Norton Seal Kids helping with house chores

Safe and Happy Family

The Smart Guide to Kids and Chores

Kids vs. chores — is there any greater rivalry in the history of households? It’s doubtful. As much as kids despise doing chores, these menial tasks are an important part of growing up and learning the life skills needed to become a productive (and clean!) adult. So how do you get your child to thrive while washing dishes or vacuuming the living room? Okay, ‘thrive’ might not be the right word to use, but — you can use them as methods to teach them the art of responsibility, and keep a clean house in the process.

Structure their time. If a kid has to choose between video games and loading the dishwasher, you bet your bottom dollar that chore time will lose out every time. That’s why it’s important to have a set schedule and time of day to do chores. That way, you’re not competing against activities your child would rather be doing.

Listen closely. There will be times — or many — where your child will grumble, reason, or flat out refuse to do their chores. Instead of yelling or reprimanding them, have a conversation first. Find out why they are unable to complete the chore, and if there is a way to fix that roadblock. After all, if you’re expecting your child to have adult responsibilities, it’s best to talk to them like an adult as well.

Make it fun. Find ways to incorporate fun into chore time. Whether it’s making it a timed competition, or cranking up the music to turn an afternoon of cleaning into a family dance party, infusing chores with fun make cleaning a tad more manageable.

Don’t punish. If one of your children misbehaves, don’t assign extra chores as punishment. After all, that’s what a good old-fashioned time out is for, right? It’s important that chores aren’t associated with negative behaviors. Remember, the goal of having your little ones do chores is to teach them responsibilities and life skills.

Use rewards. One of the most effective ways to get your kids to do chores is to use a reward system. It might be earning an allowance every week, or using a chart to keep track of chores completed — anyway you do it, your kids have a reason to get their chores completed every week.

With a little finesse, your family can rock chore time, and your household will likely benefit in the long run. Important lessons learned, and the lawn mowed regularly? We’d call that a win-win!

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