how to get my kid to do his chores!!

Rosie - posted on 02/17/2011 ( 28 moms have responded )

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ok, so my 6 year old is stubborn. stubborn, stubborn little shit, lol! most of the time he is an angel, and does what he's told. he's nice, he's polite, he just has a HUGE issue with doing chores. it's always a fight, i have to literally pick him up and drag him upstairs to help his brother clean their room. now, since it's nice out here lately, the mountains of dog poop have been revealed and i need help picking them up. he absolutely refuses to help. he wouldn't get his shoes on, so i made him go out without shoes, then i had to literally force him down to the ground to get the poop, and then he still wouldnt' do it.
yes, i know it's gross, and he doesn't like it, who the hell does? but it's something he has to do. how the hell do i get him to do it (and his other chores), before it freezes back to the ground? i'm useless when it comes to punishment. i dont' really know what my parents did to make me do things around the house. i just did it. i feel so useless right now. HELP!!

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Jenn - posted on 02/19/2011

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Also to add - when you are "paid" for doing chores (ie receiving an allowance only if you do your chores), it gives the impression that you don't HAVE to do chores - but only that you can do them if you want to make some money.

Sal - posted on 02/18/2011

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while money can be a great motivator i don;t agree with it being the main thing you use to get the chores done, basically because as they get older they will out price you or get a part time job then think they can get their money else where and no longer have to help out at home, i want my kids to help out as it is part of being a family and running a house hold, i do offer to pay my son for some jobs, if he washes and vaccumes the car i'll pay him as i'd usually take it to the car wash, if i want him to baby sit so i can go out for my self i'll pay him if i need him to babysit in an emergency situation i won;t, thats just what family does, i think showing consquesnces for their action (or lack of) is the best way, if he doesn;t put his dishes in the dishwasher, he was to wash them by hand, if his clothes aren't in the wash basket he has to do them him self, if he complains about feeding the pet, i won;t serve his dinner, he gets the idea, still gets his pocket money it is my time that is up for negotiation, i have no problem driving him to mates houses, i choose to live out of the way so it is my job to drive him but if i have to do extra work because he has slacked out of his jobs i don't have the time or the inclination to do it...

Esther - posted on 02/18/2011

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He may be too young for this - but I was reading a parenting book the other day and one of the topics was the chores. The writer suggested that for older kids who get an allowance, you ask them to do their chore once and then you turn around and walk away. If they do it, great. If they don't, don't say anything about it, don't remind them, don't nag, don't make them do it. Instead, PAY a sibling to do it for them (or pay yourself to do it) and take the money for it out of their allowance since you've been forced to "hire" someone else to do the job that was their responsibility. I really liked that idea. My son is only 3 so I can't put it into use yet, but I still thought it was a great idea.

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I didnt read the posts, sorry if i repeat anyone..Make a game out of it, play music dance, do it together as a family call it a ten minute tidy. Use prizes, if its done in the amount of time, then they get something small.... with the poop...scoop it as it falls, whoever takes the dog out should do it, that way its not a big deal, one turd is easier to pick up than a mountain :P

Sal - posted on 02/17/2011

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ohhh the million dollar question if you work it out let me know!!! the one thing that i do find works is making him see that it takes you extra time to do the chores he won't, and next time he wants a story,lift to a freinds or what ever he needs you to do and takes your precious time, start doing his chores he waiting by the car and your out picking up dog poo, he's in bed waiting for a story and your cleaning his room, he wants his lunch and your feeding the pets, when he complains just tell him you don;t have time to do everything and if he can't help then you have to make time to do his jobs some other way by not reading stories ot taking him to partys, my son got kicked off the school bus for a week, it was a long trip to take him each day so i made him do the same amount of house work as it took me to drive him, he then realised that my time is important...

