Our Kids: Chores

The following tips courtesy Dick Berry of Youth Alternatives.

Chores are one of the great ways to help kids be responsible and learn about contributing to the family. However this is one area where struggles can occur. Parents are often frustrated because they can’t get their kids to do their chores.

I want to do a 2 part series on chores. Today we will set up the basic structure for chores, and next week we will trouble shoot chore problems


1. Commit to both chore goals:
1. Teach responsibility,
2. Get the chore done

The short cut of doing the chore yourself, to get it done quickly and properly, doesn’t teach them responsibility nor how to do the job. In the long run this causes you and them problems.

2. Set the expectation that everyone does chores
There are no exceptions, even if you are a Prince, or a Princess, or a favorite child, or the baby of the family, or the even the dad, or the mom. Everyone should participate and do chores. No one is exempt.

3. Make jobs age appropriate in size and number
a. Young child 3-5 can pick up toys, gather up garbage, put dishes
in sink
b. Elementary aged child can clear the table, do the dishes, help
with meals
c. Teenager can mow lawn, do dishes, help with meals
d. Focus problem kids: do one chore, check, reward move on to
next chore
4. Set up rewards and consequences
a. Teach, explain, show what you want done
b. Reward comes after the chore is successfully completed, not '
c. Reinforce his effort - “thank you, good effort”, perhaps
allowance, praise the good he has done, and expect him to do it
to a reasonable standard
d. Be willing to check it twice, but only twice. If not done right on the
second check he gets no credit for the job
e. Set a deadline for the completion of the chore. Don’t keep
nagging him about getting it done. When the deadline is past,
use the consequence for failing to do the chore in the allotted
time frame. Failing to do the chore cannot be free.

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