Chores for Children

Updated on April 12, 2008
A.H. asks from Council Bluffs, IA
11 answers

I would like some advice on how to get my kids to do chores around the house. I am home all day with Daycare children and my 3 year old son while my 10 and 6 year old are in school. I have tryed to stick to a chore chart and that did not work my 10 and 6 year old don't want to do chores unless they get $$$ and that can not happen all the time. I want to make it fun for them and get them to get my 3 year old to like to help to. I do all the house work and my husband is always working. Its so hard to get them to keep their rooms cleaned please help with ideas.

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So What Happened?

Thank u so much for all the ideas I am pretty sure I got enough ideas. Wish me luck I am going to start it soon I got to go to the store to get the stickers and ect. Thanks again!!!

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answers from Lincoln on

i have a 5 year old and we started with giving him a dollar a week when he was 3. In order to get his dollar he just has to do what ever my husband and i ask him to do. it doesn't matter what we ask or how much we ask him if he does all the chores then he gets his dollar. if he goes above and beyond such as cleaning his room by himself then he gets an extra dollar. this has worked for us so far and are now considering coming up with an actual chore list so that he can start to earn a little more. on the chart thing my sister used to do that with her boys and she actually used a point system. If her kids hit a certain amount of points then tehy got what ever the points went towards such as a movie out may be worth 10 pts and so on. hope this helps

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answers from Omaha on

I have a 7 year old and a 5 year old. Trying to get them to clean up their own room was exhausting! So I started a box and placed it in the living room. I made pictures of the computer and TV and attached them to the side. When something doesn't get done like I ask, I take a toy away. It only works if you pick something they like and do all the time. (Hence, the tv and computer pictures attached to the side.) The box is visible so they are reminded of the toys constantly. When they do as I ask or do something without me asking they EARN a toy back. It's my choice what goes in but theirs for what comes out.
Point out that you don't get paid for doing their laundry, dishes, making dinner, cleaning the house etc. My mother actually stopped doing this and when we almost had to eat off dirty plates...we started pitching in. Also, my mom cleaned our rooms by putting everything in a garbage bag. She took it downstairs and we had to carry everything up one by one and put it away. (That was the last time we fought her on cleaning our rooms.)
If they want to do something, make them work for it. Or say, "Have you earned it?" "What have you done this week to help me?" "Why should I be willing to help you or give you permission to have fun doing something you enjoy?"
It helps if your husband talks to them too. When my husband calls from work and talks to the kids he reminds them to help me out and he had better not hear that they are giving me problems.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

Chores are not necessarily supposed to be fun. We have to teach our kids today that sometimes there are things that have to be do before they can do the fun things they want to do. i do think our society has failed miserably in convincing youth that things today are about being "fun".

If they don't want to keep their room picked up bag anything up into a bag and put it up. If they end up with nothing in their room and the don't like or no clothes to wear, then they have to learn to to pick their stuff up. if they can't go outside because all their clothes got confiscated, then they'll have to sit in their underwear and not do anything.

Don't worry about it being fun. If it's a must do, then they do it or lose privileges. My son is 4 and already will clear his dishes, pick up his toys, help fold towels and washcloths and put away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

A., i know you already have the advice on chores, but something i have found that works everytime, is this, and it still works even though my kids are 20, 16, 14, hahahha you break the chore down, instead of like clean your room , you like say make your bed, pick up clothes , etc, break it down , but then you write each thing on a small peice of paper and put them all in a bowl, however in the bowl are also papers containing get a snack from mom, or get a drink , things that they will do, and i sit back let them draw a paper, and they have to go do it , i have to check it first before they get to draw another paper, i a child draws a snack or drink they all get it, then finish up drawing from bowl till everything i put in there, is done, soemtimes they go so fast, i have to write more and put in bowl, but its fun, and they seem to do it, but the 20 year old works is not home so he does not do it anymore, and it is a bit old for my kids now, but ive done it lots of times with them and cousins that happend to be over, etc, and it worked, its also fun, or you can say whoever does the most papers, and the work done, after you checked it, gets a prize or something, have fun, and try it , it might work well too, for you , D. s



answers from Sioux Falls on

Do your older kids play video games yet? If they do, then make it the reward for chores, they cant play it unless all their chores are done. There are some great sites on the computer that would work too. has a place called Nicktroplis that lets your child roll play as a character, but also can visit some of his favorite nick toons. Its free and 100% safe. The chat can be listed words only, or if YOU let your child use the type part, only words that the nick dictionary has in it can be use, so there is no way your child can give out personal information. It does not require names or addresses to sign up, just a ID, password and a parent email. Its makes a great chore reward, and is one I use for my 7 yr old. Good luck!



