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Getting Kids to Help With Chores

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It can be difficult to get kids to help with chores. However, it is much easier to share the chores amongst the whole family. This is a guide about getting kids to help with chores.
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By 19 found this helpful
July 29, 2011

As a working parent of 6 kids (the oldest 4 are in a 5 1/2 year age span), the kids helping with chores was a given. Our system was the job jar. All household chores were written down and put into a job jar. Pink paper for the under 6 set, and yellow paper for those school age and above.

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Every Friday, we all sat down and everyone, including parents, drew their jobs for the following week. We had a chart hanging on the wall that had everyone's name, their jobs for the week, and a space for Mom (or Mamaw) to sign off when the job was done satisfactorily (without more than one reminder) and finished each day of the week.

On Saturday, anyone that had their assigned chores done at least 6 out of the 7 days, participated in a "treat day". We took turns choosing the treat for the week, from a list provided by Mom (depended on time and money available). The treat might be a picnic, a trip to the pool, a movie, a trip to the zoo, or a Baskin Robbins ice cream treat, etc. Anyone not completing their assigned chores was left at home with grandmother, with no TV or phone privileges for the weekend.

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In the early days of course, a 6 year old assigned to cook supper needed a lot of help from Mom or Grandmother. By the time they were 10-12 years old, they (boys and girls) could all plan a menu. They could make a edible, balanced meal for the family, fix lunches for school, vacuum, mop, etc.

From 9th grade on, they were also involved in budgeting, balancing the checkbook, writing the checks for monthly bills, seeing that they were mailed, making the grocery list, and shopping for groceries.

We do not give our kids enough credit. Even a 2 year old can empty a waste paper basket or pick up toys, and put them away. It is not just a case of helping out Mom. Everyone lives there, eats the food, and wears clothing. Everyone needs to feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for their home.

When we don't teach our kids to clean their homes, wash their clothes, cook a decent meal, manage their time, manage their money, and accept their responsibilities, we do them a grave disservice because someday they are going to have their own homes and families to manage. You can't teach those things by starting the week before they leave for college.

By slee15

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July 30, 200911 found this helpful

Here is a tip to help organize time, reward labor, and ensure you get to work on that project that's been sitting in the corner.

Take a sheet of paper. With a pencil, write on one side all the chores that the person doesn't like to do/needs to do. On the other side, write a corresponding reward (15 minutes of beading, 5 minutes dance, 1 hour sewing, etc). When a chore is completed, write down the rewards earned. I write mine on the dry erase board. To personalize, I reward myself with a bigger reward for tasks I really dislike, and make extra incentives for stuff I'm working on.

For example: I don't like doing the kitchen, so completing that task will earn me an hour to sew. I'm working on getting outside more, so I came up with a separate reward for going outside, walking a mile, and running errands. I also reward myself for each chore, so that I'm not stressed out to clean the whole house in a day.

This helps in being a good daily incentive (take it from a homemaker) and not rewarding yourself/child's labor with "more labor" (a stressful habit). It's a nice stress reliever to "earn" time to get to those things you always like to do, even if they could technically be called "labor" as well (enjoyment/fun makes a big difference!)

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Enjoy your day!

By Davidicdancer from Spokane, WA

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By 6 found this helpful
July 3, 2012

Take a bin with their left out stuff in it and add a print out that says this:

UH OH
You left it out
Mom picked it up
She's got your stuff
You're out of luck
To get it back
Must do a chore
Again it is yours
Just like before On the side have a envelope with slips of paper for the chore that needs to be done.

Source:saw it on Facebook

By msprissysmom from USA

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By 7 found this helpful
July 28, 2011

When my kids (and fosters) were young, I bought a roll of tickets (like those at a carnival). They are available at places like WalMart. I made lists of chores, age appropriate for each child. Each chore was assessed as to how many tickets it was worth. (I also included personal hygiene things like brushing teeth, etc.). Some of the chores were really simple, hanging up your towel or putting clothes away.

I watched clearance racks for prizes, such as: toys, stuffed animals, fancy pencils, new notebooks, art supplies, and so on. Other prizes; might be things like: 1-1 time with mom for an evening or choice of video for family night. Each prize was assessed an amount of tickets. Then as the kids accumulated tickets, they could "buy" their prizes. Some kids couldn't wait to spend their tickets, and would buy the trinket prizes, but soon realized that by saving them, they could get better prizes.

