How To Get Your Kids To Want To Do Chores

To read more about the contributing author Tove Maren, visit her blog, Mama In The Now.


“Can I PLEASE do some chores?!”

“Is it OK if I set the table after I clean my room?”

“He did more chores than I did. Can I please do some more? What would you like me to help you with?”

A few years ago, I would have NEVER expected to hear those words from our kids. But today they are a reality, a normal part of our daily lives. It’s both amazing and wonderful, and certainly not something I take for granted.

Two years ago, our big kids (then 7 and 5 years old) asked to do chores and wanted allowances. It was clearly time for us to have a good talk with them about their responsibilities at home.

They knew that we all pitch in to help each other, especially because we are a big family, they got that part. The boys had also learned that they have to contribute their own money to pay for toys they want outside of Christmas and birthdays.

My husband and I agreed, instead of handing the kids a set amount of money at the end of each week, we would rather incentivize them to do age-appropriate chores around the house. Some days I wonder if we are sending them the best message by “paying” them to help around the house. But the beauty of parenthood is that we have the right to change our minds at any given moment.

For now, I tell myself that we are teaching them about fiscal responsibility and they need to earn their allowances. It’s the message we are sending them at the present time. If revisions are necessary, we will handle those as eloquently as we navigate any curveballs this fun game of parenting throws us.

This project was a lot of fun to prepare for them. It is simple, quick and inexpensive to implement!

Our System: Chore Sticks!

  • This system is great for younger kids, as it gives them control over how much they earn each week and which chores they do.
  • We kept the chores simple, fun and age appropriate. The object of the “game” is to teach the kids that they earn more when they work harder. This a great incentive if there is a particular toy they are saving up for.
  • The main jar contains all the “chore sticks” at the beginning of each week.
  • Each day they will pick one or more chores to complete.
  • Once they have done a chore the corresponding stick is moved to the jar with their name.
  • There are also “Bonus Star” sticks, which we, the parents, may put in their jar if we see they are doing something super special.
  • Once their sticks have been earned they cannot be taken away from them, except for the “Bonus Star” – that stick may be removed if they misbehave.
  • At the end of the week, their sticks are counted and they receive $0.25 per stick. Then all the sticks are returned to the main jar in preparation for a new week.

The verdict: Our kids LOVE the chore system. They embrace the control they have over how much they earn each week, and they make sure to complete one or two chores each day.

Supplies needed:

• Glass jars

Paint

Popsicle sticks

Marker

Ribbon

Glue

• Sand

Jars:

  1. Wash and dry the jars. If you use pasta sauce jars, soak them in soapy water for 30 minutes to easily remove the label. Make sure the inside of the jar is thoroughly clean, so the paint adheres.
  2. Pour paint INSIDE the jar, squirting it as far back into the jar as possible. Work over the kitchen sink, so the excess paint drips out. Swirl and move the jar around until the entire inside is coated with paint.
  3. Place the painted jar upside down on top of several pieces of paper towels. Depending on how much excess paint there is, you will have to change the paper towels every 10-15 minutes, to make sure it doesn’t bleed through.
  4. Turn the jars right side up for SEVERAL days to ensure that they are completely dry.
  5. Finish the jars by wrapping ribbon around the top. Secure the ribbon with a dab of glue.
  6. Fill the jars halfway with sand so the chore sticks can stick up and be seen.

Chore Sticks:

  1. Write chores on the popsicle sticks. Have fun with this step.
  2. Sit down with your kids and talk about which chores they would like to do, or learn how to do.
  3. Kick your feet up as your kids clean your house, cook dinner and maybe even make their beds.

My next project is to add a jar for my husband’s “chores.” His chore sticks will say: “put dirty clothes in hamper,” “lower the toilet seat,” “replace toilet paper when you use the last square,” “put the milk back in the fridge” and “take your shoes off inside the house!”

Have fun teaching your kids about responsibilities, money and ways they can help around the house.

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