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Iridescent - posted on 02/19/2011

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We don't have a family income. If "dad" didn't get enough work during the week and didn't get paid, I sure as heck don't give him extra cash to make up for it. The same if it's me. We DO cover our night out by whoever has the money for it, as that is a need for our relationship. If I have worked hard and earned extra and actually want something for myself (like a book), I buy it. My husband is the same, he gets his desired items based on what he has earned. It's worked great for a very long time for us this way. Bills come out of my account, since I'm actually earning money, and his business is generally breaking even, so when it's all said and done we usually have about the same amount of available cash from week to week. Not one of the kids gets a share of "family income", but they do get paid when they've helped by washing dishes, watching kids, etc. If the chore they did was for themselves (cleaning their room, taking care of their pet, doing their laundry) there is no reward, but there is also no punishment. If they do a chore to help the whole family, we randomly reward it - inconsistency is the best reinforcement for behavior (proven) and doesn't lead to stupid expectations when they are a member of this family.

Jenn - posted on 02/19/2011

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I personally think an allowance should be given regardless of what the child does. It's their share in the family income. However, if they choose to not do their required chores (because as part of the family, everyone has responsibilities that need to be set out very clearly), then they must pay our of their allowance to whomever did the chore. So if he absolutely refused and you ended up doing it, he would pay you for doing his job. If his brother did it, he'd have to pay his brother. The lesson would be learned pretty quickly that if they want to keep their money, they'll take care of their responsibilities. I think the message sinks in better than to not give an allowance. If the money is IN their hands, but they then have to hand part of it over, it makes it seem worse in their eyes.

Sal - posted on 02/18/2011

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if he wants to live under my roof he'll do his chores and help out reguardless of the amount of board he pays....as i said it is way our house runs, everyone is responsible for somethings, usually just pets and personal cleanliness, and if he isn;t interested in being a useful member of the house hold and too lazy to clean for himself i'm sure he'll be less interested doing it all for himself, there is no amount of money that makes me picking up dirty undies belonging to an adult gonna happen....

Jodi - posted on 02/18/2011

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Ah, but Sal, when they start earning their own money, if they decide they don't want to do their chores, that's when you charge them board :P Then, once they are in full-time work, and you should be charging them board anyway, you charge a higher amount for board if they don't help out around the house. I can see your point, but there are also so many ways to overcome those objections. I continue to say that an allowance is a great motivator.

Bonnie - posted on 02/18/2011

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I like Julianne's idea to make it into a game or to put music on. I know that sometimes it is difficult for me to get my boys to help put their toys away, but if I make it into a racing game or to see who can put away the most toys the fastest, it works.

Brandi - posted on 02/18/2011

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Well.... I have to say, I kinda agree with Mike on this one. If he is not doing something you told him to do, and he knows he is supposed to do it, then there should be consequences. He is the child. I do agree with what someone said about the pooper scooper, maybe get one of those. I wouldn't make my kids do something that I wouldn't do, and there is no way in Hell I am touching dog poop!! Get me a scooper, gloves, and a mask... ok maybe. But, I also agree with working a deal out with your child. Like maybe you guys can do whatever he wants to do, after he does his chores. Go where ever he wants to go, you have to agree of course. But, if all else fails, then punishment has to be done.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/18/2011

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Bribing in my opinion is different than earning...but both can be great motivaters.

Danielle - posted on 02/18/2011

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My kids are like night and day when it comes to chores. My son who is seven actually begged me yesterday to let him wash the dishes instead of going outside and playing. I actually asked him "What is wrong with you? It's gorgeous outside and you want to wash dishes!" I eventually talked him into going outside for a little while first. My daughter...oh my daughter. She's four and lazy as hell! They have specified chores every day. My son has to take out the garbage and she has to pick up the toys that are laying around. My son comes in and does his chore and usually more but it takes an act of congress for barbie to find her way to the toy box. I finally got to the point that I have a schedule for snack. My son gets off the bus at 3:20 and his chores are usually done by four. When and only when everything is done do they get a snack. It's a great motivator to watch Bubba munch down on an oatmeal cake b/c he did what he was told. And now that its warm you don't go outside unless your chores are done. She fusses and gripes but gets it done. Try making it seem like he has a choice.."Well ok if you're not gonna do it then I guess you don't get to go outside today..it's up to you" I use that phrase ALOT lol but it usually works.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/18/2011

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I personnally don't look at an allowance as bribery, I see it as earnings...we never got an allowance, infact it was just like "mike" said for us (just no father) and it sucked. It would have been nice after spending your whole saturday cleaning to get a reward for it rather than get "the bathroom isn't clean enough, do it again" or "refold these towels, they look ugly" or "the floor isn't clean enough" you get the point. Everyone wants to feel like they do a good job. I see no problem with my kids (when old enough) to make a little money for their contribution.

