How to Get Kids to Help Around the House (A Chore Chart for Kids You BOTH Will Love)
Life with kids can get messy. There’s no arguing that fact. Throw a few dogs, cats, toads…and crabs ( oh and don’t forget the husband) into the mix and sometimes it can feel like you have a mountain of housework to scale. Whether making cupcakes or working on the coolest new science experiment life can be messy!
You’re not alone though, mama. If kids can make a mess they can easily help clean it up! Not only does helping with chores teach responsibility, but it also teaches important skills such as self-care, organization, and plenty of others!
There is some discretion out there when it comes to breaking down chores by age Perhaps you aren’t sitting here wondering “What chores should a 12 year old be doing?” or even “What chores should a 4 year old be doing?”. One of the most important things to take into account is your child’s personal abilities. Their strengths and weaknesses can lead you to choose chores that are appropriate for the individual rather than the age group. This is true for neurotypical kids as well as those on the spectrum.
There are some skills, however, that should at least be attempted by children at a certain age. Toddlers can help feel a sense of being part of the family more by helping to set the table. School-age kids can learn important skills by keeping their personal spaces (bedrooms or personal bathrooms) clean and even helping with the laundry. Teenagers aren’t very far from living on their own. They should be helping with many aspects of home care at this point to help equip them with skills that they will need when mom or dad isn’t there to do things for them.
Grab our Free Printable Chore Chart by Age
Not sure what chores your children should be doing? Grab a copy of our free guide to chores by age. Of course, this is just a guide and you should always adjust your child’s responsibilities according to their maturity level and skills.
How do you get them to do the chores without it being well….a chore? (See what I did there lol) There are so many chore charts and systems out there. This, again, will depend on your child and their personality. As a general rule, however, positive reinforcement will get better results than negative reinforcement. What is positive reinforcement? This means giving children recognition for a completed task rather than giving them negative attention or discipline for not completing the task. This understanding was especially important with my daughter who has DMDD, or Dysfunctional Mood Disregulation Disorder.
Does your child respond to rewards such as an ice cream or a movie night? This is a great example of positive reinforcement. Some parents may see this as bribing them. There’s the old argument that as adults we don’t get “job well done stickers”. However, it is important to remember that as adults rather than stickers we have a fully developed ability to put together the ideas of hard work and rewards (such as a clean house when friends come over or free time to read that book that’s been sitting on our nightstand for weeks). Letting children earn a reward for completing a task creates a positive connection in the brain. This is much more effective than creating a negative, or avoidance reaction in the brain.
There are great apps available that will help you create a token system that they can trade in for prizes. You could also go with a printed chart or even a dry erase board. As a I have one neurotypical child and one with multiple behavioral and emotional diagnoses I employ a variety of methods. What works for one child may not work for others. It is important to find a chore system or chore chart that works for your child as an individual and stick with it long enough to build those positive connections. (This means you have to consistently do your part too, though, and pay out what your children earn.)
Younger children, and some older ones, really enjoy the response of getting a physical item for completing a chore. This could be as simple as a sticker or piece of candy. (However, use caution with using food as a reward. This can lead to unhealthy habits later in life.) Collecting stickers on a star chart or in a sticker book (Does anyone use those anymore? You weren’t cool unless you had a sticker book when I was a kid…with the puffy or scratch & sniff stickers of course!)
Older kids can start earning an allowance. This can be based on a per chore cost ( my personal favorite) or a flat fee per month if all items required of them are done. I have found that in a lot of instances, however, there is little responsibility or tracking with this method. A good way to avoid this is to use the token system, and then tokens are turned in for money.
The absolute BEST chore reward system for kids that we have found is based on doing chores for something that is truly motivating for our ages. (10 and 12). It also helps to tackle a huge issue that we were having in our house…screen time! Not only was there an argument of who got the computer or Xbox or TV (because of course once one got on one thing the other wanted to use it), but there was just an overall problem with too much screen time.
It’s so hard with this generation. It seems like everything revolves around the screen, and I’m happy to let them engage with friends online or on their phones. However, where do we draw the line and say enough is enough? Mine were nearly spending all day glued to some type of media. I had finally had enough of the arguing and screen zombies.
Using this system we have cards with each chore that needs doing. On the back of each card is the amount of screen time the chore is worth. Through doing chores they earn the day’s screen time. But wait…there’s more! We have a signup sheet each day in which they can sign up for the amount of time they have earned. (A dry erase board works great for this!) Certain times, such as lunch or family time, are blocked out and not available for anyone to sign up for. We do something like rock, paper, scissors or a coin flip to decide who gets to sign up first.
Thanks to this simple chore system we not only get everything done with no “She got an easier chore than I did” because everyone chooses what they want to do on any particular day. We have also cut down arguments over using computers, gaming consoles, etc because everyone has their own time on them. Finally, we have cut down on screen time as there is only a certain amount of time each day that they can earn, and if they don’t earn it they don’t use it. (Yup, we have had days when chores weren’t done and no arguments when there was no screen time because they followed the system) It’s actually a little crazy how quickly and easily this worked!
Of course, it’s important to give them the right tools for the job. A good way of doing this is to set up a shower caddy with cleaning supplies. By doing this, they can grab and go without all of the “I can’t find it so I can’t do it.” Having high quality, easy to use items for them to use makes chores less of a chore for anyone.
One of my favorite “easy to use” items is the Clorox All-Purpose cleaner which is specially designed to clean and disinfect a variety of stains on a variety of surfaces making it an easy go-to for a variety of tasks! The awesome Smart Tube Technology®, lets them spray every last drop too!
Pair this cleaner with Viva Big Roll towels ( with 40% more compared to Viva regular roll) and the job gets done quickly and without hassles. The soft but strong towels hold up to just about any cleaning job you can throw at them.
Visit your local Walmart and pick up your own Clean Squad of Viva paper towels and Clorox cleaning spray!Starting 6/21 save $.50 off any Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Spray varieties and beginning July 5th, save $1 off any Viva Paper Towels 6 pack or larger.
Have you tried the pick-up service at Walmart yet? You don’t even have to get out of your car! You can bundle Viva Towels + Clorox Clean-Up through the pick-up service and save even more!
( coupon offer not valid with bundle offer)
Note: This deal has expired. However, PIck Up at Walmart is still active and super helpful!
If you have used the pickup service comment below and let me know how it went for you! I just love these services that have been showing up in certain stores. Walmart has to be the most convenient one I have seen though, they have everything!!
I would love to hear from you if you try the chore system out too! Did it work for you? Did you make any changes? Good luck mama!!
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