answers from Lincoln on

I have a 3 1/2 and a 2 year old and another on the way so I am always looking for creative ways to get them to clean their rooms and help to pick up things. We had a chore chart but it was my fault that it didn't work. So I do rewards. If they do their chores everyday for the entire week they can get money or a special day with mom and dad! Their chores included to brush their teeth and things that they didn't really want to do. And so far this is working. If I give them money they don't know who much it is because is goes into their piggy bank...Usually $5 a week. Althought there are times that they have gone above what I am asking and then I do give them more money. My kids aren't old enought to want to spend their money so it really works. There are times that my daughter wants to have a friend over to play and that can also be a reward. Or a dinner out! Their fav is to rent a movie and have a family movie with popcorn. I think if you even start with your youngest and they see that you are rewarding that child with a day out with you alone, they might follow. Just make sure that you sit down and discus what the rewards will be and when they are given. Maybe they can save their weeks up for something very special.



answers from Denver on

Hi. In our house chores are not paid tasks, we all live in the house, we all make messes, so we all have to do our share. You might try something real easy like no tv or computer until your share of the work is done. We also did chores right after school. Try doing bedroom clean-up at like 7:30pm before they start getting ready for bed, that way you won't be babysitting and you can actually follow up to be sure chores are done. What I do with my 5 year old is I do not call it chores, I just say ok, lets go switch the laundry, or lets go clean your room, or it's time to set the table. So what you can do is keep a list of who is your helper for which chore that day and just ask them to come "help you". When the girls were older what I did was one girl cooked 2 days a week and one girl did dishes 2 days a week, they did there own laundry and rooms - I let them off on Fri thru Sunday. Good Luck!



answers from Boise on

We give our 7 year old and 5 year old money for doing chores, but its not very much (Like 25 cents for cleaning their room, 15 cents for putting laundry away). They don't like doing chores either and neither does the 3 year old who is just starting to help her brother and sister out. We stopped buying them toys, movies, and other kid stuff so when they point out something they want, we remind them that they will have to work (ie chores) for it.

There have been times when they've had a messy room for a few days. When someone trips or steps on a toy and gets hurt we take the opportunity to point out that if they cleaned their room, they wouldn't get hurt and their toys wouldn't get broken.



answers from Grand Forks on

I don't really pay my children but if they do something extra with out asking then they get an award. My kids are 8 & 5 and aren’t' the best house keepers yet but we are all working on it. One thing that works good for the whole family is 10 or 15 min pick up. Everyone runs around getting as much as they can in that time and then we just stop. Sometimes we can see what a differences it makes and they want to go another round but not always.

Also with the rooms. If you have your kids do time out in there room its not a place that they want to hang out in. 15 min pick up in the room is a good choice too. They don't have to get the whole room clean if they work on it. Sometimes when I see they are really working on it and it's coming along nice with no fighting I will give them each 5 mins of my help. But they have to start it first.

Having duties set up in advance is a wonderful idea that way there is no surprise. They are expected to do it. And with age comes responsibly. So the older ones will do more or harder duties then the younger ones. Also don’t leave anyone out. Work as a team. It feels good to get something done as a family. You could set up a reward jar with sticks and they get to pick one out when you feel the need. I could be as simple as rent a game for the weekend or go play at MickyD’s and just get an ice cream, or even just a dollar. Put things that you and they will like, it will be a surprise for what’s to come. If it’s to hard to pick out things for all of them you could make a jar for each kid and they could help make up the rewards.
The timer is wonderful. Set it and see what you can get done.
Here’s to becoming clean..



answers from Waterloo on

I agree with some that chores are just expected. But I don't think incentives are necessarily bribery either. I found a product online that I just bought and plan to try. Here is the link: <<I deleted in case it was against the rules here. Send me a message if you're interested!>> It is a reward-based system, but I liked that I control the value of the reward. It's similar to Chuck E. Cheese in that there are tokens and you can redeem them for rewards. Although this system doesn't have to be 'stuff'. It can include non-tangible rewards as well.

There's a second site for this product in which they discuss rewards. It's here: <<deleted again. Just send me a message to read about it.>> under "Rewards for chores?"

Anyway, I also liked that it will be my son's job to do most of the work related to the chore chart. Nothing I have to write down each day. Not too many chores in organizing the chore chart! :)

Good luck, A.. Take care.



answers from Des Moines on

My sister and I both just bought a Dry Erase / Magnetic Chore Chart at Target. I love it! It comes with color coordinated stars for up to 4 children. It also has an area where you can designate how many stars earn something (for instance we are using TV as a reward in hopes to limit the viewing). My sister even takes away earned stars when her daughter misbehaves.

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