Getting Kids To Do Their Chores

Guest blog post written by Kim Muench, Real Life Parent Guide

Kids and Chores

As a mom of five kids, who are now 17-35 years of age, I’ve had my fair share of issues getting them to do chores over the past three decades. My approach has run the gambit of designing elaborate chore charts to outright anger and bribes. Maybe you can relate?

 I’ve had varying degrees of success and here are the most effective strategies I’ve used to get chores done at home:

  1. If at all possible, make chores a family event. Pick a day/time that makes the most sense for your family. Everyone working together will make chores a team effort. Put on some music in the house, rotate who gets to pick the music each week. Side note: if you have teens and they want to listen to their own music with earbuds during chore time, let them do it. Giving them choice whenever possible is so important during these years. Being consistent in the family chore day practice is key, kids need routine. If it’s a chore that needs doing more than once a week (ie: taking out the trash), rotate the chore so everyone takes a turn.
  2. Consider putting together a list of the chores that need doing and writing them on index cards. Toss the chores in a hat (or a kitchen bowl) and everyone one picks 1-2 to do that week. This way your kids get to learn how to do different chores and will be less likely to get bored. 
  3. Plan a reward upfront and let them know what it will be…the key is not to make it something expensive or unhealthy. The reward might be a family game night, movie night with pizza for dinner, saying that you will walk the dog instead of your kids that day, walking WITH your kids and the dog that day. Making a favorite meal. Choose something that makes sense for your family that doesn’t break the bank or set you up for extra work or expense.

In my mind, we never had enough family time because we were always running to and from different sports or extra curricular events. The days are long but the years short as they say, so try to make the most positive memories with your kids that you can. Be intentional with your time, mom!

Two really important additional thoughts on getting kids to do chores

First, realize you will likely have to show your kids how to do certain chores more than once. Don’t get frustrated with this, expect it. Take a breath if you have to show your 12-year-old how to clean the toilet for the fifth time. It’s okay. Our kids feel our energy, so be sure what you’re putting out is what you want them to receive. 

And, if the moment is really triggering you, take 3-4 really deep breaths and then speak into the correction that is needed. In the process of staying in connection with your child, you’ll also be modeling how you effectively handle stress.

Second, be realistic about how much your kids can do and what their capabilities are. My kids were doing their laundry by middle school (at least the youngest two were, by that time I was tired of laundry and had decided I’d waited too long to teach the older three how to do that chore). Jobs around the house are life skills and the more playful you can be in the process of teaching them, the easier they will receive the much-needed lessons. 

You got this mom!

Kim Muench is a Certified Conscious Parenting Coach who specializes in working with mothers of
adolescents (ages 10-25). You can find out more about Kim’s mission and services at Her book, Becoming Me While Raising You, is an Amazon #1 seller.

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