How do you get kids to help out around the house?

JD - posted on 09/16/2011 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I’m having a hard time getting my kids to do their chores, feed the pets, etc. – basic things we expect them to do every day. I’m going to start using a sticker chart and give them a reward if they get their things done each week. What’s an appropriate reward for a 5 year old and a 7 year old?

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Yu'Vonne - posted on 09/26/2011

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We have a prize basket. It's full of dollar store prizes and little things that my mom and sister give me as treats for my girls. I use a sticker chart for my girls (9 & 12) too few stickers for the week and they owe me (my choice of chores that need to be done). The correct number of stickers and they get a prize from the basket. Extra stickers and they get two picks. Get a whole month of "enough" or "extra" and we go out for frozen yogurt or something. We change how much is enough based on their ages. The older they are, the more we expect from them.

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Leilani - posted on 09/30/2011

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The Dollar Store always works at those ages; however, it should not be a debate on doing something you want them to do. Let them know your expectations and assure them it's not up for discussion. I started charging my kids a dollar every time they forgot to do something. Even though I never intended on taking their money,it worked! 30 days makes a habit. Now I am stress free when it comes to chores. I just sit back and smile.

Blair - posted on 09/29/2011

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I dont think they should be getting a reward for doing the chores to help the family house run smoothly both my daughters (4yrs & 8yrs) have to do there chores they get one warning otherwise i ground them for a day which means no tv, no play overs nothing for the next day
I dont do there chores for them cause the chores will be there the next day and the next they have 3days worth of warnings then they get grounded for a week and they have to do extra chores while they are grounded it might be cleaning the car for my oldest daughter or collecting all the washing and putting in the washing machine for my youngest if they do there chores without any trouble for a whole week we go on family outings on the weekends like picnic at the park or like the other week we went on a family trip to the movies i dont really feel the kids deserve pocket money or rewards for doing the things they should be doing to help the family they only have 4 chores each that must be done ontop of the normal put your dirty washing out brush teath plates on the bench after dinner if you do a reward chart for chores then they will want a reward or sticker just to put there plate on the bench which is teaching them they can do what they want

Patricia - posted on 09/28/2011

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It's all about consistent and immediate consequences/rewards for my kids ages 10 and 11. Since money is tight it is difficult to consistently provide the types of rewards or incentives that will motivate them at this age (money, video games, clothes, etc). Since your kids are younger you may be able to start with smaller items but keep in mind that as they get older they will come to expect receiving monetary rewards in return for helping out. Therefore, rewards in my house are family time. If they help me make dinner, wash dishes, etc. I make sure I make time to spend together. We may play a board game, go swimming, take the dog for a walk while they ride bikes, or watch a movie together.

Audra - posted on 09/26/2011

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In response to the posts on Allowance, I'm not opposed to kids earning an allowance (and on that note, I think being forced to earn it is key) but I think certain jobs/chores should be done for free (without the expectation of an allowance or a reward). Each member of a family should be expected to contribute to running the household. Each member lives in a portion of the home - in the least, each should keep up their own space. Their bed, their closet, their room. Otherwise, we end up with adults who expect their clothes to make their way from the floor, back into their closet, clean and pressed without any effort on their part. I think the positive results will be that a)kids appreciate that maintaining a home IS work (and on that note, that being a Mom/Dad/adult IS work), b) all members will learn how to be a successful bachelor/bachelorette/"spotter" so that young adults will do well on their own, and Mom or Dad can "spot" for the other giving them some time off, c) all will learn how to do things they don't want to do for a 'greater good.' I think the one potential danger of offering an allowance for each small task is that kids (soon to be adults) could develop a "what do I get" or "what's in it for me" attitude.



When kids are unwilling to contribute, I think it's appropriate to present an appropriate consequence: if kids are unwilling to take a turn in feeding the pet, they won't be allowed to go along when you take the pet to the park. Perhaps you discuss finding a new home for the pet, in hopes that the kids will grasp that if they aren't willing to help care for a pet perhaps they aren't ready to have one.

Candi - posted on 09/21/2011

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Your kids get an allowance every week. Do you make them work to earn their allowance? What are the advantages of creating “jobs” (chores) for your kids in exchange for earning their allowance?