So, chores got done, and the kids learned the lessons of earning and saving. This tends to work best with younger kids, from little to maybe age 10 or so.

Source: I was a foster parent for 15 years and had to be creative to teach kids responsibility and accountability. This made it fun!

By Pam T from Storm Lake, IA

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July 26, 2011

I know people with multiple kids. Some of them don't think chores are for kids. One says it's all women's work (hehe), and getting them to help out is a chore in itself!

I suggested once that a job wheel be made. Each day, the kids spin the wheel, and the chore it lands on is what is on their to do list for that day. Perhaps someone hates dishes, and another hates sweeping. This means that their chances of getting the jobs they don't like that day are slimmer than if they had them assigned.

If you don't want to build a spinning board or use an old game board, just put the chores on a piece of paper, and draw them out of a hat! Either way, you can't come out the bad guy because it's the luck of the spin or the luck of the draw!

Source: Heard this once on a talk show years ago. In theory, it sounds foolproof!

By Sandi A. from Salem, OR

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February 3, 2014

My daughter has mirrored closet doors, we use them to keep a daily check list of things to be done. She loves putting the check by the item, or sometimes a mini artwork flower. At the end of the day, we wipe off the checks and she's ready for the next day.

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By 1 found this helpful
July 23, 2014

When my kids were younger, each had plastic hangers, a laundry hamper and clothes basket in their favorite color. They knew what laundry was theirs and were responsible for putting it up, just by the color of the hanger and basket.

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November 19, 20070 found this helpful

This is a great way to organize your kids to do chores.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
July 18, 2011

I'd love some ideas on how you do chores. We have four small girls. We agree they need daily chores to do. We agree that some things need to be done because you are a member of the family. Where do "just because chores" and "receive allowance chores" start and end?

By NellieMom

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July 18, 20110 found this helpful

My siblings and I never received an allowance, doing chores was just part of being a family. We grew up on a farm and us kids had lots of chores, both inside and outside. My daughters never received an allowance. I did things differently than my parents did. From the time my kids could walk, when it was nap time or bed time we walked around picking up their toys and putting them away, this was teaching them when they were really young. From there it just progressed. Kids don't need an allowance for doing chores, in fact I don't think they should be paid to help around home.

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July 19, 20110 found this helpful

The chore division comes where you decide it does. One suggestion that worked in our family was that chores which benefitted the individual child ( picking up toys, cleaning the bedroom, doing own laundry) were free. Chores that helped the entire family ( lawn mowing, cleaning the bathroom(only had one), vacuuming, laundering towels and sheets) ,were paid. Payment was once a week, and in cash. You have to adapt the chores to the child's age and ability. For example, my daughter was very tiny, and could not reach the bottom of the washer to take laundry out, so I got her a pair of long handled tongs to fish the clothes out. She had a stepstool to reach the washer controls. Whatever method you choose, try to accept the child's efforts as much as possible, because nothing discourages their efforts like having it criticized or done over by parents.

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July 19, 20110 found this helpful

You want your children to learn to be useful and self sufficient. but it has to be age appropriate. Explain to them Daily chores have to be done to maintain a clean home and a good feeling. so that when you are at home you can look around and say "isn't our home nice? nice job everyone!" and feel pride when visitors come over. My kids had to pick up their own clothes, clean their bathroom, load or unload dishwasher, dust, and vacuum daily. this was done or no one went anywhere.( work first, then play). At the end of week allowance was given. (again age appropriate). Now, here's the catch, you have to show them how to do the chores. you can't just say "go make your bed."

You have to show them how to do it! Then as they get older you can again show them how to fine tune it. just like real on-the-job training. this is a" learning for life" experience and the allowance lets them feel proud to buy something on their own. If my kid's friends helped them, my kids had to share part of their allowance. the kids would decide for themselves who does what. The competition created more motivation for all of them and team work. if they did something extra like rake leaves, wash car, sweep drive and patio, windows even, we would negotiate the extra allowance beforehand. I never had one complaint.