Iridescent - posted on 02/17/2011

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A chore like that, who can blame him? We have the exact same chore, but instead of forcing our kids' heads into shit, we bought a pooper scooper so they wouldn't have to handle it with their hands and it was at least slightly bearable. We also let them wear medical gloves if they chose. Not that big of a deal.

Bondlets - posted on 02/17/2011

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Kati: I don't know your family situation but are you able to ask your parents what they did since you said you did chores when you were young?

I would not bribe/reward or use any kind of financial incentive. That's just not my style. My style is: This is what needs to be done; do it. Especially with a 6-year old. If you are not big on punishment (which, btw, I can't agree "never works") and you don't want to go the bribery route (which can itself get very ugly and backfire on you) then maybe try more creative methods:

Clean up with him. Yes, it takes extra time but at this age having you beside him, encouraging him and modeling the behavior, may work wonders. It would mean you picking up dog poop but you could make it a race or something. When it comes time to cleaning up his room go with him and show him how to do it well. Verbal affirmation and encouragement are huge at this age.

Now if he resists, natural consequences may have to come into play. For example, if he still balks at cleaning up his room then the consequence would be his brother (not sure how old he is) would be excused and your son gets to clean it up himself. If your son doesn't go for that and still fights you then tell him whatever he does not want to clean up with be taken away. Stick to it no.matter.what. Put the toys in a box/bag (let him see you do it) and take it out of his room. Don't show him that you put it in the attic/garage, lol. Don't get emotional or excited, stay calm and matter-of-fact. This is the classic "if-then" method and kids are smart...he'll get it, I bet.


You may have to get tough, too. With the dog poop, if he fights you and you literally have to get him down to pick it up then do it. Hold his hand with the shovel (or whatever) and pile by pile get that stuff picked up. I would not personally let his hand go until it was all done because I would need to show him that what I say goes and he will do it, like it or not. Not every chore or task is pleasant but it has to be done. And when my children (especially younger ones) engage in a battle of the wills, I win. Always. ;) I win because they need me to even if they don't think so.

Last thing (already mentioned but worth saying again): try not to let yourself show frustration or anger. Keep your voice calm, your actions normal, maintain your self-control. Your son may be going for a reaction and if you give it to him, that's not good.

Good luck to you!

Johnny - posted on 02/17/2011

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Like Sara, I just have a younger kid. So you can take my comments with a grain of salt. I've only done daycare for the older ones. I'd say it totally depends on his personality whether or not the stick or the carrot is a better approach. Some kids never want to be in trouble, and will do what it takes to avoid it, but aren't all that excited by bribery. That was me as a child. Others have no concern about how disappointed you are in them and couldn't care less if you blow your top, but they're looking for the next big thing, so bribery works like a charm.

Personally, I'd start with Tara's approach in trying to get him to feel like his chores are an important cog in the wheel of making the family work. Place a little responsibility on his shoulders and make it clear that he REALLY needs to clean that shit or else things might just fall apart. Like how come spring when the sun is out he'll have no yard to play in because it will just be full of poo.

Sharon - posted on 02/17/2011

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You either did it because you were scared of the consequence as a child. Or because you were just that cowed.

I'm laughing my ass off at some of these replies. They say you shouldn't punish your son, you should bribe him, LMAO!! N~I~C~E!!!

I did what I was told to do as a child because I didn't want to face the consequences.

A mom who was pissed at me. My mom angry was not something to mess with. You'd get the tongue lashing of your life and made to feel about the size of gnat for letting her down.

My dad just whooped your ass. I didn't want that any more than the tongue lashing.

But I did it. I got my chores down and then I was free. That was the best part.

