Motivating kids to help around the house

Somedays I’d rather have a root canal than clean house, so imagine how bad the kids hate it?!

This summer I have challenged myself to come up with ways to get them to help, while avoiding what usually happens around here when it’s time for chores.  Allowance wasn’t enough motivation for immediate action. By trial and error I’ve come up with a short list of 10 things to do to get your kids motivated to help at home.

  1. Give them a list and let them tell you the 3 things they’ll do immediately. The rest has to be done by Friday*
  2. I recently started clipping coupons.So I get their help cutting these since cutting paper up is always fun! they cut and sort one night a week when I’m fixing dinner so we’re together . This has let to many great conversations! “mom, what’s this?”  “can we have this for dinner” “how to cook this”.  Each of them gets to cut coupons for something they’d like at the store too! This serves triple duty, the coupons are cut,  they no longer feel like they’re being dragged to the store because they’re involved in the proces, Plus they’re learning about money.
  3. I make it a teamwork effort. I will help you do this, if you help me do that. Cleaning the closet went a lot faster in my oldest one’s room with my help. Then she helped go through my closet and donate items I no longer wanted. We made a run to the charity drop off  location together with our stuff. Grabbed an Icee on the way back. She felt really good after donating her old toys! Chores neither of us wanted to do–Done!
  4. Rotate with them. I will load the dishes, she unloads or  vise versa. I usually let her pick which one she wants
  5. give them some time without chores! My kids have a few things they have to do everyday. (pick up toys and games when they’re done, put clothes in the hamper, etc.) but the list I give them on Monday..they do 3 right away, and the rest is done by Friday. They have control of it. Finish the list by Friday-your friend can spend the night!
  6. Each time they help me with something, I do something with them. Not BUY something–DO something fun! We played basketball last night after cleaning the kitchen. I had a water balloon battle with them after bathing the dog! It’s their pick what we do.
  7. Keep their chores simple. My girls are 9 and 3  I have to make age an appropriate list of chores. If you overwhelm a kid, they’re not going to help you.
  8. I tell my girls that during school their grades are their job. So during summer, chores are the job. I’m the teacher! If they don’t do the work-they won’t pass! “NO PASS/NO PLAY”.  I keep a little “report card” and they’re motivated to do it because they get the same rewards for chores that they get for A’s during the school year. This has actually been fun with my 9 year old.
  9. Turn up the music! Everything’s more fun with a beat in the background. Dance and sing with them. It’s great excercise (and mom, it does makes the laundry fold better!)
  10. I always compliment them on the job, even if i redo it when they aren’t looking! Kids are little’ll get a whole lot more from them with strokes and appreciation than you will by pointing out what they didn’t do.

So far, these tips have eased the chore war at our house. I don’t have them cleaning the whole house or mowing the yard–they’re too little. I am seeing them jump in and offer help on many things. I cleaned the garage last Saturday–4 little helpers, 2 not mine. All showed up to see what they could do to help. Turned out to be fun for all of us! \

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve figured out this works so much better than spurring on them, ‘do this or do that’…they ignore you, you get mad, they’re grounded.

The best tip, Have Patience! Kids are kids.

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About tweenspot

I am like so many moms raising young girls, scared I'm doing the right thing and learning with pure amazement at the same time! I feel like I have become my mother (don't we all) favorite phrase is "today things are so different than when I/we grew up". The absolute hysteria in that phrase scares me too. I don't want to be scared. I like to think that as a professional, working, college educated women that I can embrace the world we live in. That's why I have been researching Tweens, what they like, do, what's hot and what's trends are going to cost me a fortune in the future! My little girls are the love of my life. By creating this blog, I want a safe internet place for girls and moms to share. This blog is in the infancy stage, but I have big plans for it. So stay tuned.... Read, enjoy, comment. Visit as often as you'd like. I hope together we can build a community for girls and moms to explore, learn and share with one another.

2 responses to “Motivating kids to help around the house”

  1. tinywolfwrites says :

    Loved this post. You should consider becoming a contributor to, which launches on Oct 7. I’m a contributor now, and I know the site is looking for fresh new tips from excellent writers. Be on the lookout for it. I hope you’ll load your tips because these are outstanding.

  2. tweenspot says :

    Thank you. I will check out that site. Being a contributor will be an honor to me. I appreciate this more than you will ever know.

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