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July 19, 20110 found this helpful

An allowance teaches children how to handle money. Whether or not it is tied in with chores is up to the parent. The greatest life lesson my parents gave me was a generous "clothing" allowance when I turned 16. While I was counting dollars in my head, I was informed of what it had to cover and that if I misspent it there'd be no more money forthcoming until the following month. Boy, did I learn to be frugal. By the time I was 40 my home was paid for, as was my vehicle. I had no debt and a nice savings account. I do not pay interest on a credit card and bills are paid on time. This I owe to my parents wisdom.

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July 20, 20110 found this helpful

Doing chores and having an allowance are both part of being a family. I had an allowance to spend as I chose or I could save it for something special. Being the kind of person I am, I always saved back some special purchase. As to chores, my parents took a "you are part of this family" and I was expected to do my share within limits of my abilities.

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Anonymous
July 21, 20110 found this helpful

I learned when my children were small that it was my responsibility to teach them the skills to be a wife, husband, mother, father, college student and to be self-sufficient. At an early age, I taught my children that we are a family and we should take pride in our home and also to learn different skills in the household; they learned to make their beds, laundry, bathroom cleaning, kitchen duties (loading dishwasher, unloading dishwasher), dusting furniture, vacuuming and to know their way around the home as far the location of items that they could find themselves by being involved in the household chores. My children were making their own school lunches beginning in kindergarten (I had arranged all the lunch box items in an area they could get to without assistance); they placed their lunch boxes in the fridge and I would remind them about their lunches in the fridge; back packs were packed after doing homework and placed by the door. After school chores were to be completed plus homework completed before my children could play outside; they always had enough time to play outside! My son who is 34 and has a 4 year old son thanked me for teaching him the skills he needed to be a husband and father even though at the time when I insisted that the chores should be done he didn't understand but now he does and that makes me happy. Chores are important for a child's self-esteem and growth as they grow older, more household skills are learned and they become self-sufficient.

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July 21, 20110 found this helpful

We didn't have a lot of money and I was a single mom and had a stroke at 38 so learning the difference was fairly easy. We picked up cans or made things to sell for spending money for Mcdonald's and such or something they wanted real bad then we all pitched in and helped. The chores were not tied to the allowance but the behavior was and if they misbehaved no allowance. A couple times of losing that and they got the message. If you didn't do your chores you didn't get to participate in family time till you did.Last resort got punished according to what we agreed was appropriate for the offense.

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July 21, 20110 found this helpful

Chores for real small children should be according to their age and start with one or 2 simple things. Make their bed and put up toys won't be perfect to begin with but gentle urging that is a sloppy job and help a couple of time then no that is your job usually works unless they run your house.

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August 3, 20110 found this helpful

I feel similarly to redhatterb, no one pays me to cook or clean for myself or the family, I don't think I should be paying my kids for that either. Chores for that maintain your person or your home are a part of being in a family and doing them should have other rewards, such as inviting a friend over.

If I were to pay my kids for helping, it would be for going above and beyond, like washing the screens in the spring or cleaning out the storage shed. We always provide for the kids outings like movies, etc when they are appropriate and offer them chances to earn extra money by doing things like selling outgrown toys at a yard sale.

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July 24, 20170 found this helpful

Our kids got a small allowance with no strings attached, but chores were done because it takes all family members to run the home. Once in a while we'd give them the option of earning some extra money for doing a special job of some sort.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 7, 2007

I have 4 daughters, 11, 7, and twins that are 5. I am ashamed to say they have been quite "spoiled" when it comes to helping out with chores around the house up until now. I am a stay-at-home-mom and I have found it's easier to just do things myself, but I am finding it harder and harder to keep up with the cleaning! I was hoping I could find some ideas on how I can make up a "chore list" or something similar that will help in getting my girls to participate in the upkeep of our house. What has worked for you or what hasn't worked? Any feedback is much appreciated!

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 7, 20070 found this helpful

Maybe this will help...

http://www.housefairy.org/

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 7, 20070 found this helpful

I started by using a chore chart I found online that is printable. I started off putting just two or so chores per week. As they get the hang of doing these chores, add more. My kids no longer need the chore chart! They did complain a lot and would say they didn't want to do them. So I retaliated by telling them I didn't feel like cooking supper or doing their laundry!

