No one likes to do chores, but they are a necessary part of life. Trying to get your child on-board can lead to power struggles, whining, and even tantrums. If the behavior is too bad, you may be tempted to do things yourself. Don’t give up. Learning to help around the house is an important part of growing up.
Make Sure They Know What You Expect
Assign chores that are within your child’s abilities. A very young child may do chores alongside a parent. A teen should be capable of nearly any chore that needs doing around the house. Spend time showing your child exactly what you want to be done. Vague orders, like telling them to clean their room, will end in frustration. Instead, let them know they need to make up their bed, pick up toys, dust their furniture, and clean their floor.
If your child is resistant to completing chores, assigning him the same tasks can help strengthen the habit. For example, having them clean up the kitchen after dinner each night, rather than cleaning the kitchen one night, sweeping the floors another. On the other hand, if your child complains about chores being boring, assign them a variety of tasks at the beginning of the week. They can work through the list all week, crossing off tasks as they go.
Assign a Time for Chores
Left to their own devices, chores may never be done. This is natural and no reason for concern. Many adults struggle with developing a cleaning routine. Making time in the schedule each day to complete chores helps ensure they are done. Designate 20 minutes after dinner as chore time, for example. A child that is resistant to chores will notice if the parents are completing their chores at the same time.
Creating time in the schedule for chores on weeknight evenings allows you to leave weekends free. If you have battled with your child all week on chores, this is their time to catch up. If they have completed their chores all week, they have the weekend off. Plan something fun as a reward for good work. This can help break a negative chore cycle. Something as simple as a trip out for ice cream or visit to the local park shows your child the benefits of completing their chores.
Put phones and tablets away and turn off the television during chore time. Playing some upbeat music while you are doing chores can make the task more fun. Anything that will distract, however, should be put away before it is time to work.
Arrange chores, so you and your child are working close to each other. This can be a great time to catch up on the day. Children often crave this one on one attention. They may even start looking forward to chore time as a way to connect.
Refusing To Work Means No Play
If, despite your efforts, your child is still refusing to do chores, take firmer action. Start by taking away privileges until the chore is complete. The chores may pile up for a few days before your child relents. Sitting alone, while other family members do their chores, will get old.
Don’t shame your child. Let them know they have lost privileges until they get their chore list caught up. This allows them to jump in during chore time without feeling awkward. Once they get started on their chores, note their attitude. If they seem willing to make an effort, volunteer to pitch in and help them get caught up. Showing that family members can help each other out further imprints the importance of completing chores.
Chores are Part of Life, Not Punishment
Everyone lives in the home, so it makes sense that everyone helps. Don’t be surprised if your child resists chores if you use them as punishment. It is also important to break the chores down into manageable sized assignments. Facing a huge job on their own will feel like punishment, even if you don’t mean it that way.