Tips for Getting Your Kids to Participate in Chores

Discussion in 'Family Chat' started by cleanandscentsible, Jun 13, 2015.

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  1. Getting my kids (two boys ages 8 and 11) to participate willingly in chores around the house can definitely be challenging. And, sometimes - okay often - it just seems easier to do them myself. In reality though, I know that these basic life skills will teach my boys to take pride in their work, and will help them to become the self-confident, hardworking, and responsible young adults that I wish for them.

    Summertime is a great time to focus on leaning new chores and establishing routines as we are generally not as rushed and have more time together as a family. Here are a few of my favorite strategies to encourage kids to participate in household chores without {too much!} complaining...

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    Start early.
    Start working on household chores in the toddler years so they don't have time to develop any of those bad habits! Even very young children can learn to help put away their toys or bring their dishes over from the table. They learn that chores are just part of daily life and something that they need to do to contribute to the family.

    Take the time to teach them.
    When your child is first starting a new chore, take the time to really show them how to do a proper job and help set them up for success. Make sure that your expectations are clear and understand that you will likely have to help them out for at least a few times. Often, we just expect our child to know what to do. Even something that seems very basic like "go clean your room" can be very overwhelming for some children if they have not been taught how to go about this. Break larger jobs down into smaller jobs and be as encouraging as possible {even when you are explaining the same thing for the tenth time!}.

    Make your spaces child friendly.
    Kids can get easily overwhelmed and distracted, so a cluttered or chaotic space can make it difficult for them to focus on the task at hand. Have designated storage places for all of your child's belongings that are easily accessible to them and keep the amount of "stuff" in their rooms under control. Declutter toys often and keep only what your child loves and plays with.

    Make it part of the regular routine.
    The more ingrained chores are into a regular daily routine, the more likely your child will get things done without you having to nag them. Develop a morning, afterschool, and evening routine for your kids to follow and then consistently stick with it. Jobs should be completed before any free time. Many kids will do well with a visual checklist for them to follow until they have truly developed their regular cleaning habits. If you have more than one child, try to incorporate a family cleaning time so that everyone is working on cleaning at the same time. Your child will likely be more willing to get his jobs done when he knows that everyone else is working too.

    Put on the timer.
    Putting on the timer can be very effective in getting your child to stop dragging his feet when he is doing a chore. Make a game out of it to see how fast they can get the job done {while still doing a good job!} or if they can beat their previous time.

    Give an incentive.
    There is always a big debate about whether or not to tie allowances or other rewards to chores. It's totally a personal choice whichever route you go but there is no doubt that children {and adults too!} are more likely to work if there is some kind of incentive. In our house, the kids are just expected to participate in the regular household chores and they are not related to any kind of payment or allowance. We still do use incentives, however, like extra reading time at night if their bedtime routine is done quickly, or another half hour of screen time if they complete their afterschool tasks and homework. We try to teach them that if they work hard and get their jobs done well, they will then have more time to do the fun things that they want to do - work hard play hard!

    Be patient.
    Some kids may learn a new task in a couple of days and, for other kids, it may take months {I speak from experience on this one!} Just remember to keep your patience and stick with it!

    So what are your best tips to get the kids involved in basic household chores?