Kids and chores pt. 1: How to answer “BUT MOOOOOMMM! WHYYYYYYYY?!”

Kids and chores pt. 1: How to answer “BUT MOOOOOMMM! WHYYYYYYYY?!”

Memorial Day means summer, which is a perfect time to change up the family routine. What better way to spice things up than to ADD SOME CHORES to your children’s days?

Assigning chores is a lesson in delayed gratification if ever there was one!

The first few times you ask them to do something new can be pretty ugly, or maybe exciting (if you have birthed an angel).

But once the chore becomes a habit, you as a parent get to bask in the glory of your diligence for years to come. The idea behind this first post about kids and chores is to find your motivation.

Why do you want to have your kids help around the house?

Here’s my motivation:

It came to my attention long ago that there is something different about the generation of young adults leaving home in the 2010’s. Two important generalizations I’ve noticed:

  1. their lack of mastery in the art of homemaking and life skills in general
  2. their parents’ interest (bordering on obsession) with helping their children avoid unpleasantries (read: avoid real life)

One story I heard about a freshperson whose mother got herself a hotel room near campus for the first 2 weeks of class sent me straight to my computer to create a chore spreadsheet. My kids were only 3 and 4 at the time, but I would be damned if they were going off to college not knowing how to handle their own personal needs!

My chore sheet was great! For two weeks.

Then I had to add rewards.

And then a new chart that was more exciting.

And while that worked for my self-motivated child very well (parts of it still work 6 years later) my other child is not a chart kinda guy. So I had to find different options for him.

So, before I start writing a series of posts about kids and chores, I’d like to give you two things to think about.

What is your motivation for having your children help around the house? Write these reasons down on a little card or piece of paper you can go back to to be motivated when enforcing the responsibility is more sucky than doing the chore yourself.

Getting kids into the habit of helping is definitely worth the effort it takes to get there. Make your intentions and your reason(s) for doing this for your kids clear, at least to you. And hopefully to your parenting partner.

Next, keep in mind that most of these ideas will not work for all children. You have to be committed to finding one or two that work for your child(ren) and be willing to stick with it.

Everyone is going to mess up and forget one day, or let it go for a week. Don’t beat yourself up about that. DO get back in the saddle and let everyone know that the game is still on. If they are old enough, ask them for help reminding you. If there are rewards involved, they will want to be able to earn the rewards again.

Take away: What is your motivation to have your kids do more around the house starting this summer?


3 thoughts on “Kids and chores pt. 1: How to answer “BUT MOOOOOMMM! WHYYYYYYYY?!”

  1. Pingback: Chores pt 3: The Subtle Arts of Persuasion and Bribery | get organized already!

  2. Pingback: Chores pt. 2: Why Continuity is More Important than Clean | get organized already!

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