Are you having trouble getting your kid to love chores? Many of us dread the small tasks necessary to maintain a clean and orderly home. But while adults understand the necessity of chores, most kids — unfortunately — do not.
If you feel like you’re constantly nagging your kids to do chores, today’s article is for you. We’re delving into the importance of household chores, as well as some practical tips you can use to motivate your kids to do them.
Why Chores Are Important
Doing chores helps kids understand what they need to do to care for themselves, their home, and their family. They learn many skills that they’ll later use in their adult life – like cleaning, preparing meals, and organizing. Plus, contributing to family life helps kids feel competent and responsible. It also nurtures their familial relationships while fostering communication, cooperation, and negotiation skills.
Additionally, sharing the burden of housework helps families function better as a unit, and it reduces familial stress overall. Plus, more hands on deck means finishing tasks sooner, freeing up time for fun(ner) family activities.
How to Make Chores Fun
While chores aren’t necessarily anyone’s idea of a fun time, they’re necessary for a clean and tidy home. If you’re having trouble getting your kid to love chores, here are some suggestions:
Create a Token Economy
A token economy is a behavior-management system that relies on positive reinforcement. Many parents use a token reward system to get their kids to do chores because it’s easy to create and relatively straightforward.
The essential components include:
- Tokens. Positive reinforcement (like gold stars on a chart) is used to keep track of completed chores.
- Target behaviors. Chores that can be assigned by the parent or chosen by the child.
- Rules. Outlying how to earn or lose tokens.
- Reward. The reward is something valuable to the child. Examples include money, screentime, later bedtime, dessert, etc.
- Exchange method. How tokens are exchanged for rewards.
Token economies work with both younger and older kids, and they are an effective way to get kids and teens doing chores. However, note that reward systems change why kids do chores by offering extrinsic motivation. In other words, your children will likely do their chores for the reward, not because they feel a sense of responsibility or have a desire to help around the house.
Do Chores Together
Doing chores together is another great way of getting your kid to love chores. Find a fun, age-appropriate way to complete your children’s chores together. For example, race to see who picks up toys the fastest, puts groceries away the neatest, rakes the most leaves, or sets the table the prettiest.
Ditch the Chore Charts
We hate to break it to you, but when you designate a chore chart, your child will likely only do the chores assigned to them. Instead, we recommend teaching your child that families help one another, and sometimes that means pitching in when another family member is sick or falls behind.
Additionally, children are more likely to complete chores that they have chosen themselves. Psychologists have found that when kids have the autonomy to choose, they’re more likely to become intrinsically motivated.
Select Age-Appropriate Tasks
If you want your five-year-old to love chores, don’t ask them to vacuum or unload the dishwasher. Similarly, if you’re working on teens and chores, don’t ask your sixteen-year-old to clean up their little brother’s stuffed animals.
Here are some examples of age-appropriate chores for kids:
Chores For Children Ages 2 to 3
- Put toys away
- Fill your pet’s food or water bowl
- Wipe up spills
- Put clothes in the hamper
- Pile books or magazines
Chores For Children Ages 4 to 5
- Make their bed
- Empty small waste baskets
- Bring in mail or newspapers
- Clear or set the table
- Pull weeds
- Water flowers
- Unload utensils from the dishwasher
- Wash plastic dishes in the sink
- Fix bowls of cereal
Chores for Kids Ages 6 to 7
- Sort laundry
- Sweep floors
- Help make and pack lunch
- Weed and rake leaves
- Keep their bedroom neat
Chores for Kids Ages 8 to 9
- Load dishwasher
- Put away groceries
- Help make dinner
- Make their own snacks
- Put away laundry
- Wash the table after meals
- Cook simple foods, like toast
- Peel vegetables
- Take the dog for a walk
- Mop the floor
Chores for Kids Aged 10+
- Unload dishwasher
- Fold laundry
- Clean bathroom
- Wash windows
- Wash cars
- Iron clothes (with supervision)
- Cook simple meals (with supervision)
- Change bedsheets
- Clean kitchen
- Watch younger siblings (with adults in the home)
Don’t Force Them
If you’re having trouble getting your kid to love chores, it might be because you’re forcing them. If you want your child to help you when you need it, you must be willing to help them out as well. Therefore, nurturing your parent-child relationship is one of the best ways to motivate your children to do their chores.
Treat your children as people, and if they don’t feel like cleaning their room after a tough day at school, acknowledge those feelings. Doing so shows them that you’re a team that looks out for one another, and it motivates them to step up when it’s their turn.
Show Your Appreciation
Appreciation is reciprocal. And if you don’t want your child to take you for granted, show them that you don’t take them for granted either. Whenever your child makes their bed or cleans the dishes, show genuine appreciation and gratitude. And eventually, your children will appreciate the effort you’ve put forth in raising them as well.
Getting Your Kids to Love Chores
If you were having trouble getting your kid to love chores, we hope today’s article offered a bit of relief. While chores might not necessarily be your child’s idea of a fun time, getting them to do them isn’t impossible. Take some time to determine which of these methods works for you, and you’ll have a tidy and organized home (plus a bunch of helpful kids) before you know it.