Chores and Laziness

Updated on August 03, 2007
M.M. asks from Colorado Springs, CO
11 answers

Both my boys (7 and almost 10) have chores that they are to do daily. If I do not check chore each day they either don't do them or half way do them. If I get busy and take their "word" for a couple days they do worse and worse. I've tried grounding and extra chores, which works for a couple days but then the cycle starts again. Does anyone have any ideas?

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Count the days until they're 18!

Just kidding. I got a 15 year old boy when I married my husband 5 years ago. I made a chore chart and each chore cost a certain amount of money (which totalled up to $20 a week...he couldn't ask us for any more than what he earned). He had to complete the chores by 9:00pm to get paid. If he didn't, he still had to do them (and yes, he grumbled each and every time). If he didn't complete them by 9:00, he still had to do them, but he didn't get paid. The first week he got $8.50. "Where's my money?" He asked. "I did all my chores!" Then I had to show him the chart. The highlighted ones were the ones he did, the blacked out ones (so he couldn't sneek the highlighter in when I wasn't looking) covered most of his chart. But he couldn't grumble...that was really nice because he could only blame himself. If he did complain, I just told him to be mad at himself for not doing them in time and to do a better job this week.

Now that I think about it, I should have cut the payment in half if he grumbled about doing it. That should have stopped the grumbling in its tracks. Oh well. I have a new brood to try that out on.

By the way...we did count each and every day until he moved out! ;)

PS I also grew up on a ranch and the ranch work was family work...we all did it. The chores were extra and getting an allowance taught me the value of money, and both my brother and I are excellent with money today because of it. But we had to earn it! That's not bribery, that's life. You don't get paid for work you don't do at work, and unless you've been taught the value of money by actually having it and working for it, you may never learn to use it wisely.

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answers from Denver on

I know this works with students in a classroom (I'm a teacher) but haven't tried it with my kids (they're 2 and probably wouldn't get it). Get one of those incentive charts from a teacher supply store and you put a sticker on for each day that they do what they are told & do it well, without you having to watch over them as much. Once they fill a row or the whole chart, they can turn the completed chart in for some type of reward- a trip to Dairy Queen, bring a friend to pizza, whatever might catch their interest. You could ask them what they wanted to be their reward before starting so they know what they're working toward & you know what to expect. Or talk about a couple of ideas for the reward but give them the opportunity to change their mind.

Good luck!

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answers from Denver on

I so hear what you are saying- we had this same issue until recently. My kids are 12 and 10 and this really seemed to work for us. We put daily chores together that they are responsible for posted on a bulliten board near the kitchen laminated them so they can check them off when they are done. Then I take skittles or M&M's whatever they pick out and place them in a small container near the bulliten board. So when they do a chore they take one out and obviously eat it.

Here is the catch our chore days are every other day for them. My 12 year old has chores on monday and 10 year old has them tuesday and then it continues every other day- they mark it on the calender in pencil. If the 10 year old doesn't do all his chores on tuesday (candy still in the dish) he has chores on Wednesday again. For instance I noticed my 12 year old still has skittles in the dish this am so she has chores again today. Needless to say she isn't going to be thrilled.

This has really helped me, I don't have to nag anymore nor check to see if they got done. Cause if the candy is still in the dish there is my answer. You don't have to do candy either could be a nickle for each chore or a yogurt covered raisin - just throwing ideas out. Saturday chores are a little different as that is the day they are both responsible for their own rooms.. Sometimes they do their saturday chores on Friday.

Really hope that helps..

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answers from Colorado Springs on

I have a 10 year old son who is much the same way. I have made him do his chorses first thing in the morning or right after school before he can do anything he wants to do which is usually the computer or video games. I do this only when he starts whinning and complaing about doing chores. Otherwise, I just ask him to do something and give him a specific time frame to have it done like by dinner time or before bed. I think it's one of those things that you have to constantly work on with your kids. One day you will see the results as positive. Just don't give up and try not to be nagging about the chores. Just do one reminder and if it doesn't get done in the time frame you give then take away a privelege that will really hit home. God bless you and your parenting. J.

