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Get Your Kids to Do Chores & Make It Last!

Get Your Kids to Do Chores & Make It Last! @NotSoIdleHands.com

All parents know the struggle {and if you’ve never been there….I want your kids to come hang out with mine!}: How the heck do you get those cute kiddos of yours to help out with the household chores without a fight….or at least no bloodshed?

It’s so stinking hard just to get the kids to go do the chores and when they even comply, they don’t complete them the right way….and so you have to take even more time out of your busy day to re~do the cleaning and picking up.

So then we give up and stop asking.

Me and the hubs believe in having the kids do chores. Not only does it make life easier on us as parents, but having the whole family pitch in give us all more time to do more fun things as a family and make more fun memories together.

We also know that chores also helps give our kiddos a sense of pride in their home and ability to help out.

Kids will, early in life, develop a sense of ownership of  their environment and their place as a member of the family. Chores help teach kids about responsibility too, that will carry on later in life when they  start getting jobs, go off to college, and move out into places of their own.

So down to the million dollar question that every parent tears their hair out over:

“How to establish chores in our house, so it not a constant battle?”

Have the Big Talk

Start by talking things over with your spouse and decide on what chores to have the kids do. You need to decide what your kiddos are capable of doing right now and what to save for later. Make a list.

Write down the “constant” chores that each child in the house will always be accountable for, like “put away your shoes” or “make your bed”. These are ones that they will be expected to do routinely.

Then, figure out the rotating chores for your house. Things like “do dishes”, “mow the lawn”, “feed the pets”, etc. Talk about how often you want these to rotate and what method or chart you want to use for this.

Get Your Kids to Do Chores & Make It Last! @NotSoIdleHands.com

We use this magnetic chore chart and it has worked great and can grow as our kids grow. You can see the instructions on how to make it here.

Get Your Kids to Do Chores & Make It Last! @NotSoIdleHands.com

I also have this chart I can personalize for you and you can print out to laminate or frame in my Etsy Shop. Then, just use a dry~erase marker to keep track each day/week.

Have the Little Talk

Ok, once the parents have a plan….it’s time to talk to the kids about it.

No, really….stop laughing. I’m serious. If you involve the kids in this big decision {that’s basically all about them by~the~way}, you will be surprised at how well they do with it.

Treat them with respect and start with something like “We have been talking and are going to implement a chore chart, but we want your imput and ideas to help us set it up.” Yes, they will be silly a bit and joke around….and will probably even protest about how much they already have to do blah, blah, blah. But be firm and tell them you understand, but this is something that everyone in the family needs to help out with.

Make sure to be serious and listen to their ideas too….be flexible with your plan as well. Seeing that you’re willing to compromise will go a loooooong way to helping them hop on board too. If you need, have a short talk the first night, and then approach the subject again once the idea has had time to sink it and hammer out the rest of the details.

If your kiddos are younger, that should go smoother and you can point out the fun aspects….like with our magnet one, our kids {even still} like being able to move the magnets around and the littles can see the pics if they can’t read the words yet. Younger kids love feeling like a big kid and being able to help mommy and daddy out with big~people things.

Do Your Sleuthing

Taking your kids’ ages and abilities into account, figure out who can do what chores. Littles will need simple 1~3 step chores and a lot of praise. Older kids can tackle the bigger, more complicated ones.

Focus On The Family has a great list that can help you figure these things out here. Check it out….really.

3, 2, 1, Launch!!

 Once you have all the details about what chores and who’s doing them, figure out how you’re going to keep track. You can make a chart, buy a chart, keep track on a chalkboard or whiteboard etc.

Make sure you are clear to the kiddos about when this goes into effect and the other specifics. Like, how often they are expected to get certain chores done and if you want to have certain days/times set aside for chores. Will they have daily chores and weekly chores….or is it all fine as long as it’s done by Saturday each week?

We have the rule of one chore per day {before or after school and they can pick as long as all their chores get done by Sat}. If we have been busy, then we do a make~up on Saturday Mornings.

Easy Does It

Yes, you are super excited and want to get this thing rolling…..like now! But, be careful not to overwhelm your kids with too much, too soon. Let them slide a little the first month before you drop the hammer and ground them for 6 months for not doing dishes.

We found that getting the kids to do their chores works best when we warn them before the expected “work time.” For example: “After this show is done, it’s time to go do one chore.”

Preparing them and also giving the kids a definite quantity they need to finish helps them not to get overwhelmed and burned out fast. We even tell remind them the night before: “remember to try to get a chore done before school tomorrow.” This seems to help the girls plan out their morning a little better if we jog their memories right before bed.

And remember….don’t try to load it all up at once. Your well~laid plans with quickly fall apart if you stress the kiddos out too often with high demands.

Class Is In Session

Ok, this is very important and needs to be talked about too. There will be a lot of chores you will have to take the time to teach your kids how to accomplish successfully.

We are not born knowing how to clean the bathroom or fold towels. Take the time to teach them how to do the chores you want them to do. If they don’t know and get in trouble for not doing them the right way, your chore system will not work right.

When implementing your chart, only add the chores you know they can be successful at….and then over time, teach the kids new ones to add. If it’s a muli~step chore {like cleaning the bathroom}, consider breaking it up into several smaller tasks til they can do it all by themselves. Like: toilet, sink, mirror, and tub can all be different chores and you can add them on as they learn how to clean each one.

You want them to succeed….this is a good thing for everyone in the house. Make sure you give them the tools and knowledge they need to do so.

 Perfection Is Overrated

Ok, so you have a certain way you like things done…but remember that these are kids and they won’t get it perfect. If there is something you simply have to have done “your way or the highway,” don’t put it on the chart for the kids to do. That’s ok….but don’t try to make your kids live up to unreachable standards. That won’t make for happy kiddos or happy parents.

Here, we don’t let the kids hand wash the dishes or load them in the dishwasher. I’m too OCD about how things are hand washed or loaded into the dishwasher, so I save myself {and the girls} the anxiety and leave those for me and the hubs. We do, however have them unload the dishwasher….and some day, maybe I’ll be able to let go enough to add the other 2 items…but not just yet.

About The Moolah

We discussed long and hard about the subject of allowance before we started having a chore chart and this is what we came up with:

We don’t give them one.

We decided that for our little family that we wanted the girls to understand that they are a part of family and should pitch in to help take care of the house without expecting to get paid to do so. It’s a reality they will face at some point anyways {when they move out, their roommate won’t give them $5 bucks to clean the bathroom, right?}, so why not implement it now?

But we did want to give them the opportunity to earn money at home with “extra chores.” These are chores that we feel are kind of above and beyond normal housekeeping chores. Things like, “cleaning the front porch”, or “wiping down all the baseboards.” We assign $$ amounts to each and have slowly raised that so as they get older and more aware of money and it’s value {and inflation}, they get a little more.

So there you have it….all the tricks I’ve learned the past 10 or so years! Now it’s time to take them for a test drive and see what works for your family. Use all these ideas, or just a few and in no time at all you can have a happier, tidier, less stressful home.

Have fun!

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About Emily Mcdonald

Emily McDonald is the owner of Not So Idle Hands and lives in Colorado with her hot hubby and 3 cute daughters. When she's not battling ADHD, Fibro, or Migraines she loves to be downstairs playing with all her pretty crafty things making fun stuff. She also runs an awesome Etsy Shop by the same name where she gets to sell shiny supplies to make pretty stuff {check it out!}.

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