We readily admit that talking about how to get kids to do their chores can be a loaded subject. If we know anything, we know that each child is different and strategies to *motivate* them often vary. For example, we have a few children who are born helpers and are always following us around with their own mini brooms as we sweep up after dinner. They may mess with our dirt piles, but a little coaching goes a long way when they already want to help.
On the other hand, we have children who cannot be bothered to stop what they’re doing to go to the bathroom, let alone pick up after themselves. The bottom line is whatever kinds of kids you’re living with, we get it. So, let’s talk about tips.
Why Kids Should Do Chores
If you grew up around the time we did, you probably had nightly chores. We’re no strangers to making our beds or participating in a dishwashing assembly line, especially after we baked with our grandma. We wanted to bring some of the concepts of hard work and contributing to the household to our kids. Not only do chores help kids learn responsibility and self-reliance, but they also give younger family members a sense of pride in helping the family thrive.
As we’ve all probably heard, too, research shows that children who do chores often have higher self-esteem; are more responsible; and are better equipped to deal with feelings of frustration, adversity, and delayed gratification. But, actually getting some of our kids to do chores? Therein lies a problem.
How To Get Kids To Do Chores Without Nagging
Like anything kid-related, motivating our children to do chores without nagging can be difficult. You may have to try a few different tactics before something sticks. And, even then, you’ll have to adjust often. We don’t always bribe per se, but we’re certainly not above offering an incentive.
Regardless of the child and his or her personality, we’ve found the most effective way to get our kids to help around the house is to explain to them how they’re contributing and why it matters. When that falls on deaf ears (which it does often with teenagers especially), we’ll start testing incentives: Want to go out with your friends this weekend? Check off all your chores for the week. Want a popsicle after dinner? Do your part to load the dishwasher the way mom taught you. Getting kids to do their chores doesn’t have to be frustrating, but it does often require quite a bit of pre-thought and strategy!
Rewards for Doing Chores
As we mentioned above, we do often incentivize our kids to do their chores. When we think of bribes, our minds immediately go to candy and sugar and cash, which are low-hanging options, however, we play the long game. We’ll sit down with our kids and ask them what they really want: A new pair of sunglasses that cost $40, let’s say. Together, we write out a plan to earn them those sunglasses. We assign dollar amounts to chores and give them a little bit of choice in what chores they do. Then, we track their progress.
Not only does this process work well for incentivizing, but it also brings together math and writing, and planning. Writing it out in a notebook works perfectly fine, however, we are big fans of chore charts and chore cards.
Free Printable Chore Cards
As The Bargain Sisters, we’re always looking for ways to help you save—not only money but time. We pinned a few of our favorite free printable chore cards and chore charts. A simple search on Pinterest brings up SO many options, including charts specific to toddlers and teenagers (who, in our experience, have a lot in common…mostly in attitude!).
If you’re interested in something you don’t have to remember to print, though, we have ideas for those, too.
Reusable Chore Charts We Love
Melissa & Doug Responsibility Chart
This chore chart is extremely visual, which is great for younger kids who are learning to read or are more visual learners. It has magnets to track progress, an attached whiteboard, and options for the responsibilities your kiddo wants to track. $16.39 gets you 90 magnets, two boards, and a lot of help around the house!
Simple Chore Chart for Kids
Often the simplest option is the best one and that’s certainly true for this magnetic chore chart. You can buy one for $11.99 or a set of three for $22.99. If you have multiple kids spanning a range of ages, it’s a great option.
3 Piece Magnetic Chore Chart
Speaking of sets, this one has a few different colors to choose from. If you have two who want pink, however, battles may ensue. It also allows you to set a weekly goal and track it. Plus, you can write out the reward for reaching the chore goal while you’re at it. These charts are a great option for parents who like to gamify getting kids to do chores! (Like us) $18.99 for three charts and ten markers.
Portable Chore Chart
For the kids who like to have their chore charts somewhere other than on the fridge, this portable option includes illustrations, kids memo checklists, four pieces of DIY cards, and the satisfaction of sliding the checkmark button. No whiteboard markers required here! $12.99, plus save an extra 5% when you clip the coupon.
Colorful Paper Chore Chart
When aesthetics matter, enter: Target’s U Brands Chore Pad. It has 52 colorful pages on a large pad that can be ripped off and recycled week to week. They’ll be keeping track and checking off chores in style with this pad. It also rings in at just $4.99, the lowest price of the bunch!
As a reminder, we’ll always share deals we see on the items we list in our blogs in The Bargain Sisters Group on Facebook and on Instagram, @the_bargainsisters. Make sure you’re following us to stay in the know!
Helping At Home
Getting kids to do chores is not only beneficial for everyone in your house, but it is also fun! Turn on some music and have a dance party while putting away toys, tell stories while you fold laundry, or teach them how to practice mindfulness while doing the dishes. There are so many positives to doing chores that we don’t even entertain any whining, especially when we can show our kids how much fun we’re having while doing our chores. And, if you’re anything like us, you may sometimes battle your husband over who does the dishes and who gets the kids ready for bed! Rock, Paper Scissors is our go-to for that battle.
What kinds of chores do your kids do? How do you make them fun? Tell us in the comments. We’re always looking for new ideas!