Nikki - posted on 02/17/2011

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I am a big fan of bribery, I would go the pocket money route. Assign a list of jobs each with their own pay out. Or decide on a weekly amount for pocket money and deduct each time he decides not to contribute. So at the end of the week show him for example the $6.00 he would have received if he did his chores, deduct the amount for not doing his chores and give him the rest. Might give him some incentive. Good luck

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I know you probably don't want advice from someone with a YOUNGER kid...but I have to say I like the ideas of using incentive. What makes you get up out of bed and be at work at 5 am? THE PAYCHECK! =)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/17/2011

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Sounds old enough to me to earn some money for the chores.

Tara - posted on 02/17/2011

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Talk to him about the word cooperation and what it means. Ask him what cooperation would look like if he were on a hockey team? What would happen f they didn't cooperate and the goalie decided not to play his position (so did the alternate goalie in case he asks.) Ask him what cooperation looks like in the home? Ask him what would happen if you decided not to do the laundry or cook dinner?
Then let him know that we all have things we need to do, and we all cooperate so make life run smoother for everyone.
Ask him what he thinks should happen when refuses to do his chores. Make him come up with a reasonable consequence that you agree to, or if he can't or won't come up with something acceptable than tell him you will decide for him. Then choose something that is as effective as possible. Like "you cannot watch tv/play your game etc. until the poo is gone." Or "when the chores are done you make choose between tv and computer."
I think at 6 he is old enough to get the lesson in "Okay well I'm not going to cook dinner tonight so everyone is on their own" but I would hazard a guess that he might enjoy that freedom too much!

Jodi - posted on 02/17/2011

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Kati, how do you reward them when they do their chores? I pay my kids an allowance (that way they can sometimes choose something they wish to spend money on - I don't buy them things between Christmas and Birthday) of $1 per year of age, but ONLY if they have done their chores that week without me nagging them!!! It seems to work for them because they both like having a bit of their own money to spend. My son saves his to use in the holidays to go to the movies with friends, etc, my daughter uses hers to buy whatever her latest toy trend is. Both of them have savings in the bank too.



Anyway, just a thought. A reward chart is also a good idea - that used to work for my youngest :) My son, I never really needed it - he just never argued back about chores when he was that age, no idea why.



Anyway, I agree that rewards work better than punishment for not doing them. Having said that however, my son has complained a couple of times and I said, that's fine, you can forget about it, but don't be surprised if I forget to dish up his dinner......but he IS older. He *could* get something for himself if he needed to :)

JuLeah - posted on 02/17/2011

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Punishments never never work, more so in these situations. Most kids, unless the punishment is being sat on fire, will take that over the chore.

Give him some voice. I am sure the chores feel like a punishment to him already, so give him some voice.

Chores used to be about everyone chipping in, and the family would go without if anyone failed to do her/his job.

The family was counting on the child and the child understood their value and role in the family ... chores don't seem to be like that anymore, so kids view them for what they are.

So explain that the family needs everyone help and make a list of all the chores that need doing.

Let him pick what he will commit to .... find something that uses his talents and strengths, right?

Can he cook? Maybe he wants to make dinner, or help make dinner a couple of times a week. Maybe he wants to help with shopping or folding clothes. Maybe he wants to help by washing to car or the dog. He is six, so odds are he will help an adult for a few more years and not be asked really to do any chore on his own.

"Clean your room" Most kids don't even know what that means. Adults do, and we forget that kids don't. You have to break it down for them and give one task at a time. Pick up all toys on the floor and put them away. Pick up all dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. Make your bed....

And, a six year old not wanting to pick up dog doo ... yah, well most won't do that. They won't touch the food and other gross stuff in the sink drain after washing dishes either ... they see it as risking their lives.

Ask your folks, I am sure you didn't just do chores ... few kids did. I sure didn't. My job, for example was to clean off the table and counters. I pushed the crumbs to the edge and onto the floor. My sister had the job of sweeping and most everything went under the fridge or oven .... which is why, I think little ones ought to be supervised while doing chores

Katherine - posted on 02/17/2011

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How about a sticker chart? And then when he completes so many he gets to do something special. Like maybe watch a T.V. show or something.

Amanda - posted on 02/17/2011

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When he doesnt do his chores, you dont do make him dinner. Simple solution to a simple problem. Then tell him that everyone earns their keep in the house.



Im not saying withhold food, have him make himself a peanut butter sandwich or something simple.

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