Encouraging Children To Help Around The House

While some parents don't think children should have to do chores, I personally believe they should, but of course only chores suited to their age and abilities. Chores teach children about team work, support, and that a family needs to work together to look after each other and their home. I also think that it gives them an incite about their future and how things will be when they grow up, having to do jobs, work and look after themselves and maybe others. For me personally, I think it is horrible when a grown adult can’t do simple things around the home.

My 3 children are aged between 7 - 10 and between the three of them if they needed to, they could almost do everything I can. They do however have a set chore each, that they do every morning and night and rotate between each other weekly. 1. Attending to our cat. 2. Attending to our dogs. 3. Stack and unstack the dishwasher. While some people might find that a bit Stacking the dishwasherselfish of me, I believe kids need a routine and structure. They know where they are at, what goes on when and helps them be more independent and responsible by being able to go and do things they know need to be done without having to be told.

I also believe if you are big enough to make the mess, you are big enough to help clean it up. Does this mean things are perfect and we never fight over our chores? I wish.

Chore disagreements are often a big battle in most families, mine included sometimes but there are ways to help make it a little easier when needed.

1. Find a way to make the chores fun, if you can. Make it a race, or their personal time record to beat. Tell them today is disco day and they have to dance they chores away or whatever you know will make it fun in their eyes and they usually enjoy doing. You could do anything really, even have a crazy hat day where each chore requires a new crazy hat they get to design. While this seems a lot of work, if they enjoy doing the chore, they will do a better job and fight with you less.

2. Make a deal for a reward or fun activity afterwards if the chore is finished and correctly. If I Nintendo WIItell my children they can play the Nintendo Wii after the chores, it's like someone has turned on the super-fast button. If they want to go out to that party on the weekend, or cook those special muffins, then use this as a reward for a job well done. You could also make a deal with them, for each week they do their chores properly and without fighting they get one day off where you will do the chore for them. My kids think it is super funny when they go away and I have to feed the pets and stack the dishwasher.

3. Pocket money. Some parents find a pocket money system works best for them. Whether it be each chore is worth so much or a set amount earned each day or week. Children love money especially watching it grow and being able to buy themselves something. This also encourages being responsible and saving money.

4. Try explaining why each chore had to be done and that it is their responsibility.  I told my children about silverfish, mice and rats and that seemed to help a little with the room cleaning issue. Try explaining and comparing it to something they relate to. What happens when things don’t get cleaned or put away, left in the yard or no water for the pets?

5. Let them pick their chores. Write a list of chores that need to be done and let them pick their own. You set how many they need to do, but they can choose which ones. Often I find this Feeding the DogsCredit: Our Dogsworks well in our household as one child hates doing something while another child prefers it so they swap or help each other so both get done faster. My kids always op to feed the Dogs over anything else and will bargain with each other. 

6. Start early rather than later. It’s easier to learn young and grow up with a routine than to try and teach them as older kids or teenagers.  You will get more arguments as they get older. When my kids were toddlers they used to take the bum wipes off the table and wipe the walls as they seen me do it, and they still do it now. Things such as keeping your room clean, although most parents would agree this is generally a battle, it is still better to teach them earlier.

7. Make it challenging instead of chores. "Let's see if you can do this in less than 4 minutes". Or choose a chore that they don't normally do and would have to try harder at. Children love challenges and this is also fun. You could try writing their chores chart in code or backwards so they need to figure it out first.

8. Spice it up. Rotate the chores to keep them from getting bored. Let’s face it, we find housework boring to. Have a fun day "Today I would like you to do chores starting with C", see what you can find.

Writing a Chores List9. Get them to write the chores list and be in charge for the day. Kids love writing lists so get them to write the chore list for everyone to work from, adding each person’s name next to their chore. Letting them feel in charge is like they are contributing in a different way rather than just being told what to do. 

10. If all else fails, pull the Parent Rank. "Because I'm mum and I said so"... And when they ask why "Y is a crooked letter and Z is no better".  I used to get told that one all the time as a child and it drove me crazy.

There are other ways to help ease the fighting and get the chores done; you just need to find what works for your family.

A simple thing we do is rather refer to the chores as jobs instead. Everyone has a job to do and we work together to get it done.