How To Get Your Kids To Do Their Chores

Written by on June 8, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page

How To Get Your Kids To Do Their Chores

How To Get Your Kids To Do Their Chores

When you talk with a group of parents you’ll get a variety of opinions on how to get your kids to do their chores, and a lot of parents won’t even be able to agree on whether or not children should have chores.

But here’s how I look at it: You’re an adult and you have to do ‘chores’, things you don’t necessarily want to do but they’re necessary – laundry, housework, mowing the lawn, and then all the ‘chores’ you have to do at work.

Someday your child will be a mature adult with similar ‘chores’ , right? And it’s your responsibility to raise your child up to be a mature adult, right? Therefore, one of the best things you can do for your kid is start teaching him, at a young age, that sometimes you just have to suck it up and get those ‘chores’ done, whether you like it or not.

So how do you get your kids to do their chores? At school your kid gets a gold star for cleaning out his cubby every day and at the office supply store you can buy those chore charts and stickers and blue ribbons. But think about this system…

If your kid thinks he’s going to get a gold star every morning for making his bed, what happens on that morning when you run out of stars? Does he get to skip the rest of his chores until you can make it to the store? Because that’s what your kid is going to think.

When’s the last time someone gave you a gold star for getting the laundry done or cleaning the house or mowing the lawn? As an adult, you perform these duties because you know they’re necessary for an orderly home. You know what the consequences will be if you don’t do your chores.

Instead of setting up some elaborate reward system to bribe your child into performing the simple tasks that make his life run smoother, explain to him why you want him to do his chore or chores and explain what the consequences will be if he doesn’t.

And each time your child doesn’t perform his chore, in a timely manner, there should be two consequences. For example, let’s say you want your 6-year old to make his bed every morning. Explain to him that when he does this he’s doing his part to help keep the house clean, the consequence being – if he doesn’t make his bed his room will soon look like a pigsty.

The second consequence is the one you need to enforce. If he doesn’t make his bed in the morning, he loses all privileges for the day, no TV, no video games, no going outside to play with his friends, no toys, no nothing – and he still has to make his bed.

Now before you panic, here’s what’s going to happen. Your child will push you the first morning. He’ll lounge around in front of the cartoons, and he’ll sneak into his room to get his toys, and he’ll keep pushing the boundary. But you want him to make his bed in the morning, which means when he gets up.

If he has not made his bed when he gets up, take away all privileges for the day, and send him to his room to make his bed. If he still doesn’t do it, pull out your little time-out chair and sit him down for 15 minutes. Wash, rinse and repeat until he makes the bed, but do not give him back his privileges. He forfeited privileges when he didn’t make his bed the first time.

Trust me. This will only happen on the first day. (You might want to start this on a Saturday so you can get out the door on time on Monday.) From then on your child will know you mean business.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving your kids chores as long as they’re age appropriate. Chores are really only unpleasant if you dwell on them and keep putting them off. But rewarding your kids with gold stars sends the wrong message.

It’s important for kids to learn that chores are just a necessary part of life and usually they make your life run a lot smoother. Sending your adult child out into the world thinking he’s going to get a gold star for recognition every time he does something right is just setting him up for failure. Because you and I both now that’s not going to happen out there in the real world.

This is a guest post. Donna Anderson is a freelance writer who enjoys small-town living in rural Kentucky. She’s an active member of several online communities and enjoys taking part in discussions that focus on how real people can live real lives in this fast-paced world we all live in.


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