Chores don’t have to always be a war. However, the most efficient, well thought out family plan will have some challenges in the beginning. Children will never choose chores over playing the X-box or checking out their Faceback page but you can get them to do them without a fight. You have to make the commitment though and stick with it.
Here are some strategies to get the kids doing chores without all the nagging and fighting:
You are your worst enemy
First let me introduce you to your worst enemy. That is you! Most parents sabotage themselves and create more conflict than the children do. You might remember a time where you got angry and frustrated at the lack of help you were getting and called a family meeting, made chore charts and started your kids off on chores; only to have it all be ignored a week later. If you are like most parents this happens time and again. You need to break this cycle. Set-up your chores and schedule and stick with it!
Stick to it
Housework is a part of life and has to get done. It is beneficial to your children and teaches them skills they will carry with them throughout their life. There is no reason or excuses for any family member not contribute to the household. Remember this every time your child tries to manipulate, nag or argue to get out of doing the chores. If you remind yourself of this then it will be easier to stick to the chore schedule.
Get the kids moving
Now you have yourself straight and are ready to stick with it; so how do you get the kids moving? Invest in a kitchen timer. What? Yep you read it right, get a kitchen timer. With a timer you make things black and white. There is no wiggle room to argue, nag or complain. So how does it work you wonder.
It is really simple. The kids know the chores need to be done. You have set a time frame that the chores need to be done by – before their tv program starts, before dinner, right after school or such – choose what works best for your house. You have already explained there will be a consequence for the chores not being done. Now instead of fighting, nagging or yelling at the kids when the chores aren’t done, you set the timer, tell the kids when the timer goes off the consequence will be enforced. This gives them one chance to follow through and do their chores.
We all know kids will push you to the limit and test boundaries to see what they can get away with. They will argue, negotiate and flat out refuse if it gets them out of their chores. With the timer there is no arguing and negotiating. The kids know the consequence and now have a definite time that can’t be argued and you as the parent are being fair by allowing them this one chance to do their chores.
You must follow through. If the timer goes off and the chores aren’t done then apply the consequence. Don’t slack off over time and expect the kids to follow through. Some kids will get in a routine and start doing the chores and the timer won’t be necessary whereas others will continue to be a challenge. If you slack off and don’t follow through they will see this and instantly start pushing the limits again.
Participation is key
If you have read through the other articles on chores you will have seen that I am an advocate for the entire family contributing not just the children. You will have an easier time getting your kids to do chores if they see you are contributing as well. In my house we all have chores assigned and we all participate. I can’t say that was always the way. My kids were responsible for the chores while I worked. They complained one day that I don’t ever do anything and I thought they were insane. I work 8 hours a day?!?!? I considered that my contribution to the household. My oldest son then pointed out that they all go to school and have homework for 7-8 hours a day and still have to do chores. He had a valid point so when chore assigning day came around we all got assigned chores. Kids understand fair and even though life isn’t always fair there is no sense purposefully making it unfair.
Children and chores go together to parents but to kids they are like oil and water. It would be wonderful to have all kids just accept that chores are a part of life and do them with a smile on their face but that is just a pipe dream. If you remain calm, remember that chores are beneficial for children, stick with the plan and make things black and white it will definitely be easier.