It can get really exhausting to keep asking your child to pick up their shoes, their backpack, or even their dishes. Not just for you, but for your children too. No one likes to be nagged, but when your child doesn’t do what you ask it can lead to you feeling disrespected. It is important for our children to be given basic tasks in the home for them to carry their weight in the family. How do we motivate our children to help out without becoming screaming nagging task masters?
Responsibility & Respect
Remember that just because you are instilling your child into responsibility of having a chore to do in the house does not mean you will make them into being more organized or unlazy. It can feel disrespectful when our children are asked to do something but they don’t do it. They are not being disrespectful purposefully most of the time. They are children, they are going to forget things sometimes, and picking up is not on their top priority.
Chores & Expectations
Assigning appropriate chores for your child is necessary in making sure they can complete it to your standards. Also don’t expect your child to know exactly how to do a chore. If they have never seen you do this specific chore, you may want to hold a chore boot camp of sorts. Show them how to do the chore to your expectations, then have them repeat it over and over until they know how you expect them to do it.
Having high expectations of our children sometimes can be the problem. You may need to adjust your expectations. Figure out what is essential that you can’t budge on and what is something that can slide. That could be making your child pick up their plate after dinner every night, but you can let slide the fact they didn’t pick their shoes up when they got home from school.
Communication is Key
Communication is key to any relationship. This includes your relationship with your children. Make sure they know exactly what is expected of them. Have a family meeting to lay out what everyone’s tasks are. Chores are good that kids get paid for, but also having tasks that are just part of keeping the family running can also be important to have your children be responsible for.
Another fun family task you can do is have a family chore day on the weekend. This can be a big family chore, like cleaning up the garage or backyard. Or a ten minute clean. Set a timer for ten minutes and everyone does as much straightening up and cleaning that they can in that ten minutes. Not everything will get spotless, but you will be amazed at how much can get picked up.
Once you have communicated and set up what is expected of your children with their chores, then you can move on to making them happen. Make sure you have a time set of when chores should be completed if there needs to be a time limit. This can be all clothes need to be in the laundry hamper before laundry day, otherwise your laundry will not get washed. Or if it is more time sensitive you can say that their task needs to be done by lunch, or an exact time like 3pm. Once they know of their time restriction, remind them once then leave it be. Give them the responsibility of getting it done, without you having to remind them constantly.
Let them know before that unfinished chores will have a consequence. Sensible consequences are good to have in place for unfinished tasks. Try to remain calm when the task goes uncompleted. Watch your tone and words. When the time limit has passed, you calmly tell them that they didn’t complete their chore and instill the consequence that had previously been decided on.
Consequences can be taking something away from them, or revoking certain privileges. If you asked your family to pick up their clothes into the laundry hamper before laundry day and they don’t, you can make the punishment be that whatever clothes weren’t put into the hamper, get washed by the child. If your child flat out refuses to do chores or carry their weight in the family, you can try taking everything out of their room, to whatever extreme you want and make them work for their possessions. It is your home, you get to set the ground rules.
Purpose & Responsibility
Explaining to your child that each person doing chores supports the needs of the whole family can help them feel a purpose to the chores. You are helping them when they move out and have to live on their own. When you have older kids who want to be treated like an adult you can tie the want for adult freedom, to adult responsibility.
Don’t get discouraged when you children don’t do their chores. And don’t expect them to fail. Think positive, talk positive, and have faith in your child to succeed.
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