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answers from Denver on

I am not a big chore person, but my girlfriend has found a great system in her house: She keeps jars in her kitchen for her allowance and chores are given a dollar amount. If the child does not perform by a specified time and she has to do it, she takes the allowance money out of the jar and puts a note in the jar letting them know what chore she had to do for them. At the end of the week, they feel the consequences of not doing chores. If the chore is just to pick up toys, and warnings have been made, she throws them in a "garage sale box" and they have to buy back the toys they want. After a while, some toys are literally given away because they don't want to spend their money to play with it again. She had also threatened the grounding but that didn't work either. As soon as she took away the computer and playstation (for her one boy) it worked for a while but he was so "bored" he bugged her--so it became punishment to her also. Hope this helps, it did require alot of supervision and organization (she posted the chores on the refrig) in the beginning, but it seems to work since it was affecting their allowance money. I don't believe that kids should be paid to keep up with their room and toys so my kids will clean and pick up if asked (usually without trouble). My boys are 7 and 10 also, and with school and sports they have enough going on. I may be putting more work on myself, but they're good kids and willing to help me if I needed. If they want to "earn" extra money, I have a list of extra things to do at anytime. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Way to go! You're a great mom to love your boys enough to teach them about responsibility! Good work! The Parenting with Love and Logic series has some GREAT stuff about getting your kids to do chores. Super practical, quickly applicable. You can get their books from the library, or the website is:
They have age-specific books and always give great stories and examples. Hope that helps!

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answers from Colorado Springs on

Have you tried positive reinforcement? Praise and rewards?

I have 6 kids total, ages 3-16, 3 boys, 3 girls, and they all have chores. Praise is a big plus, even if it's not done as you'd like it. Criticism, will only discourage them more.
Rewards could be money, clothes, toys, games, a trip to the movies, ice cream and so on. You can be creative.
If there's no money you could try giving them tv privelages or video game privelages.
For example, if you do all your chores you will earn 2 hours of tv. If they are done sloopy, you get 30 minutes.
Just giving you some ideas, you can play with.

Worse comes to worse take the tv and video game away. They'll have to earn it.

When you find the thing they desire most, they will work for it.

Works for report cards too.
Don't get discouraged. What works for one might not work for the other, but i know you will find something that will work.
Read the book the 5 love languages of children by Gary Chapman. You will learn how to love and discipline your kids according to their language.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Junction on

I'm sorry to hear that you are having problems with your sons doing their chores, but I disagree with the other people who are essentially bribing their kids with candy and money to do their household jobs. I grew up on a ranch, you did your chores and that was that, we didn't get money and candy, it was expected and I think that if your boys know it is expected for them to participate and it is what is required to be a part of your family the long term success will be far greater. Explain to them how you and their father contribute to the household and it is also expected of them. You may consider not letting the participate in sports until they can do their chores properly. Sorry for the harshness, I just don't think that children should be bribed into doing things, it does not set a good life pattern.

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answers from Fort Collins on

I have a 10 yr. old girl that all I require her to do every day is to read for an hour and keep her room clean. If she does that she gets paid $2 every day ($1 for each). If she does it all seven days for that week, she gets a bonus of $1. I was really slack on her room, but never on her reading. I tried grounding also, but it never worked for me either. She is a cheerleader so she loves activity and outside, but that still didn't help. So now I just make a point of going in her room before I go to bed, and check her room. If there is even one thing out of place, I deduct the dollar. That seems to help, because she knows that I am going to be in their to check.

