Read on to get the best tips on how to get your kids to do chores. No more nagging. No more begging. No more bribing.
As parents, we’re told that making our kids do chores is a great way to build character and help teach them to be more responsible. And while that may be true, actually getting your kids to do their chores can be easier said than done.
If you’re struggling to get your kids to do their daily chores, you should know that you’re not alone! In fact, I think arguing about chores may be one of the most common disagreements among families.
There are some general tips you can follow when you want to know how to get your kids to do their chores, but one of the most important things to know is that every age is different.
What works to motivate a toddler won’t necessarily work for a teenager.
Because of this, each age group should be given special consideration when getting them to do their chores.
If you’re at a loss for the best way to handle your child’s age group, here are the best ways to approach getting your child to do their chores—according to their age.
How to Get Kids to do Chores By Age
Toddlers have short attention spans, so it’s best to keep their chores short and to the point.
If there is a task that takes an hour to complete, reserve that one for an older child and leave the shorter tasks like wiping the table and refilling the pet bowl for young toddlers who can handle them.
Get your toddler to do her chores by making them repetitive so she’ll know what to expect each day. Also, make sure she has been shown and can do the chores that are assigned.
Keep her chores short and fun and you should have no problem getting your toddler to do chores.
Once they’re a bit older, let your kids take on more responsibility.
To get a young elementary aged kid to do chores, model what is expected of them. It does no good to assign a chore that they don’t know how to do.
At this age, they still operate best with concrete examples as opposed to theory. So don’t be afraid to show them how to take out the trash or unload the dishwasher or vacuum the floor.
Show your elementary aged child how to do it, so there’s less frustration and no nagging involved when it’s time to let them do their chores on their own.
Middle School Kids
At this age, kids have seen household chores modeled enough that they can take direct instruction and know how to do them. Granted, the chores are still appropriate for their age.
Middle school kids are also highly motivated by rewards.
To get your middle school aged child to do chores, make it clear what’s expected of them, write it out on a chart if necessary, and offer rewards or other incentives for completing them in a timely fashion.
Related: The Best Chores for 8-9 Year Olds
Tweens and Teens
Tweens and teens are old enough to get things done without being nagged, or constantly reminded.
They’ve already spend years watching mom model and do chores so they know what needs to get done to keep the house running smoothly.
They’ll often take the initiative to get things done on their own but sometimes, they will need to be told to do things that are not a part of the daily routine.
To get your tweens and teens to do their chores, especially those that they don’t remember because they aren’t daily tasks, try these tips.
At the beginning of the week, have them write out things that need to be completed before week’s end that are beyond the usual scope of their daily chores.
This could be things like washing the car, cleaning out the garage or washing the windows.
This way they’ll know to get their regular chores done, but also have a handy reminder of the extra things they need to do.
Tips to Get Kids to do Chores
Although each age should be approached differently, there are a few general steps you can take that will work for every age.
So, if you’re still wondering how to get kids to do chores? Just follow these seven simple tips!
Make Chores a Priority
Most kids don’t like doing their chores – and there’s really no way of getting around that fact.
Wouldn’t you rather watch TV or play with toys instead of tackling the laundry or doing dishes?
Chores are boring tasks that probably don’t engage your kids the way other activities do. That’s why it’s important to make chores a priority in your home.
Start by ridding your kids of distractions that may keep them from doing their chores in the first place.
Make a rule that your kids will not have access to those distractions – whether it’s their favorite show on TV or playing a video game – until their chores are done.
Then, once their assigned tasks are finished, your kids can be free to do whatever they want for the rest of the day.
Outline Their Responsibilities
If your kids don’t know what chores they’re supposed to do each day, it can be difficult for them to finish the task.
Make sure each of your kids knows exactly what’s expected of them by outlining their responsibilities on a chore chart.
Display the chart in an easily accessible spot, like the refrigerator or a wall in their room, then make sure your kids check the chart each day.
While chore charts are a pretty common way to outline your kid’s daily responsibilities, there are a few different ways you can create a chore chart:
- If your kids are responsible for the same tasks each day, simply make a list of their chores and post them in a prominent spot.
- If your kids have different chores each day of the week, create a calendar style chore chart that lists the responsibilities they have each day.
- Make the chore chart a reward system by letting your kids place stickers or stars next to the chores they complete.
- Don’t use a chart at all. Instead, fill a jar with tasks and let your kids pick which chores they do each day.
Give an Allowance
Sometimes, kids need a little incentive to get the job done.
If you feel like money may make chores a little more tolerable for your kids, tie their allowance to their chores.
In addition to helping your children learn to work for their allowance, tying their chores to their weekly allowance is also a great way to incentivize kids to do chores.
If your children complete all their chores each week without issue, give them their full allowance. But if they slack on their chores or you have to constantly remind them to finish the job, deduct a portion of their allowance that week.
Make it a Family Event
Children learn a lot just by watching you.
If they see you and your partner working hard around the house, they’re more likely to see the importance of the role they play in the household.
To reinforce the importance of family housework, make chore time a family event. Pick a time each day when everyone in the household will complete their chores – including you and your partner. During that time, each family member should complete their assigned tasks.
And when you’re finished, you all can move on to more exciting activities together!
While an allowance is a great incentive, there are other ways to reward your kids for doing chores.
Rewards are a great way to motivate your children to finish a task, and they don’t have to be overly complicated or expensive to work.
These simple rewards can be powerful motivators for your kids to finish their chores:
- Stickers or stars next to a finished task on a chore chart
- Letting your child pick the movie you watch on movie night or game you play on game night
- Taking your kids out for ice cream at the end of the week
- Making a special treat, like cookies or brownies, when the chores are completed
- Paying your kids a dollar amount for each chore finished (like $0.25 per chore)
- Letting them stay up past their bed time
- Giving them extra screen time
- Offering extra words of praise or a high five
Set a Time Limit
Creating a time limit for finishing chores is like making chores a game, which is a great way to help your kids get the job done in a timely manner.
Simply tell your kids that they have 30 minutes to finish their chores and if they’re not finished in the given time frame, they’ll receive a small consequence (like losing screen time or going to bed early).
In addition to providing a little bit of structure to the activity, time limits also help you reduce the need to nag.
Let Your Kids Have a Say
While there are certain chores that need to be finished each day, making sure your kids get each of those tasks accomplished may be a little easier if your kids feel like they have a choice in the matter.
There are a few ways you can give your kids a voice when it comes to chores:
- Let your kids pick which chores they complete each day. List the chores that need to be completed and let your kids decide among themselves who does what – as long as all the chores on the list are finished each day.
- Ask your kids when they would like to do their chores. Whether they’d rather do their chores as soon as they get home from school or after dinner each evening, letting them decide the time of day they do their tasks will make them a little more likely to finish the job.
- Give them a choice of reward. Rewards can be a valuable incentive for kids. And if you let them pick their reward each week, they’ll definitely be more motivated to finish their chores.
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.
The Bottom Line on Getting Kids to do Chores
With these simple tactics, getting your kids to do their chores may be a little easier.
But keep in mind that each child is different. And while one tactic may work well with one child, it may not be successful with another. Finding the right balance can be difficult at times, but don’t give up!
Chores are an important part of a child’s life, so ensuring your kids accept the responsibilities they have in your household is essential.
Keep working your way through this list of tips to find what works best for your family. And when it finally clicks with your kids, you’ll be so happy you took the time to end the cycle of nagging and battling with your kids over chores.