Learn about the best chores for kids by age, the best ways to get children to complete them, and download free chore charts. Using printable certificates for kids and/or printable reward charts in addition to the following tips can be another great way to provide positive behavior supports for going above and beyond what their normal duties may be.
Although, it may be difficult getting children to help around the house, teaching them to do their share is a lesson that will help them when they get older and have roommates or get married. It also helps to give them a sense of pride for accomplishing something increasing self-esteem.
1. If possible start giving your children chores when he/she is young. Having a general chores list for kids as young as two years old is very important in establishing good habits as soon as possible. Although I didn't "assign" chores to my son when he was younger than three, he started by helping me load silverware into the dishwasher and unload it into the drawer.
It is a great sorting and matching exercise for him, keeps him occupied so I can load/unload the rest of the dishwasher, and he enjoys being a part of what I am doing, which is a natural reinforcer for the behavior.
Another good chore for kids that are younger is to assist in laundry by having the child stand on a stool, load the washer, dump in the soap, transfer the clothes to the dryer and push the start button. My son loves doing it and when I ask if he wants to help he immediately says “Okay!” teaching him that helping can be fun.
Sometimes when kids are eager to help at young ages, we end up telling them no and to leave the area. This can result in unintentionally punishing their willingness and desire to help, which later you will regret. If there is even a small task you can assign when they are eager and willing, you will reap the benefits down the road.
2. Do not pretend the work is fun. While some chores for kids can be fun to do when they are young, as we get older it tends to lose its appeal when the newness wears off. Pretending the work is fun might just make them feel they are being tricked. However, while you are doing the work, saying things such as, "Wow, this is really hardwork, but it sure feels good to be getting something done today!" Focus on the positive aspect of accomplishing something. Create a list in a chart and check each item off stating, "I'm so happy I finished my to-do list. It feels good to accomplish something."
3. Develop a daily chore routine. Try to have the same assigned chores for kids that are completed every day, so that it becomes a routine that is done at the same time every day. This makes chores for kids a habit that is completed daily. Then the kids will eventually start doing the behavior without any thought, leading to fewer refusals.
Try to pick a time of day that you know is optimal for your child, you may want to have them do things right when getting up in the morning or right when coming home from school prior to any TV, video games or computer play. This will help motivate them to get things done in order to access these preferred activities.
4. Allow your child to choose chores. Giving a list of choices when assigning chores for kids, help give children a feeling of control. Children like to feel as if they are in control. It also increases the chances of the chores being completed because they will likely be ones that your child doesn’t mind doing.
5. Post chore lists or charts for each person in the house over 2 years old. When a child sees everyone’s responsibilities in the house and how they are a part of that household as a team, it helps to eliminate the “Why do I have to do that?” response. Also, the adults of the house should have a longer list, putting into perspective how little your child is really responsible for doing, and hopefully helping them to appreciate how much you do for them.
You can download a free chore chart for each child or use family chore charts. Used in combination, the above techniques work well for gaining compliance. However, as with any plan to increase behavior it can take a week or longer to start seeing significant results.
You may also want to check out my compliance strategies for defiant children if you have a child that tends to be harder to motivate.
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