Barely were the words “go put away your clothes” out of my mouth than I heard a huge sigh from my 7 year old daughter. She slumped her shoulders and stomped off, not at all eager to listen to my request.
Seems silly, right? And yet thousands of children like mine–and maybe yours too!–don’t ever seem to want to do what they’re asked to, at least without whining or complaining!
If you can only take so much of your kids bad attitudes when it comes to helping out around the house, consider these three reasons our kids don’t want to do chores and the keys to turning this bad attitude around!
Our Kids Don’t Understand the Purpose for Doing Chores
To a child, having to clear the table and sort the laundry can seem like complete drudgery if they don’t know why they’re being asked to do it! I can totally understand the feeling!
In our family, we share with our kids that the reasons we ask them to help out are three-fold:
- To learn to have a helping heart that loves to serve others. When we contribute to the family by doing chores or projects together and see the pleasant results (a project finished, a playroom where they can actually find their toys), our kids learn the value and benefits of servanthood that will carry them into adulthood.
- To teach them teamwork. If we want a job (like folding laundry) to be done quickly, we typically ask our older three kids to do it together (the 2 1/2 year old just runs in circles and carries socks around the room, haha!). Our kids can lighten each other’s workload and then see how fast a job can be done when working together!
- To keep our home running more smoothly so we can have more time for fun! When it comes to getting schoolwork finished on time and washing the dishes so they don’t pile up, having an opportunity to do something really fun afterwards is an extra motivator–for kids and adults! Life works this way when we grow up too (work, then play), so we may as well teach this principle early!
We Aren’t Explaining to Our Children How to Do the Chores we Ask Them to Do
When we don’t explain how to do a task, our kids can get overwhelmed very easily. As a grown woman, I may walk into our bedroom and know immediately what needs to be put away and where. But when I ask my five year old to clean up his room without any kind of direction, I shouldn’t be surprised when he drags his feet and just doesn’t do anything.
To help our kids feel less overwhelmed and confused about what they should be doing and how, it’s helpful to create a list that shows them steps for, say, cleaning their room or doing laundry.
(I’ve created a How to Sort Laundry printable that you might find helpful!)
My 7 and 10 year old kids have a simple routine that I’ve typed up to keep in their rooms that gives them something to reference when cleaning their rooms. I taught them how to do the various tasks that are on the printout in the past so they just need some general guidance.
With our younger kids, we walk them through the tasks we want done several times. It seems tedious, but it really helps them get the routine down so they can do it on their own eventually, thus saving us as parents time in the long run! It also helps them not to dread chores if they know what is expected of them!
We Have a Bad Attitude About Keeping the Home Ourselves
If I am constantly complaining how much work there is to do around the house or how I “never get anything done” with kids around (um, yeah, that’s been me more times than I care to admit), how can I expect my kids to be enthusiastic about doing the same things?
Simply having a home to clean is a privilege and so if we allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate thankfulness to God for what He has given us, a renewed mindset will help change the way our kids view taking care of our home as well. An attitude of thankfulness is something that God is working on in me every day! It helps to literally count my blessings some days when I feel crazy!
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This post begins a series on Kids and Chores!
You can find all of the posts in the series HERE!
If you’d like help in this area of life or just need a fresh, grace-filled perspective on kids and chores, I hope you’ll read these posts!
Let’s teach our kids the value of serving others and working together as a family!