1. Your kids will learn the value of a dollar. It’s easy for kids (and adults) to go through money like crazy when they’re spending money that isn’t their own. When kids have to work for their money, and they realize how much time and effort it takes to generate a given amount of money, they usually make more conservative spending choices.
2. Your kids will learn to budget their money. Assuming that you don’t grant your kids loans every time they run out of money, your kids will learn to conserve their money for the expenses that they can anticipate.
3. Your kids will learn accountability. When work is performed unsatisfactorily (or not performed at all), you can deduct a proportionate amount from their allowance for the week in which the work was under-performed or not performed. Kids then learn that, in order to get the money that they want or need, they must perform their work satisfactorily. (NOTE: when holding your kids accountable, always communicate with your kids about what your expectations are, what their performance was, what the gap was between expectations and performance, and why it’s important to the family to perform to expectations.)
4. Your kids will learn to have a work ethic. By learning that the family depends on them to get certain chores done, and by experiencing accountability when chores do not get done, kids will generally learn the importance of work ethic.
All four of the advantages above are life lessons: lessons that will benefit kids into their adulthood. In sum, making kids work for their allowance is a good way to create responsible, productive adults.

Michelle - posted on 09/20/2011

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Although helping around the house is required; mine get time on the computer for their help around the house. I don't do an allowance, because they tend to get money when they something. However, they want time on their computers and their game systems so for X amount of time they get so many minutes to spend on the games.

Good luck.

Haniyyah - posted on 09/20/2011

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Rewarding them is a good idea I have to do it with my 14 teen year old and my 10 year old something for your 5 and 7 year old reward them with things they like a new toy, a healthy snack or a great family outing some where yall never went before.

Faye - posted on 09/20/2011

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First lesson in animal husbandary is to feed/water/check on the animals BEFORE you eat! Pets not fed, neither is the child. If there is one pet and two kids it is a combimed effort! One feeds while the other waters BEFORE they eat. If there are three pets and two kids then each kid has an animal to feed/water and split the chore on the third animal BEFORE they eat.



Pets need fresh water at least twice daily, just before breakfast and before supper is fine. They can do this while you or hubby cooks.



Rest of the household chores, good luck with.



Explain if they want you to take them somewhere (t-ball practice/game, friend's house, library) they need to help you beforehand. Without thier help you are delayed in leaving because you have ALL the chores to do because they can not/will not help you.



As far as rewards when they do help, decide how many "helps" equal a reward. Then the first reward or two, maybe more playtime at McDonald's/Burger King. A small $5 toy could be a reward after the 5th or 7th reward time. A trip to Chuck E Cheese's as a larger reward, maybe 15th or 20th reward. Hopefully for your change purse, by the 15th reward, it is so ingrained in their brains that you don't have to "reward" them any longer.

Wydalis - posted on 09/19/2011

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I am so glad I am not the only one with this problem!! LOL. On a serious note, I've had the same problem and mine are the same age plus I have a 4 yr old too.
I've started using the allowance with my girls and if they don't want to do what you ask them & you have to get another sibling to do it, then that allowance gets taken away from the first child and given to the one who did the work. If that doesn't work than take a privilage away from them such as DS, Game systems, TV, Computer time, or something that they really enjoy. I've also rewarded them with trreats such as ice cream (popsicles that are in the freezer) or other special treats they like, for helping me when we don't have alot of money.

Colleen - posted on 09/18/2011

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I don't have any advice at this point since our son is only 2 & 1/2, but I have been asking him to "help" since he's shown the desire. Actually, yesterday he helped me vacuum (aka holding the vacuum with me), and he helped me make the bed. I also thanked him for "helping" me to take the dogs for a walk (aka he was in his jog stroller and I had each of our 2 dogs on either arm. I've also allowed him to put our cat's dinner down every day. I try to make it look like I appreciate everything he does with me. I don't know if that will make a difference or not, but we'll see...

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It's really not an option to NOT help around the house. My son is 6 1/2, and the biggest threat for now is to take away his DS until chores are done. Actually, I currently have his DS because he was whiney about doing chores with me this afternoon, so I made him hand it over. (I really sould give it back!!) Sometimes I pay him allowance money, sometimes I don't. Chores are just something you have to do because you live here. Today my son took out the recycle trash, put away cat food, and helped me fold laundry. Plus a few other odds & ends. Some fun rewards are trips to the dollar store, and depending on how you work your reward system, the kids could earn 1, 2, or 3 items.

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