How To Get Your Kids To Do Chores
1. Ask them to
While it’s often easier for you to do things yourself, it’s important that everyone participate. Think of your children doing chores as an opportunity for them to learn how to ultimately take care of themselves.
2. Be specific
Hoping they’ll pitch in is not the same as asking them to. Tell them exactly what you’d like done and when. Vague: Take out the trash. Specific: Empty trashcans throughout the house and take all of it outside, then take the container to the curb before you watch TV.
3. Avoid criticism
When your kids do chores they won’t do them exactly the way you would. Depending on your children’s ages, the quality of job performance will vary wildly. It helps to say please and thank you, rather than barking orders at them. Also, accept a reasonable effort and finish up any loose ends they’ve left yourself.
4. Be the captain
Accept that you’re in charge even if you don’t think it’s fair. It would be nice if everyone pitched in where necessary, but if you’re reading this, they probably aren’t. Think of yourself as the project manager for your household and delegate tasks accordingly.
5. Let them choose their duties
Don’t just tell them what chores to do. Let them choose between a few options. Open ended choices don’t work so well, Not: “What chores would you like to do?” The answer is likely to be none. When I asked my teenager what suggestions she had for asking kids to do chores, she said, “Just don’t.” Instead, ask them if they’d rather take out the trash or clean the bathroom. Giving them some ownership also makes them more likely to go along gracefully.
Okay, it’s your turn. What reasonable methods do you use?
Published January 12, 2009. Last updated June 21, 2018.