8 Easy Consequences for Not Doing Chores

It happens. Sometimes kids just won’t cooperate. These consequences for not doing chores will gently demonstrate to your kids that they’ll have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

Chores are great for teaching your kids responsibility, but what happens when your kids don’t do their chores?

There are a variety of ways you can motivate your kids to do their chores, but if you’ve tried to motivate them to no avail, it may be time to let them deal with the consequences.

Instead of doling out traditional punishments for skipping their chores – which always makes you look like the bad guy, why not turn the tables and give your kids consequences for not doing their chores instead?

What are Consequences?

Consequences are often natural occurrences that happen after doing something (or not doing something).

Sometimes, your kids will experience consequences on their own. For example, if your child refuses to wear a hat in cold weather their head will get cold as a result. That will probably mean they’ll wear their hat next time you tell them it’s cold outside.

While many negative actions often have natural consequences, other negative behavior from your kids needs a little parental intervention to create consequences for their actions.

Your kids aren’t going to be affected if the dishes aren’t done or the trash isn’t taken out, which means you’re going to have to get a little bit creative!

Since your kids aren’t likely to be impacted by incomplete chores, these chores are one of those areas where you’ll need to get involved to create consequences.

Consequences Versus Punishment

Although it’s tempting to create consequences that actually serve as a punishment, like no screen time for the week, there are a few ways to distinguish between a consequence and a punishment or turn a traditional punishment into a consequence.

First of all, consequences are designed to help teach your children a lesson. That way, your child will learn from her behavior and will be less likely to repeat the action in the future.

The first step toward issuing consequences for unfinished chores is to make sure your kids know exactly what’s expected of them.

Outline their daily chores on a chart or list that is easily accessible to all your children, then sit down with them and tell them what you expect them to do each day.

Give them a little bit of a grace period to adjust to the change, then begin implementing the consequences after that time frame.

To ensure your consequences help teach a lesson about the importance of completing chores, start by creating consequences that are related to negative behavior. Then, make sure any consequences for not doing chores that are issued are reasonable based on their age and skill level.

Next, make sure your kids know about the consequences ahead of time. While you may not be able to give them an exact consequence for not doing their chores, it’s a good idea to let them know that there will be repercussions for undone chores.

Finally, be sure to follow through with those consequences.

If you don’t apply the consequences or haphazardly use consequences when chores aren’t complete, your kids won’t learn from the behavior and are more likely to repeat it in the future.

Staying organized and consistent with your expectations, rewards, and consequences is the best way to create a structured routine for your family.

Consequences for Kids Not Doing Chores

Are you looking for some easy consequences for not doing chores? Here are a few ideas for you to implement the next time your kids skip their daily tasks.

1. Add More Chores

One of the easiest ways to teach your kids the impact of not doing their chores is to give them more chores.

While this may seem counter-intuitive, think about the true impact of not completing your daily housework.

What happens if you skip doing the dishes for the day? More dishes pile up, giving you more work the next day.

Teaching your children this concept is simple. If your kids skip their chores one day, make them do double the work the next. They’ll quickly see that a consequence for not finishing their daily task is having added work the following day.


Need more chore ideas?
Our ultimate age appropriate chores for kids guide has a list of chores for every age from toddlers through teens and ideas for making chores more fun for everyone.


2. Withhold Pay

If you give your kids an allowance for doing their chores each week, withhold their pay until the job is done.

Compare the payment of allowance to a paycheck and remind them that a traditional job wouldn’t pay for an incomplete job, so why should you?

You could skip payment for the week altogether or simply hold the pay until the job is done, then dole out the allowance after the chores are finished.

Help them understand that it’s not a punishment, but a real world consequence.

3. Tie Privileges to Chores

Your kids enjoy a variety of privileges throughout the day, from enjoying their favorite TV shows to playing games on their tablet. And attaching the use of those privileges to chores is another easy way to demonstrate the consequences for not doing chores.

The key to making the loss of TV or screen time connected to chores is to let your kids know that they earn those privileges with each chore they complete.

And if those chores aren’t done, they lose those privileges.

4. Set a Timer

If your kids are dragging their feet to get their chores done, set a timer and issue a consequence if the task isn’t finished in that amount of time.

This simple task is a great way to encourage your kids to finish in a timely manner or they’ll face an unwanted consequence if the timer rings before they’re done.

5. Do it Yourself

Again, this may seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out!

Sometimes, your kids may be skipping a task because they don’t know how to do it correctly, which can be frustrating.

Taking the time to demonstrate the task to your kids – and making them watch and then show you they can do it correctly, will not only serve as a consequence for an incomplete task, but may also be a helpful lesson that will ensure they do the chore right the next time.

6. Skip the Rewards

Since completing chores are part of your household rules, not doing those chores shouldn’t be rewarded.

Make sure that your kids know that if the chores aren’t done, they won’t be taking part in any rewarding activities, like going out for ice cream with friends or taking part in a school event.

Even if it’s hard to exclude your kids from school activities, this type of consequence is incredibly motivating for your kids.

7. Get the Kids Involved

Who better to tell you what they deem as consequential than your kids?

Hold a family meeting and ask your kids to write down some of the things they see as consequences for not doing their chores.

Then, implement those ideas the next time they skip a chore to remind them.

8. Say “If…Then”

If, after trying other consequences, your kids still aren’t getting their chores done, it may be time for an actual punishment. But there is a simple way to disguise that punishment as a consequence.

Simply create an “if…then” statement.

Tell your kids, “If you don’t take out the trash before dinner, then you won’t be able to watch your favorite show tonight.”

This simple statement instantly turns a punishment into a consequence for their actions (or nonactions).

More Chore Ideas for Kids

Wondering what kind of chores your kids 10 and older should be doing? Here is the BIG LIST of things they can handle as they get older.
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