How do you get your children to help you around the house?

Wendy - posted on 03/01/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )




I have a 3 1/2 year old little girl and 7 year old son who HATES to help me do anything around the house! It doesnt seem fair to me :( My husband's job requires him to be gone awhile and Im the single parent doing everything and even sometimes when Im sick. I really need their help in helping me with chores. Please help!!!!!!


Kristin - posted on 03/01/2011




i have my fiance's 12 and 8 year old living here. they help out. we made up a chore chart and that really helps them break down the chores for the week. like on monday they do the laundry. on tuesday they clean their rooms and so on.
try and allowance with the older child. try a chore chart. or try rewarding him afterward the day is over if he helped you out with something small like ice cream.

Danielle - posted on 03/02/2011




Wow! I can sooo relate. My husband works most of the time and is out of town at times. So everything falls on me. My kids are 7 and 4. My son who is the oldest LOVES to clean. We got in an argument recently b/c it was really pretty outside and he had done his chores for the day so I told him to go outside...he wanted to wash dishes instead. He's awsome with his four yr old daughter on the other hand is hell on wheels. So I use bribery and threats. I make them do their chores at the same time. My son's is taking out the trash and sweeping. My daughter's is picking up the toys that she has strawn throughout the house. If the toys are not picked up and I have to pick them up I "throw" them away.(Which the trash is actually a box in the top of my closet) I don't give snack until after their chores are done and it's usually a good motivator to watch her brother munching on cookies while she has none. If it's nice outside you don't go out until you're done. She can't stand it knowing her brother is jumping on the trampoline while she is inside. I still have problems with her but I stay on top of it and some days it's easy to get her to do it and other's it's a pain in the ass. But I don't give in. The key is finding something they really want to do and make it into a reward. Good luck =)


View replies by

Adrienne - posted on 03/04/2011




I have a 3 1/2 year old son, a 2 1/2 year old son, and a 11 month old son and they love to help around the house with chores. Even though the help they think they are doing makes it worse. But we do encourage it, especially during tax season when my husband works almost 24 hours a day and its just me and my boys.

Shirley - posted on 03/03/2011




my daughter is 3 1/2 yr she loves sorting and folding - as best she can - the laundry. She always asks to help even when we have none.

Theresa - posted on 03/03/2011




Both of them are old enough to pick up toys and put away dirty clothes for sure. There are other things they could help with as well. My kids helped me pick up toys right from the beginning. Even at a year old they would put one or two toys in the bin as I picked up. i'd praise them for the little helps then and as they got a little older I transtioned from them helping me to me helping them. They had to do modt of the picking up while I sat with them and would put a couple toys away with them. By 2 they were picking up mostly on their own, with me keepig them company. By 3 I would send them into their room to pick up without me. If they refused to pick up then the consequence was anything I had to pick up got put away for a week. Sometimes it was gone for two weeks if the hadn't learned their lesson. There were a few times where I picked things up and put them away. But the time they really learned their lesson when was they had almost all the toys spread over the room and wouldn't pick up. I put it all away and they had almost no toys to play with for a whole week. After that I just had to say "If you don't pick it up I will, then it goes away." The other thing you can do with your 7 year old is to show him wht it's like to not get any help. The next time he needs his shoes tied or coat zipped (whatever it is he's expecting you to help with) act the exact same as he does to you. When he gets mad because you on't help then explain that's how you feel when you ask him for help and he won't.

[deleted account]

Mary Poppins had the right idea: make it fun! Set a timer and have a race to see who can fold the most clothing in a 5 minute period. Have a contest to see who can dust the best - give out prizes for different categories of cleanliness so everyone's a winner (like "sparkliest" and "most spotless").

I would also make sure they have chores they are expected to do every day - for a 7 year old, making her bed might be too much, so make it for him for now. But have him start getting used to the idea by arranging his stuffed animals neatly on his bed or something like that. Also have him carry his plate to the sink at mealtimes.

The 3.5 y.o. can do simpler things like helping you put toys away in baskets at clean up time.

The hardest thing about getting your kids to participate in chores is being consistent. It's hard to keep after them to do something that you could probably do faster yourself. But it's so important to teach them that kind of responsibility! Start now or they'll never get into the groove.

Sarah - posted on 03/03/2011




I think sometimes this is the never ending battle. I have found that if you help them do the chores you want them to do it helps. For example if it if picking up their toys help them and then make a game out of it. Pick 3 toys that each one has to pick up and then make a race out of it. Or see if they can beat you, so have them team up together against you. Sometimes routine can also help. I do day care and one of our things is that we pick up the toys before we eat lunch. They all know that if I say it is time to pick up then it is almost time to eat. We also can't eat until the toys are all picked up.
My kids are 13 and 9 I don't do a set chore list for them, but there are some Saturday's (that is my cleaning day) where I need extra help. So I make a short list for each one. They are able to pick which chore they want to do and what order and then they can check it off when it is completed. They have really taken to the list idea. I also do not allow any TV until their chore list has been completed.

Samantha - posted on 03/03/2011




I have two boys and a girl. Five and under. I have the two boys help with everything. I'm not to worried if I have to redo it all (folding clothes,dishes,beds ect...) I feel that making them apart of it makes it fun and new and in a few years they will have mastered it. I also tell them we have to clean up before Daddy gets home so he can come home to a clean house. Most kids who don't see their Dad all the time want to make him Happy and they get excited that he will be happy with them. All of this doesn't always work but it does help teach them that Mom works hard at keeping up the house and it's important to help.

Deepti - posted on 03/03/2011




just change your way.. appreciate ur son for whatever little he articulate.. do not ask for help..just go on that his father loves a clean house and loves the one who maintains cleanliness.. that might prompt him to do his own cleaning work
second, make a list of all work u do and remind that u get exhausted at the end and so u r thinking of giving some works a miss like making his favorite dishes as they take long time to make... only if she gets some cooperation he may get some benefits of his choice...

Janine - posted on 03/03/2011




I have a 12, 11 & 5 year old. They ALL have jobs to do - and it started pretty much from when they could walk. Like - carry their clothes to their room and help me put them away. I use pocked money for all of them - but also have a reward if they do what needs to be done - like take them to the skate park, mcdonalds for tea, friend over etc. Its amazing what they will do if they know they are getting something out of it ! My 5 year old daughter actually mopped the whole house just so we could go get her friend for a play !

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms