Are chores a constant battle in your home? Do you have to ask a hundred
times before things get done while “I’ll do it later”
is what greets most of these requests? Chores are important because they
help your children to understand responsibility, prepare them for the
routine, mundane tasks they need to fulfill on a daily basis in order
to make their lives possible and give them the skills they need to one
day run a home of their own. For some parents, getting the chores done
is often more trouble than it’s worth. Here’s how to get your
kids to do their chores every day.
Kids resist doing their chores because routine maintenance tasks are boring
and take them away from activities they should be doing. While a general
reminder to do chores is fine, if you find yourself nagging, it’s
time to change the behavior.
Stop the cycle
If you find your kids only do their chores if you nag them and stop once
your attention is elsewhere, stop whatever activities they are doing.
Whether it’s TV, games or time with friends, stop the distraction
and talk to them about the situation. Explaining abstract ideas of responsibility
is rarely a hit, so concentrate on what they have to gain by doing their
chores now. That means that they can resume their fun activities once
their chores are done.
Up the ante
If focusing on the positive consequences of completing chores doesn’t
work, set time limits. For example, if chores aren’t done by dinner
time, or if the dishes aren’t done in 30 minutes, then limit internet
time or set an earlier bed time. I have a friend who nagged her children
every day until they were old enough to get internet access. Now she changes
the WiFi password every night and they only get the new one when their
chores are all done. Now she never has to nag her kids to do their chores.
Rewarding your child for chores completed is always preferable to punishment.
You can offer extra internet or TV time or a later bedtime for chores
that are done on time without nagging.
Another way to incentivise the chore routine is by linking it to their
allowance. Each chore that is completed earns an extra portion of their
allowance. If they don’t want to do their chores, siblings can opt
to do their chores for them and earn more allowance.
This is a good way to teach children the link between working and receiving
a salary. Take care that this doesn’t lead to a situation where
your children won’t do anything without getting paid. If you find
this is the case, rethink your strategy.
Don’t turn chores into punishment
The idea here is to get your child to do their chores without hating every
minute of it. You can start by giving them a choice of what chores they
want to do. Making a choice gives children a sense of control and they
are less likely to complain. Don’t make chores a punishment or you
will only add to their reticence to complete their daily tasks.
If you are in a bad cycle of nagging and fighting about chores, it’s
time to change the routine. Speak to your children about ways in which
they can work at being better about chores, ask them which chores they
would like to do and when they would like to do them to give them a sense
of participation in the process.
Pic by Mary-Frances Main