of us dread having to do all the different jobs around the house that are needed to maintain a clean and orderly home. For us parents, we understand why we need to do tWho really likes doing household chores? Most of us dread having to do all the different jobs around the house that are needed to maintain a clean and orderly home. For us parents, we understand why we need to do the chores – to keep a tidy and uncluttered home, ensure the house is as germ-free as possible and to make it presentable for play dates and get-togethers. When it comes to our kids though, these things just aren’t high on their list of priorities. Gosh, at the end of the day. I’ve been known to even let my house get into disarray until the next scheduled playdate at my house! So, how do we motivate kids to do chores when it can even be hard to be motivated ourselves?
Helping around the house is incredibly important for the whole family. Kids especially can learn some iHelping around the house and doing chores is incredibly important for the whole family. Kids especially can learn some important life skills that they’ll take with them into adulthood like – responsibility, the value of hard work, time management, how to look after themselves and how to work as part of a team. They can also learn a sense of accomplishment and feel a great sense of capability.
Here are our favorite tips for encouraging your little family members to do chores without nagging or a power struggles:
Change the name.
The word ‘chores’ is just unappealing, right? I’ve never once called them that at my house and it really seems to help. We can have clear expectations of helping out around the house without using an unappealing name. You could call it daily tasks or just have things your kids are expected to do as part of their normal routine. Or even, let’s change it into helping out the family. Kids love to feel included and like their help is welcomed and needed.
Pick manageable and age-appropriate tasks.
Start with helping out early on with age-appropriate tasks and lean into a toddler’s natural desire to want to help. If you start at this age they’ll get used to helping when helping still feels more like fun. Start with helping out early on with age-appropriate tasks and lean into a young kids natural desire to want to help. If you start at this age they’ll get used to helping when helping still feels more like fun than a chore and it’ll become second nature. We started at 2 years of age when my kids showed how much they loved sweeping and emptying the dishwasher. When your toddler shows an interest, embrace it!! Then as they get older they are more used to these regular chores that they do at home.
Become a team of Super Cleaners.
By nature of being part of a family, you participate in activities and help out around the house. This means as much as possible refrain from thanking them for helping around the house as that can teach them that they should do things only to please you. One of our best tips is to let them know how their help benefits the family as a unit.
Don’t pay them for their completed tasks.
Children shouldn’t receive an allowance for doing their chores. Allowances are for learning the value of money – to spend or save depending on their needs and wants. This means not making the money you give them contingent on completion of their chore list or paying per job that they do. This doesn’t provide them with internChildren shouldn’t receive any amount of money for doing their chores. Allowances are for learning the value of money – to spend or save depending on their needs and wants. This means not making the money you give them contingent on completion of their chore list or paying per job that they do. This doesn’t provide them with intrinsic motivation to help out; which is incredibly important if you want them to continue to actively help out. Instead paying for chores from an early age motivates them to only help for monetary gain.
This also means not using a reward system as well. The reward is a job well done. We want kids to be motivated to help because your family is a team and team members help each other. Paying for chores or rewards can also make kids feel like they always require pay off for good behavior, which can lead to questions like “What will I get if I do this?”
Ensure tasks are allocated based on age or capabilities only.
It is important to not stereotype our kids when we give them jobs – no girls doing laundry and boys raking leaves. Instead, give them tasks based on their age and individual capabilities. Older kids will likely do bigger, more complex tasks, where as younger kids may do simple tasks or get help during the process. There is no reason why a boy can’t do things that used to be considered women’s work and girls do jobs that used to be mainly given to boys.
If you’d like to allocate something that is a little on the tricky side, you can spend time helping them lIf you’d like to allocate something that is a little on the tricky side, you can spend time helping them learn how to do it. This will help them gain the confidence to take over the task themselves. Working together as a family is also a wonderful way of getting household tasks done.
You can also mix up the chores a family member does each week. Doing the same specific chores week after week can get a little bit boring, for all of us. One week one child could clean the bathroom and next time the other child does it. This especially works for popular tasks everyone wants to do and gives children the chance to learn new things, new valuable life skills.
Check out this graphic for ideas on age appropriate chores:
Chores can be fun!
There is no reason why household tasks can’t be fun. We just need to look at it from a different perspective. Kids will be much more motivated if they can see an element of fun in every task. There aThere is no reason why household tasks can’t be fun. We just need to look at it from a different perspective. Kids will be much more motivated if they can see an element of fun in every task. There are so many ways you can do this – sing songs, pick up things starting with A, then B and so on, or pick things of a certain color. The key is to clue into what your kids enjoy.
Break them into small tasks that lead to the bigger whole.
Kids can get quite overwhelmed when you tell them to do big things like clean the living room or their bedroom – especially when they are a big mess. This sense of overwhelm can paralyze them and can make it seem like they are refusing when they just don’t know where to start.
If you break up the cleaning request into small, manageable task it will help them stay focused and motivate kids to do chores. You can ask them to start with their Lego blocks and then move on to their books and so on.
Consider logical natural consequences.
If after using the above tips you still get push back on chores, the best way to handle it is to provide natural and logical consequences. If they don’t clean up the living room within their allocated time limit then perhaps they won’t have time for that trip to the mall or their video games session they’d planned that day. If they don’t clean up their bedroom perhaps they will have only dirty clothes to wear out the next day. It is important to make sure that the negative consequences match the crime or they won’t learn from it.
Helping out around the house and doing ‘chores’ is such a wonderful way of teaching kids the value of contributing to family life. With the tips in this article we hope that you can motivate kids to do chores with pleasure instead of grumping and refusals.