10 ways to get your kid to work around the house

If you read my post on Friday about child behavior being in the eye of the beholder, you’d know that I promised to give you 10 ways to get your kid to work around the house. Well, I’m a woman of my word, so without further ado, here you go:

  1. Have a family meeting. Let them know you love them to pieces, and because you love them, you’re going to help them be more part of the family.
  2. Have them come up with ideas of things they can work on. Some ideas you’ll keep: Taking out the trash or clearing the dishes! Others you will ixnay, like: We get to go to Chuck E. Cheese every time we remember to flush! It’s not the ideas you follow up on with the kids that count. It’s listening to them that makes all the difference. (But in the end, it’s a dictatorship. Mom rules. So sorry!)
  3. Don’t install more than 3 new things at a time. I heard once that kids can’t take more than 3 changes at a time. I’ve found that to be true. Work on those for 21 days until they become a habit, then move on to the next three. Want to write a list of 100 things that need work? Great. But don’t implement more than 3 at a time or you are headed for frustration.
  4. Don’t expect perfection. Tuesday, Stink finished “washing” the back windows. They are more spotty than before he started. But the dirt is off. This will still be easier for me to clean tomorrow. I’ll take it!
  5. Stop feeling guilty already! Having our kids work, even if they cry and complain at first, is the best gift we can give them. I find it even more important if they have “special needs” of any kind. If my kid is going to tic his way through 4th grade, he’s also going to do it without food on his face, an organized back pack and a good understanding of when it’s appropriate to tell a joke.
  6. Laugh! It can’t all be about work. When it’s done, don’t over compliment them. “Congrats on your mediocrity!” Stay calm, say thanks, and then pull out a board game. It shows that life is about work and play.
  7. Stop working at a certain point in the day. It’s so important to enjoy our kids, even if they are bugging us. The less stressed you are – which means you aren’t trying to Ebay while getting them ready for bed (Ahemmmmm) the easier it is to appreciate them.
  8. Come up with an allowance. I used to pay 25 cents per day. I’d have the nickels waiting in a family jar in the center with two tin jars on either side for Stink and Pip. When they did their job, I did a fine job of letting the coin clink clink clink in the can. This helped on 2 fronts: They got the instant gratification of money when they did something. When they argued or complained, I made them walk over to their jar, take out a nickel, and put it back in the family jar. If they complained about that, they got to put 2 nickles in.
  9. Don’t be such a task master! When we used the jar system, I’d often have the kids take random nickels from the jar and pay themselves. “Just for bringing your dish to the sink without asking!” I’d say. Encouragement is good.
  10. Give kids the day off. We try not work on Sundays. No beds need to be made. No major chores. We just put away what we take out.

We have a LONG way to go, but this is what I do to keep my sanity. Would love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I love these! I think the nickels is a great idea-going to try that one…. oh and i like this “which means you aren’t trying to Ebay while getting them ready for bed ” hahahaha! :-)

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