Are you struggling with trying to get your kids to pitch in around the house? You're not alone. Every parent feels like they are constantly having to push, pull, remind, discipline, nag, remind, yell, and remind their kids to do their chores. It's so tiring. Here are my favorite tips to help you today.
Rachel's Top Ten Tips:
1. Talk less, mean more.
Listen to yourself objectively. Are you giving instructions all day long? Do you give directions you don't really expect they'll follow and it's like you're just talking to the wind? Maybe you're just talking too much and they've simply tuned you out. Limit your instructions to the few things you will follow through on.
2. Be clear.
Don't shout your directions from the other room. For direction to be effective, you need to look each other in the eye and give them clearly. Ask him to repeat your instructions back to you so you both know he got them. Use eye contact, and require a "yes, ma'am."
3. Give small bites.
Don't say "go clean your room." Instead, give specific, bite-sized jobs that he can succeed at step by step. "Pick up the toys on the floor and put them in the toybox," is much more manageable. Use a checklist for each specific task and have him do one thing at a time.
- make bed
- put books away
- put clothes in hamper
- pick up trucks
4. Give advance warning.
No one likes to have unwelcome news sprung on them when they are trying to get to the next level or are in the middle of pretending to be princesses.
Try, "In 20 minutes I'm going to ask you to set the table. You'll need to say 'yes, ma'am" when I call you. Can you do that?" Requiring a response means they understand they'll be transitioning in a few minutes. This is called respect...and your child needs it just as much as you do.
5. Use "when" and "if" correctly.
"When you finish feeding the dog, you may play outside," communicates your expectation that he WILL finish the job.
"If you feed the dog, you may play outside," sounds like bribery.
"If" works better when spelling out consequences. "If you don't feed the dog, you'll have to sit in your chair for 15 minutes." It conveys that you don't believe failure will happen, but gives you the opportunity to share what will occur in the unlikely event that he disobeys.
6. Time limit.
Use a timer! A timer is a mom's best friend, next to a wooden spoon. :) Or give a reasonable time on the clock that the job must be completed, (i.e. by 4:00). Kids (like adults) are easily discouraged at the prospect of a loooooong job. Knowing it has an end gives hope to the weary little soul. A daily 10 minute blitz is far better than springing a day-long, never-ending list once every blue moon.
7. You get what you inspect, not what you expect.
It's easy to give instructions...not so easy to follow up to see that they got done. Kids know if they dilly-dally long enough, parent's will forget to check to see that the chore got done. Only give the amount of work you are willing to check on, otherwise, don't bother.
8. Teach what "finished" looks like.
Your child may not really know what a clean room should look like. You may have to go in there and shovel it out FOR him at first, just so he can see what clean looks and feels like. Admire it together. Talk about how nice it looks. Agree together that "this" is what finished looks like. Same for any other job. What does a clean kitchen look like? What does a swept floor look like? Go over it together, slowly and kindly....and be sure and share the beauty of "done."
9. Be consistent.
It is better to have one or two daily things for them to be responsible for, than haphazardly flinging jobs at them when you get overwhelmed. Depending on your schedule and number of kids, a daily list might be just this simple.
- Clear table
- Pick up clothes
- Put away toys
- Mom's choice - I like having this one on the list because there is always something I could use help with and this prepares their hearts to serve.
10. Don't tie daily, family tasks to money or rewards.
Yes, I believe in rewards. But if EVERY task gets a reward, how will your child learn to have self motivation and self sacrifice for the team? The family IS a team, and every member needs to do a little something, everyday, to make it function well. "Extra" jobs - not the day-to-day chores - can be for pay, but PLEASE give your child the gift of learning to work without thought of "what will I get out of this?" or you will forever be shelling out cash and promises, just to get the basics done.
Besides, "Because mommy said so," is a perfectly legitimate reason for kids to do chores.
Bonus Tip: Make it fun
Of course, tired parents can't make every chore time into a game, but using games and fun motivations can make a huge difference! Try:
- Beat the clock
- Check the box
- Race each other
- Random rewards "when" (not if) jobs are done. "Work before pleasure" is something even we adults need to work on. Rewards can be as simple as taking a walk, sharing a bowl of ice cream, or reading a book together.
There are tons of resources available online, such as chore charts. I always preferred to make my own, as my requirements were not nearly as detailed. Here is an example of a simple one: rotating chores.
Today's Small Thing is to implement at least two of these tips into your child's life today.
(If you don't have children, these work surprisingly well on spouses and co-workers.)
Remember, you are a manager of your home....and as such, your "employees" should be clear about what is asked of them. A good manager makes a working environment enjoyable, is encouraging, gives compliments and honors responsible workers. You can help your kids learn the value of working for the good of the team, and learn the satisfaction of a job well done by implementing simple, daily chores they can accomplish.
These are priceless gifts to take into life beyond your home.
POINTS: 50 for working on giving your child the chance to shine through manageable chores.
What are YOUR favorite tips for getting your kids to pitch in and do their chores? Please share!
PS feel free to grab the image above and pin it, save it, or put it on your fridge!