Chores… No one likes that word, young or old. I know when I heard it growing up, I would roll my eyes and do my best to try to get out of them.
Call it Karma, but my kids now are very much the same. So I have tried some tips and tricks to make the process more enjoyable and have them actually want to do their chores.
Don’t get me wrong –there are days where it’s a battle and always will be.
My parents had a hard time getting me to do chores, so their trick was to give me three options and I could pick one. Problem with that was they gave me the three worse options possible, so no matter what, I was doing something I didn’t enjoy. Of course, I tried the old trick of just do a bad job thinking they wouldn’t ask me to do it again. Well was I wrong. Totally backfired as I had to do the job till I had done it right. Not only did I have to do a job I didn’t want to do, instead of getting it done right the first time, I had taken double the time to do it. Smart tricky parents they were, hey?
Fast forward to today; myself as a mom of a great little boy and girl. How do I get them to make their beds, pick up their toys and help out a little around the house? Enter chores. That dreaded six-letter word rears its ugly head again. Here are eight tricks that have been working in our household — feel free to make them your own:
1. Be reasonable in your expectations
Sometimes a chore is beyond a child’s ability level and a slight modification can help a child achieve success. You may need to modify things in your home to make them more accessible to your children.
2. Be an example
If your children consistently see the grownups slacking off with their chores, chances are they will learn to do the same.
3. Involve the kids in the process of selecting the chores and the chart
The more children feel they are involved in making decisions, the more they will feel ownership of those responsibilities. Our chore chart (see below) is laminated and the kids and I sat down and picked out the chores for the chart themselves. They both do not have the same chores on their chart either. It’s very important to make each child feel they are an individual with their own jobs to do.
4. Consider your rewards
Stickers work best for young children, whereas an allowance– if that’s what you choose — will work best for older kids. Some parents choose to not use a reward system at all as they feel chores are just required. Nothing wrong with this approach either. You have to do what works for your family.
5. Have consequences without being harsh
Sometimes you may have to take away rewards or other activities that are enjoyable. Don’t forget that many times we have extenuating circumstances that keep us from performing a job well. Sometimes, offering to help a child who has fallen behind can get them caught up without completely letting them off the hook.
Allowing your young child to clean their room by themselves may not go the way you had planned. I’m sure we have all been there where you go in and its more of a mess then when they started. I try to check on them every five min just to make sure they are on track. Same with our chore of feeding our cats — I make sure the proper amount is in the scoop before it gets into the cats bowl. If it’s too full, it creates a mess or too little cats will be hungry.
7. Include homework and mandatory activities
We have homework and home reading included with our chore chart. These are just as important as chores around the home.
8. Allow for mistakes
We have chores for every day of the week, but to receive the rewards –I do not expect everything to be done every day. Things come up. Life does get in the way sometimes. It’s the same for adults. I would love to have my house clean everyday, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day. They have to have a certain amount completed for the week to receive their reward. I don’t expect perfection because I sure am not perfect myself. If there is just laziness and they are not completed they will lose the reward but if its just life has gotten busy with school, work, baseball, soccer things like that there is a little wiggle room. Remember to be flexible.
Here are some age-appropriate chore ideas:
Toddler (ages 2–3)
● Pick up/ put away toys
● Unload the dishwasher (silverware,
plastic cups, tupperware)
● Dust with feather duster/microfiber rag
● Swiffer the floor
● Put clothes in the dirty clothes hamper
● Collect dirty clothes
● Help move clothes from washer to dryer
● Put clothes away
● Make bed
● Wipe cabinets
● Wipe baseboards (soapy water)
Preschooler (ages 4–5)
● All previous chores
● Load the dishwasher
● Vacuum couch/ chairs/ cushions
● Take out recycling
● Set table
● Clear table
● Wash dishes (with supervision)
● Clean windows
● Wipe out bathroom sinks
● Match socks
● Fold dish towels
● Water indoor plants
● Feed pets
And here is a chore chart I came across online that we have used in our home
If you have some tips that I’ve missed on how to get your kids to help out around the house, we’d love to hear them!