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Kids & Chores Can Mix
Persuading children to do chores can be a chore in itself!

It's a good idea for parents to teach their children at an early age that all family members must work together to make the household run, and that each person must do his or her share of the work load. This can be done by beginning a programme of chores and responsibilities when children are young.

Chores are beneficial for children - even very young ones. Being responsible for doing chores teaches children many important skills such as co-operation and responsibility. Chores will also teach your children about fairness and commitment. The skills and values learned by doing chores will benefit children throughout their lives.

Start Early

Parents should start giving their children household responsibilities when they are young. Most toddlers love to help their parents. Take advantage of this desire and give your kids small and simple tasks.

Show Them How To Do the Chore

Your children need to know exactly what's expected of them. It's a good idea to make sure your children know exactly what their duties are. Thoroughly go over the duties required, and actually show your children how to do the chore at hand.

Break Down the Chore Into Small Parts

When teaching chores, try breaking each one down into small parts. For example, instead of telling a child to clean his bedroom and leaving it at that, list all of the things that make up the chore of cleaning the bedroom, like changing the sheets, picking up toys and putting them away, dusting the dresser, and vacuuming.

Explain

Children need to know why pitching in and helping is important. Explain that doing chores benefits the whole family, and that every person must do his or her part to keep things going smoothly.

Change the Nature of Chores as Children Grow

As children grow, they can be given more challenging chores. See our guide to age-appropriate chores for more assistance. It's a starting point for assigning your children chores that they are capable of and will challenge them.

Monitor at First

At first, try and be available to answer your child's questions and give guidance if needed. Initially, you can inspect their work to make sure the job is being done correctly. The younger your children are, the more supervision they will need. After children have become accustomed to their new duties, feel free to cut back on monitoring and inspecting.




Set Up a Reward System or a Chart System

A reward or chart system is a fun and visual way to encourage co-operation. A few guidelines:
  • Make a list of the criteria for successful completion of the chore and display it in a prominent location in your home
  • Make a mark on the chart for each completed chore. If your children are old enough, they'll be able to mark too. (Avery® Merit Stickers are the perfect fun way to reward children each time they complete a chore.)
  • Award points that can be traded in for a desired reward, or simply give a desired reward in exchange for the completion of agreed-upon chores
  • Discuss the rewards with your children. Instead of material rewards like lollies or toys, it is better if rewards are non-material, such as a trip to the park with you, or being allowed to stay up a half hour past bedtime.
  • Prizes can be awarded daily or weekly. For younger children, it is probably best to have daily rewards. For older children, rewards can be given weekly. Try creating a merit chart, following our step by step instructions.

Provide Logical Consequences

Instead of, or in addition to, a reward or chart system, you can apply logical consequences. Logical consequences occur naturally as a result of children's actions. For example, if one of your children repeatedly forgets to put his bike away at the end of the day, a logical consequence would be not being allowed to use the bicycle for a few days. You should decide upon consequences in advance, in consultation with your children, and always follow through on applying them.

Don't Repeatedly Remind or Nag

Try to avoid falling into the trap of repeatedly reminding and/or nagging your children to complete their chores. Such reminding puts the responsibility for completion of the chores on you. Instead, make sure that your kids are given the sole responsibility for the completion of their chores. If one of them forgets or refuses to do a chore, say nothing and simply apply the consequences.

Don't Do the Chore If Your Child Forgets or Refuses

Don't do your children's work for them. If you become frustrated and give in and do their chores, you children will learn a number of things. First of all, they will learn that you don't mean what you say and will not follow through. Secondly, they will learn that if they hold out long enough someone will do their chores for them. Just apply consequences until your children comply.

Provide Lots of Praise

You should always provide lots of praise and encouragement when your kids make an effort to do their chores. Keep praising, even after they have been consistently doing a chore well.

One More Piece of Advice...

Who really loves completing chores all of the time? Very few of us! So, be patient with your children some times, and try and work out times when they will help, and other times when they'll be free to play. Best of luck to you!

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