Anyway, I ended up having to give her an incentive. I don't know if it is good to pay kids that early, but it seems to work for mine, bcause she knows that she has to work for her money. Who knows to help out the progress even more, maybe I will jump up the bonus dollar to five, because now she wants to save up for her own cell phone.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I'm a love and logic mom too, (glad to see it already mentioned)

I do the allowance concept that L&L suggests, so my son gets 7 dollars every Saturday, 2 of it goes in savings and he gets to keep the rest (It comes with an invoice with the amount, deductions and reason for deductions, and then says "make it last - when its gone, its gone") its been over 1 and 1/2 years since we've started the allowance, and its sooo great, he doesn’t get paid to do chores, but he can pay to have them done for him. and if It doesn’t get done, I don’t say a thing, don’t need to, I just deduct it from his pay (at my rate) and I do the chore, no more reminders, well at first he may come off as "don’t care, didn’t need the money anyway" but then I pop off with "Hey, I'm going Bowling, (or to get Ice-cream or what ever) who wants to go?" I do (he says) we go, I pay for mine, He opens his wallet and has no cash, gives me a little guilt look like "Gosh mom, I don’t have enough money (puppy dog eyes) (giggle) I say "Ahh what a bummer, But! Pay Day is Saturday!! Maybe you can afford it Next time!! Love Ya Honey! (and he goes without, but not because of me. but because of him self..

My concept is, I don’t care how his chores get done, if he really don’t want to do them, That’s Great!! He can pay a friend, neighbor kid, grandma, or ME if he wants, I don’t care, Its not my worry. (And if he doesn’t get it done by the end of the week (or day if its a daily chore), I make the decision on how it to get it done) and I charge a lot more than some of his friends. I don’t say a thing, and when Pay day comes around, He sees the deduction on his statement.. Then I just be sure to create opportunities for him feel the consequence of the decision he made. (Good and bad) I make sure when he does have money, I still go do fun stuff so he feels good about him self.

You see. Kids cost money, I just hand it over to him to manage. I don’t pay for sox when he runs out side and gets holes in them, he can earn EXTRA money if I don’t feel like doing one of my chores and I pay him to do it, but I don’t pay much, he'll say "I'll vacuum your room for a dollar" I say "Nah, not worth it to me, I'll do it my self" He says "how much will you give me" I say "10 cents" He can either accept it or refuse the offer. But he's learning money management, responsibilities and the consequence of not holding up his responsibilities, and he's learning how to negotiate, He's learning that he can do it. He has what it takes to fail, and then succeed, to be able to take care of him self, leaning how to make decisions. It’s been a great learning experience. It worked VERY well too when he wouldn’t brush his teeth, I told him "I'll love you no matter how many teeth you have in your mouth" then when we got the dental bill, and he had to pay 1/2 (cuz I am his mother, I do negotiate and pay for some) but he had to pay 170 dollars to have his teeth fixed! He NEVER goes w/o brushing again, I never remind him either.
Good luck and I hope you enjoy the web site and what L&L has to offer on teaching kids responsibility.
P.S My son has ADHD and is on NO meds, Love and Logic has saved our lives.
And, I believe this works so well v.s. reward charts or getting paid to do chores is because there comes a time where the kid doesnt care about the reward, but once the money is in there hand and they have to hand it over, or it was once thiers and now isnt. Has more impact than not getting something they never had in the first place.



answers from Salt Lake City on

There is a website for The House Fairy ( which has some neat ideas for encouraging kids to keep their rooms clean. The House Fairy "visits" your house and leaves a treat, toy, coupons for fun activities, etc. (whatever it is you want her to leave) when their rooms are clean and she will only leave fairy dust when the rooms are messy. I've been using it with my daughter and she is very excited when she gets something from her. It has helped, but I am not consistent enough with it so it's my own fault that it's not working for me as well as it should. It's only $10 or $20 for a 2 year subscription and you get all kinds of downloads and videos to watch for the kids that has the House Fairy talking to them. Your 10 year old might think it's corny and figure out that it's really you leaving the surprises, but as long as it's fun, who cares?
Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck!

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