If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that I am huge advocate for teaching children responsibility at a young age. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the age appropriate chores we use in our home. However, you can have expectations and rules in place, but that doesn’t mean that your children are actually going to do them. What do you do when your children just won’t do their chores?
This post was written by Tiffany from RealMomTalk.com
Recently on Facebook, I’ve seen an overwhelming number of posts by frustrated parents who are at their wit’s end with their children not doing their chores. This is obviously not an isolated issue with my kids, and I’d bet that almost all parents deal with the same thing at some point or another. So again, what do you do when this happens in your house?
As I mentioned in my previous post, my children are responsible for cleaning up behind themselves. In their rooms, playroom, and at the dining room table. Lately, my kids have been guilty of the dash-and-dine, leaving the table when they are done eating and not bothering to clean up their dishes or around their chair. I have had to call them back to the table every night this week to clean up behind themselves.
Several other mothers have mentioned things like their children not bringing out their dirty laundry, leaving their toys laying all over the floor, cleaning up after pets, and making messes in the kitchen.
Are you having problems with your children refusing to do their chores? What do you do when that happens? Here’s what works for my family:
1. Don’t do it for them – I honestly believe that most of the times kids shirk their responsibilities because they think they can get away with it. Why do your chores when someone else will do it for you?
2. Put your foot down – It may mean constantly reminding them (which is frustrating, to say the least) but if that’s what it takes, then do it! Yes, it takes more time, but it’s showing them that you mean business.
3. Take away privileges – If your children absolutely refuse to take care of their chores and responsibilities, give them consequences. Take away cell phones, television time, video games, etc. until they show that they can consistently follow the rules you have in place.
4. Call them out – This is probably the most effective method we use in our house. When my kids skip out on chores, I usually can figure out why. 99% of the time, it’s because they just don’t want to do it, and figure they can get away with it (see #1). When I sit them down and point out why it seems they aren’t cleaning up behind themselves and relate that I don’t like doing chores either, they usually agree and have no problem taking care of those tasks. It seems simple, but just being real with your kids can make a big difference. (Do NOT call them out in front of others, that’s embarrassing and belittling, and can really do damage to their self esteem)
5. Natural consequences – If your children don’t bring out their laundry to be washed, they won’t have clean clothes to wear. If toys get left out for days, they get broken and pieces get lost. Letting your children see the natural consequences of their actions will stick with them longer than just doing those tasks for them.
6. Walk them through it – If you have younger children that need a little more direction, walk them through what to do. Don’t do it for them (again, #1) but instead give them step-by-step directions. This will again take longer, but they can’t use the excuse that they don’t know what to do.
Unfortunately, none of the solutions above usually fix the problem permanently. Kids will be kids, and they will push their limits. That’s just part of parenting. But I’ve found that using the methods above keep us from getting into big arguments and doling out largest consequences. No one wants to get into a shouting match with their kids over chores. Children have to learn that there are always going to be responsibilities in life, not just when they are living at home. Being firm and consistent with them regarding their chores will benefit them so much in the long run, and help them to become more responsible adults later on in life.