How to Get Your Kids to Help Out More

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Have you ever thought about how many times a day you ask your kids to do something? Whether you’re asking your kids to pick up their toys, their dirty laundry off their bedroom floors, or their school book bag pile in front of the door, you’re probably sounding a bit like a broken record. The worst part? All of that nagging never really seems to work anyway. The wet towels are still on the floor, you’ve tripped over Buzz Lightyear an infinite number of times, and the dog definitely never gets walked. It’s enough to make the strongest mother feel defeated. How do you get the kids to pitch in without pitching a total fit?

Sarah on “Trying Not to Cosset”

“I’ll admit that I am my own worst enemy. I found myself thinking that my toddler was too young and I definitely babied him too much. Once he got to preschool, the teachers expected him to hang up his coat, put away the toys, and keep his area neat – all things I definitely wasn’t reinforcing at home. I was slightly embarrassed, since he actually had to unlearn the bad habits that I was essentially teaching him without even realizing it. I learned a huge lesson that others will expect much of your kids, so you should too. My younger son is already learning that it’s not a free ride at home.”

Alicia on “A Family that Works Together”

“I am big believer that everyone in the family needs to contribute. It’s not just the job of the mom and dad to carry everything, so my daughter has always had chores and there’s no payment for it. She knows that to be part of the family, she needs to contribute her part as well. Every Sunday, we all sit down and plot out the week, what needs to get done, and who is doing what. She knows what is on her list for the week and she gets it done without any trouble. We started young, so it’s just part of the routine now.”
Three more things to think about when co-opting the kids into helping around the house:

1. Teaching An Important Lesson

Nobody likes to nag, but it is even worse to be the one that constantly hears “you never help” or “you don’t do anything.” Remember that delegating chores or tasks not only means you’ll be nagging less, but it also teaches your kids an important lesson in how to be a team player.

2. Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Don’t go from zero to 100. If your kids don’t help out at all right now, don’t hit them with a 20-task list. Instead, start small and let them feel the accomplishment in a few tasks. After a few months, gradually increase the tasks.

3. Be Specific to Avoid Frustration

There’s nothing worse than telling a kid to make their bed and then finding a blanket thrown over the lumpy sheets. The parent feels frustrated that it’s not done correctly, and the child feels like they’re always getting scolded. When devising the tasks, be specific about when it needs to be done and how. Garbage day is Monday morning? Make sure they sort Sunday night and tell them how you want it done. More instruction now means less frustration later. Oh, and don’t forget to praise and thank them. A pat on the back goes a long way.

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