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How to Get Your Kids to Do Their Chores

Getting your kids to do their chores is easier said than done. I’m sure I’m not the only one who tried to excuse myself early from dinner when I was a kid, hoping I could get out of doing the dishes.

Kids don’t want to do chores. And who can blame them?

Still, somehow you have to find a way to get little Tommy or Emily to do their chores. It helps to teach them responsibility and hard work.

And of course, it helps you not have to do chores, which is nice too.

With that in mind, today we are going to discuss a couple simple ways to get your young ones to do their chores, but first, an interesting study on the effectiveness of chores for helping children find success in life (in case you were thinking of giving up and just doing the dishes on your own).

How to Get Your Kids to Do Their Chores

1. An Interesting Study on the Effectiveness of Chores

Marty Rossman, associate professor at the University of Minnesota, conducted a study back in the early 2000’s to determine the effects of childhood chores on young adult’s success. His findings illustrate just how important chores are for children.

In fact, Rossmann determined that the best predictor of young adults' success was that they participated in household tasks when they were toddlers.

Not only that, those that didn’t begin participating until they were 15 or 16, saw the participation backfire and were less "successful” later in life.

So if you were thinking of giving in to your children and just hiring a cleaning service or doing the chores yourself, don’t do it.

Stay strong. It’s the best thing you can do for your kids(and of course, yourself).

2. Set A Good Example

“Never ask your employees to do something you wouldn't be willing to do yourself.”

-John T. Chambers former CEO of Cisco

Before you can ask your children to do their chores, they have to see you do them yourself. This is a tactic taken from great leaders of fortune 500 companies like John T. Chambers, but it applies to more than just programmers and executives.

Yes, even your little ones will feel better about their ‘work’ if they’ve seen you do it yourself. So, don’t forget to set a good example.

3. A Carrot On A Stick

Having a reward in mind is helpful for anyone, kids included. If you can give your kids a carrot on a stick so to speak, then you’ll be one step closer to having the dishes done and the trash taken out.

Rewards don’t always have to be monetary either. Try giving your young one some extra time before bedtime, or letting them have a piece of their favorite candy after dinner.

What’s important is clearly setting goals and rewards for when those goals are completed.

4. Set A Time Limit

Setting a time limit for your kids to get their chores done may be the only way to make any progress with some children.

For all those procrastinators out there, we know sometimes there’s nothing like a time limit for a little motivation.

Setting a time limit, with consequences or a reward at the end, is one of the best ways to get your kids motivated to do their chores.

For example, instead of just saying ‘pick up your room!’, try saying something like ‘pick up your room by this afternoon and I’ll take you for ice cream!’ or ‘pick up your room by tonight, or you can’t go to your friends tomorrow.’

This may sound too nice or too harsh for your parenting style but both of these tactics are great ways to bring the real world into chores. Just like in life, everything has consequences, good or bad.

5. Give Them A Why

One thing that parents often forget when trying to get their children to do their chores is to show them why.

Why are chores important? Why does it matter that the dishes are clean?

One recent article from NPR dissected why poor Mexican children in the Yucatan peninsula are so willing to help their parents do chores.

Researchers found it wasn’t that these parents were giving more rewards or punishments to their kids, rather it was that the children understood why they were helping. They knew their parents worked hard and wanted to help.

If you can show your kids at a young age, what happens when you don’t have clean dishes, or when you don’t take the trash out, it might just be the motivation they need to get their chores done.

6. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Making chores a team event is another great way to get your kids to help around the house. Once again it helps to show kids they are a part of the team, just like the poor children in the Yucatan village.

Of course, not every chore can be done with teamwork. You’ll have to select age-appropriate chores for each child, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work together.

For example, you might try making a game out of the garbage, seeing who can take it out the fastest. Or you might try getting your kid to wash your car with you.

Give them a job like washing the tire walls and tell them how important it is, then works as a team to get the job done. As they say, ‘teamwork makes the dream work’.

When all is said and done, getting kids to do chores can be a pain, but it’s well worth it.

Not only will it save you time, but having chores as a responsibility during your younger years has been proven to make for better outcomes for young adults.

So even if it’s a struggle, teach your child the value of hard work and responsibility through chores, in the long run, you’ll be happy you did.