Getting Children to Help with Your House Chores

Children are not an easy bunch, and sometimes their no is just that. Sometimes it is okay to let them have their say, but sometimes it comes out as plain disrespect or just laziness. You don’t have to clean the house and everything in it all alone if your children are old enough to help. Here are a few tips to help you get the children to help you when you are doing your house chores without stirring up a fight:

Take Away Any Distractions

Its pretty simple; when the kids have to choose between doing the dishes and scrolling endlessly on their phones, they WILL choose the phone. It will look like a choice between fun and dishes.

The best thing to do is to make the choice between dishes or no fun. Ask them to put down their gadgets and get the chores done. They probably won’t listen, so you could ask them to give you the phones or block their access until the job is done. You won’t believe how quickly the chores will be finished.

Give Them a Time Limit

Giving a time limit helps them understand how much time they have to get the job done. Just let them know how long they have and the consequences of not meeting the deadline. Timing helps them coordinate their effort and do what they are supposed to avoid punishment.

You can punish them by taking away what they were doing instead of the chores. Before that, however, be as reasonable as you can and see whether they were doing their best. For instance, if they were constantly stopping to check their phones and reply to messages, you could take the phone away for some time if they don’t meet the deadline. If the child was doing their chores throughout and still couldn’t stay within the set duration, you should not punish them. Just be sure to set a reasonable time frame. You could take out the baby in a pram or walker and let them get some work done before you get back.

Find Some Leverage

Most parents who give their children an allowance will not hesitate to use it as leverage when asking the kids to get house chores done. You could offer to add some amount to it depending on how cooperative the child is. You could also deduct some if the child didn’t help with the house chores. It may sound like a threat, but you can explain as gently as possible that they need to do some work in the house too. Some parents have been known to altogether withhold their children’s allowance when they don’t help with house chores.

Create a Clear Schedule

You don’t need to be knocking on your kid’s door randomly to ask them to help with the house chores. Make it clear when and how they are expected to do them, so you don’t have to fight with them about them being held up with doing something important just after dinner.

For instance, if you have two children, let them know that they should be doing dishes after dinner. They can then take turns. This way, you will all know exactly who is doing the dishes on any day after dinner. To prevent fights, set some ground rules like no one gets skipped even if the family decides to eat out.

When setting a schedule, however, be careful that you don’t give them too much work. You should also be ready to exempt them when, for a good reason, they can’t do the chores. For instance, you could do their duties when they have to study for a test or if they have too much homework. Be careful, though – children can be pretty cunning!

Reward Them 

Rewards are some of the best motivators for children. You’ll be surprised by the things they can accomplish or get done when a good reward has been promised. Some children have been known to rise to the top of the class from the bottom after being promised a new phone, computer or their dream bicycle.

The rewards will often depend on the age of the kids. For example, if you are trying to get your five-year-old to put away their toys after playing with them, you can promise them some ice cream. Younger kids always have a sweet tooth and will do anything for some cotton candy or ice cream.

Older children will go for more sophisticated rewards like phones, gaming consoles and controllers, outfits, computers and even tickets to their favourite events.

Remember that promises work best when they are fulfilled.

Work With Them

Children work best when they can follow your example. It comes out as really hateful and unfair when you are sitting down with a cup of coffee while the kids toil away (this is exactly how they will feel) with the dishes. They want to see that you are also getting some chores done and you haven’t left them to do it all.

If they are doing the dishes, let them see you vacuum the house. If they are cleaning their rooms, let them see you clean yours. It even works better when they know that you are doing a harder job than them. You can do more delicate work like cleaning the baby’s cots and change tables while they carry out more direct tasks like vacuuming.

One good way to work with kids is by establishing a day for cleaning. You could have thorough cleans on a day like Saturday where everyone cleans their room and does part of the general chores like the dishes and vacuuming. 

In conclusion, chores should not be made to look like a punishment. They should be seen as a necessity that everyone has to be part of. If you give the kids the right push without being hostile or unfair, they will do their part of the chores without a problem.


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