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August 8, 20070 found this helpful

I think it is good to have your kids help with chores. I have a two year old son and he already has to help pick up his own toys and help do other small tasks. This website http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/ has info on how one stay at home mom of 8 kids(6 still at home) raises her family. I know she has a page on there about kids and chores. I think it is good for kids to have chores growing up. After all they will have to know how to cook and clean when they are adults on their own! Good luck!

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August 9, 20070 found this helpful

We have found the the reward system helped a lot. Have a chore jar, then assign points to each job, more for harder chores, etc... Then at the end of the week add up the points, whoever has more points gets to pick out something fun to do as a family. We have a jar of fun (inexpensive) family fun things to pick from. Hope this helps get them in the mood for chores.

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 9, 20070 found this helpful

I learned this through a parenting class and at first I wasn't too sure how it would work. I have 3 daughters, 10, 12, and 14 years old. I used to have to fuss all day long trying to get just their rooms clean. Then I decided to try this new technique. First decide what it is you would like them to help do then you give them a choice: clean bathroom or do dishes, for example. they get to pick what to do and do not feel like they are being told what to do. It worked like a charm with no fussing all day. ALSO another approach i use is the timer method, make a BIG deal like its a race. you set the timer for 15 minutes. You clean in one room for this set time when the timer goes off you are done in that room. my girls and I will all clean in one room and you will be amazed how much can get done in a short time frame. We turn the radio on and when we are done we have the rest of the day to do whatever we wish.

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August 9, 20070 found this helpful

I have an 11-year-old and 9-year-old twins. There is a certain amount of cleaning they are expected to do without getting paid, such as making their bed, cleaning up their rooms, etc.

Whenever they want to buy something and need money, I use that as an opportunity for them to earn money by doing cleaning chores. I make a list of everything that needs to be done and assign a monetary value. They each take turns choosing the tasks they want.

Typical chores for my 11-year-old are vacuuming, scouring the kitchen sink, and windows. The 9-year-olds can clean the bathroom sinks, empty trash cans, dust, and unload the dishwasher.

It takes a few times showing them how, but after that they can do it themselves. I keep a little bucket under their sink with a sponge and cleaner so they can get it out themselves when it's time to clean.

I haven't been able to have them do these jobs regularly, but when they're motivated to earn money for something, they do very well!

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August 9, 20070 found this helpful

google : printable chore sheets or theres one called chart jungle that sends updates.

you could start them each with a balance of say $15 a week then from there, things that DON'T get done are viewed as CRIMES & they get penalized for them by you subtracting funds from their balance.

It would work the same as when I was in school & at the start of the year everyone had an A; all we had to do was KEEP it!

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August 10, 20070 found this helpful

Hopefully it's not too late to teach your daughters to do their chores. They say it's much, much easier to start them off very young. But good luck. I hope something works for you. I strongly encourage you to atleast try. My husband's sister,a stay-at-home mom like you, raised her daughter the same way you've been raising yours (thought it was easier to just do everything herself) and has really reaped the whirlwind as they say. Poor sis-in-law is now raising her daughter's 3 illegitimate children, whom she's also not teaching to do chores. She is trying to raise those 3 little kids and still do everything herself at the age of 56! As a consequence, her health is shot, the house looks like a disaster area, and the kids are getting more and more out of control. So you hang in there and give it a good try. If you have trouble with the girls refusing to all of a sudden take orders from their sweet, easy-going mother who's been doing everything for everybody, maybe a female relative - your mother, mother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, (somebody who can be tough when she needs to be) could come over for a few days and kind of put your daughters through a sort of chore "boot camp". Good luck!

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March 6, 20140 found this helpful

When my two children were pre-teen they helped and it was a pleasue for all of us. Then the dreaded adolescence hit. One made money in college doing laundry for ignorant students.

The other did nothing, until one day I went into her room with trash bags, collected everything lying around, put the bags in the garage, phoned her, told her the trash pick up was in two days - and waited.

A flurry of indignant action ensued, but within 24 hours her space was immaculate, stayed that way and we had recovered our "work is fun" attitude. Now she is a respected executive in a cutthroat company, and her brother is an international human rights lawyer.

Mostly child-raising needs vigilance, fairness and courage. I choose to be a stay-at-home Mum, so I could taylor my child-raising to the needs of each day and importantly each child. I worked from home too, before it had a name.

Good luck to all conscientious parents.

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