How to motivate your child to do chores

How to motivate your child to do chores

6 ways to get your child to help around the house.

 Helping children get motivated to do their chores involves inspiring their intrinsic desire to be productive and helpful by contributing to the household. Children like to know that what they do helps the household work together. In a recent study published in Child Development, the word 'helper' was the most popular verbal cue that children responded eagerly to.

Here are five ways to motivate your child to do their chores:

1.  Use their natural curiosity

Every parent knows that from a young age, children are desperate to copy what mum or dad is doing around the house.  They love to play in the kitchen, washing dishes or help with washing the car.  Although it means that a small job takes a lot longer, give your child small responsibilities as you're doing a bigger job.  For example, when cleaning the kitchen, have them put away the cutlery.  Or, if preparing dinner, have them set the table.

2.  Break down larger tasks 

Saying to a child 'clean your room' may feel overwhelming. Sit down and make a list of what 'cleaning a room' actually involves:
 Gathering supplies: cleaning products, rubbish bags 
Sort through clothes: dirty clothes in the wash, clean clothes back in drawers and closet
Clear rubbish: walk around the room and collect all the rubbish including under beds 
Sort toys and clutter: collect everything around the room and put away in allocated spot
Make the bed: children will need to do this with an adult several times before they learn it for themselves
Clean the room: clean all surfaces, windows and vacuum
Put away supplies: put the cleaning supplies back where they belong.

3. Be specific with your expectations

Sit down with your child and create a list of chores that you expect your child to complete. They will include daily, weekly and monthly tasks, and should also include chores that help the household as a whole, such as feeding the family pet or putting the rubbish out.

Using a chore chart will help them - if your child is too young to read, use pictures instead of words.

4.  Be realistic

Children are contrained by the development of both their fine and gross motorskills.  If a task is overwhelming or too hard they may become frustrated and reluctant.

5.  Provide rewards for success

While striving for intrinsic motivation, it is also nice to encourage child chores by providing a reward.  This can be as simple as spending time with a parent - going to the park or getting an ice cream - or money for older children. 

6. Routine, routine, routine

Make cleaning up part of your daily routine.  If you schedule the time before one of their favourite activities, such as a special TV show or story time before bed, then they will be more motivated to get their chores done well and quickly.

Do you have any tips for motivating children to do their chores? Add them in the comments below!


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