Turning chore time into fun time for the kids.
Definition of Chore:
- routine task: a task, especially an ordinary household task, that has to be done regularly
- unenjoyable task: something that is unpleasant, difficult, awkward, or boring to do
Chores are something that we as adults view as a part of normal everyday life. It’s the day-to-day things that we need to do to keep life humming and on track. The word “chores” to kids however, can seem more like a prison sentence and something not-so-desirable.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, chores can help create a sense of unity and is a great place for your child to learn about teamwork. It’s also an excellent way to help your kids develop a sense of responsibility and self-worth. As parents we need to work to share the understanding with our kids that these chores are expected and necessary to keeping a household running successfully and efficiently. We also should take special care to handle the delegation of chores to children so they don’t become a source of frustration or create arguments. Here are some tips and tactics to get your child to help with the chore process:
Let Them Have A Say
Allow your child to have an active say in the delegation of chores and even give them choices. Nothing is worse than feeling like you are being forced to do something you loathe. Allow your child to voice his or her opinion and then make your choice based on that feedback. We all have household chores that we don’t like to do, but if it’s a chore the child enjoys doing then there’s less likelihood it will create a battle in the end. Most kids appreciate having the chance to be heard and having a choice.
Good Tip: As parent, we also need to be mindful to walk the talk when it comes to chores as well. So be sure to set a strong example for the kids by completing your own personal chores each day so they can watch and learn too!
Kids also seem to do best when they have clear expectations and boundaries. It’s important to set parameters early on for the successful completion of a chore or task. If the leaves need to be raked, be specific about a timeline, method (“use the wheelbarrow and the green rake”) and even what to do with the leaves once cleaned up. If the chore is not progressing like you instructed, you may just need to take a moment and show them what can be done for improvement.
Don’t Be A Push-Over
Ever heard the saying “give them an inch, they will take a mile?” Kids don’t mean to be devious, it’s just human nature to try to cut corners or wiggle out of work. Make sure your child understands there will be repercussions if they only put forth a minimal effort or do a sloppy job. And don’t allow a child to undermine your authority by battling with you over a designated chore. Stand your ground and don’t give in, and emphasize the consequence and negative effect an uncompleted chore has on the family.
Consider A Chore Chart
It can be very frustrating to ask your child over and over again to complete their chores. If there are daily chores that seem to be “slipping” your child’s mind, consider creating a chore chart. Things to add to the chore chart might be daily tasks like emptying the dishwasher, emptying the garbage, or cleaning their room. It could also include reoccurring tasks that need to be done weekly like mowing the grass or yard work or putting laundry away. Outline the chores in a weekly or monthly snapshot and after your child completes each chore, they can put a check mark on the chore chart. At the end of each week, it’s very inspiring for both parent and child to look at the chore chart and easily see that each designated job was completed.
Don’t Forget The Rewards
Everyone, young and old, is motivated by rewards. Rewards are a great way to say “good job” and keep everyone excited and wanting to keep helping. Some parents use this opportunity for their kids to earn an allowance and some have them work towards a goal like a trip to the water park. If you decide go the monetary allowance route, make sure it’s age appropriate and granted on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is 50 cents per year of age. So your eight year-old child would earn $4.00 per week if each the chores on their list are completed.
Highlight The “Flip-Side” of Chores
Right around New Year’s, many people make resolutions to get into shape. If you and your family want to get into shape in the upcoming year, you might have made a similar commitment. Did you ever think about the physical activity value in chores? This might be an extra positive spin for those dreading the weekly chore routine. Chores like car washing, yard work, snow shoveling, painting, window washing, can serve double-duty as a great source of exercise for kids.
Keep It Age Appropriate
Here are some ideas for chores broken down by age. Even little kids can get in on the action:
2-4 Year Olds
- Filling the dog’s water and food bowl
- Gather up dirty laundry and put in clothes hamper
- Wipe down easy things with a damp washcloth
- Help sort clean butter knives, spoons and forks from dishwasher (no sharp knives)
4-7 Year Olds
- Water houseplants.
- Carry garbage bags to outside receptacle.
- Make beds.
- Fold towels and washcloths.
- Help unpack groceries
7-10 Year Olds
- Raking leaves
- Set dinner table
- Take out trash or empty recycling bin.
- Empty and load dishwasher
Let’s face it, chores are not a four letter word for kids, and getting creative to encourage them to help out with the household chores can help them to learn more about teamwork, responsibility and consequence; life skills that can be use anywhere no matter what they do in life.
Cleaning House is a fabulous read for parents who wants a practical roadmap to get kids to do more chores as well as change your children attitude from entitlement to empowerment.
In the book, mom (Kay Wyma) shares her own personal experiences with unique creativity and wry humor on what she did to get her five children from the youngest to the oldest (ages 4-14) to do various chores, to the obstacles they faced and how she made it all happen; changing them from overly indulged children to godly kids with servant hearts!