7 Ways to Motivate Kids to do Their Chores...

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Our kids never want to hear the word chores and clean up, they love to play with their toys and would rather eat their vegetables than help out around the house. However, at a certain age we need to start teaching them about responsibility. Today guest blogger Jane is here to help us learn how we can show our kids responsibility in a way they might enjoy it with 7 Ways to Motivate Kids to Do their Chores...

Kids and Chores: How to Motivate Them...

I’ve learned over the years that when it comes to teaching kids responsibility, what works for one child may not work for another. Take my kids, for example. My son is naturally very focused and prefers a neat, clean bedroom. Messes and chaos make him feel anxious.

My daughter, on the other hand, is a natural-born flower child. As a young child, she collected everything from seashells and rocks to buttons and sequins. She was happiest when her room was a flurry of creativity -i.e., a mess! I remember walking into her room at the height of her obsession with the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” Her room was even messier than normal. She had pulled everything off the shelves and out of the closet. When I asked her what she was doing, she explained very dramatically, “We’re in Kansas, Mom. There’s been a tornado.”

Needless to say, I wouldn’t have been very successful parenting these two dramatically different children with the same techniques. My son rarely needs reminders to clean his room. He’s fanatical about his clothing and has done his own ironing since he was twelve. My goal with him is to help him keep things in perspective. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but not if you’re so compulsive that you drive your family crazy.

My daughter, on the other hand, needed a bit more encouragement. If I nagged her too much, she tended to balk. Stickers and rewards seemed to motivate her temporarily, and then her interest waned. My goal was to retrain her naturally free-spirited personality enough that she could function successfully in life.

Below are a seven strategies we used to teach responsibility:

1. Allow Natural Consequences...

As Robert Brault said, “It is one thing to show your children the way, and another thing to then step out of it.” If my daughter didn’t put away her laundry, she had no clothes to wear. If she failed to set her alarm clock, she missed breakfast.

2. Provide Instruction...

You can’t say to a child, “go clean the bathroom,” and expect success unless you give a few lessons first. Do chores together until a child is very confident.

3. Be Positive...

Do not use sarcasm, ridicule, anger or shame to coerce a child into doing chores. Instead, quietly let them know when you are disappointed and sincerely thank them when they do a good job.

4. Get a Pet...

Taking care of something besides yourself teaches kids unselfishness, empathy and kindness. We had certain assignments for each child in caring for our dogs, such as feeding, walking, grooming, and clean-up. Provide adequate supplies, such as puppy piddle pads, that aid in puppy training, and can minimize messes.

5. Work as a Team...

Our family has the following motto: We work together so we can play together. With our dog, we shared the responsibilities of taking care of their health, including natural dog teeth cleaning.

6. Problem Solve...

If a child’s room is constantly a mess, ask yourself why. Sometimes kids don’t know where to start, especially if the room is really messy. Get labeled bins for toys and supplies so kids know exactly where everything goes. Break down tasks if a child is feeling overwhelmed. For example, say “You clean up the dinosaurs and I’ll pick up the crayons.” Then move on to the next task.

7. Give Choices and Follow through...

Make a list of everything that needs to get done and give your child the choice of which chores he wants to do. Allow some flexibility in terms of timing, as well. For example, “You can clean your room before or after breakfast, but it has to get done before soccer.” If you’ve told a child he can’t play until x,y,z is done, then stick to it. If you let your kids off the hook, they’ll be even more resistant the next time you ask them to do something.

About the Author

Jane Warren enjoys water sports and traveling with her family. She loves animals and maintains a website devoted to educating pet owners on a variety of pet-related subjects, and families on how to care and provide for their pets. Find out more at her website, www.pamperthepets.com.

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