There was a family I got to know when I was in my early twenties who had children who amazed me. They were all kind, intelligent, respectful, and self-disciplined. There were many things their parents did that contributed to their maturity, but one that stood out to me was the responsibilities given to them with chores around the house. One Saturday, I stopped by their house and found one of their daughters cleaning the baseboards (without complaining). Maybe she complained before and after I left because kids and chores normally don’t mesh well.
However, involving your children in household chores is more than dividing up tasks to get it all done; it’s a great way to teach your children valuable life lessons such as responsibility, time management, hard work, and serving others. We know it’s easier said than done, but here are 5 ways to get your kids to help with chores.
1. Define each chore in advance.
If your kids understand their tasks and your expectation ahead of time, they’re more likely to do the job and do it well.If your kids understand their tasks and your expectation ahead of time, they’re more likely to do the job and do it well. This might mean making a list of each child’s responsibilities and posting it on the refrigerator for everyone to see. As your child completes a task, be sure to give ample praise.
2. Give advance notice for bigger chores.
Expecting junior to mow the lawn with a 30-minute warning is not setting him up for success. When you give your child advance notice, also assign a deadline for when you would like the task completed. By doing so, your child will learn how to manage his time to complete each task.
3. Provide a reward or incentive if your child completes bonus chores.
If your child chooses to go above and beyond his normal chore list and complete a predetermined bonus task, he may earn extra cash. One simple way is to place a list on the refrigerator with how much each bonus chore is worth. Let your child choose if and when he will complete a bonus chore. This idea fosters an attitude of helpfulness and reinforces the lesson that hard work will be rewarded.
4. Trade chores for the day.
Let your kids trade chores for a day and trade your chores with them, too. This helps everyone in the family see how everybody contributes to making the house run smoothly. Be sure to remind your kids to thank each other for all they do for the family.
5. Choose a fun project to do as a family.
It can be as simple as having your children choose 3-5 items they are willing to donate for a family garage sale while they are completing chores around the house. When the day arrives, assign each child a task such as a cashier, greeter, etc. Once the sale ends, sit down as a family and decide to which charity you will donate your earnings. This is a practical way of demonstrating the value of giving to others.
Sound off: How do you get your kids to do their chores? Has it worked?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are three chores you can do well?”