Anyone whose children LOVE doing chores, raise your hand high!!

Not all at once please. ;)

Perhaps you have children like mine, who started out as toddlers very excited about helping mom with household chores or dad with outdoor tasks but have somehow morphed into a slumped-shouldered, sighing, elementary-aged individual who believes chores are for the birds. And maybe not even for the birds.

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Is this how your child looks when you ask him or her to do chores? ;)

I’ve been there, and I’m still there! No one has a perfect attitude about doing what they’re told all the time, children or adults! We all have a stubborn nature that chafes at doing something that doesn’t seem “fun” or enjoyable in the moment. So it’s important to find a way to redirect that tenaciousness for the good in our children {and likely in ourselves as well}.

There are some techniques we’ve implemented in our home the past few years. Our children are currently 8, 5, almost 3 and a baby and everyone but the baby pitches in even when they don’t want to. We’re even trying to teach our kids and remind ourselves the benefits of having a clean and {semi} organized home.

Our home is not a place of perfection but using these tips we’ve been able to keep the home and yard under control, generally speaking, with the {mostly cheerful} help of our children. Here are my eight best tips for getting kids to do chores {without complaining}. 

 8 tips for getting kids to do chores (without complaining!) If you've ever dealt with bad attitudes when you ask your children to clean up, this post is for you!

It All Starts With You!

If I’m going to be grumpy and sour-faced about doing chores, you can bet my kids will be too! Yes, chores are work and they’re not “fun”, per say, but if we pray that the Lord will give us a good attitude about both doing the chores and teaching our children to do them, the tone of our home will be one of joy, doing our work “as unto the Lord.”

I am so NOT good at this. I enjoy cleaning but find that I procrastinate on certain chores that I don’t like, so my attitude in this area is still something I’m working on! :) I really notice though that if I make a point to smile and be pleasant while we are working together or I am instructing the kids on what to do, it helps the situation!

Even if they don’t like the chore or protest about it, I try to just repeat myself calmly and discipline if necessary. I remind myself that I’m “starting as I mean to go on” and working toward a greater goal of teaching our children to embrace a good attitude in all they do and see the reward that comes from a job well done.

Give Them Age Appropriate Chores So They Don’t Get Frustrated

My 8 year old is very skilled at carrying the recycling container from the kitchen down the steps and out the door, then dumping it into the recycling bin in the garage. Ask my 5 year old to accomplish the same thing and disaster ensues: papers floating to the floor and half the items not making it into the garage bin.

Be aware of what your children are capable of and give them chores based on those abilities. They will slowly learn to do more and become very efficient when they are doing things that are at their age level. Check out this post for age-appropriate chore ideas!

You can also find a more extensive list of age-based chores as well as a fun chore wheel and other chore printables in my new devotional eBook, Filling Hearts While Cleaning Homes!

Be Consistent. “Inspect What You Expect.”

If I just ask my kids to do chores once in a while at random times, I can’t really expect that they’ll learn much or have a good attitude about doing them. Making a simple chore chart and expecting those tasks to be completed each day or week goes a long way in developing a consistent routine.

Start with the very basics {making bed, brushing teeth, putting away pajamas, etc.} and get those mastered before you move on to more. Also, be sure to “inspect what you expect” so your kiddos understand how the job should be done and know if they are doing it right. Which brings me to my next point…

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Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them

When you are introducing a new chore or task, be sure to show your child how it should be done {at their level of capability}. Do it with them a couple {or more} times. This is what I do:

  1. Get my child to come over to me or into the work area so I have their attention.
  2. Do the chore, explaining how it is to be done.
  3. Do it with them as many times as it takes {this could take one time or several weeks each time the chore comes up} for them to really understand what they are to accomplish.
  4. Have them do the job on their own and then “check their work.” Correct if necessary.

I really don’t like doing that last step, because it is sometimes a pain to step away from what I am doing to see how my daughter made her bed. But I keep telling myself that if I take the time to make sure it’s done properly {again, according to their ability} someday I won’t need to check anymore! 

Give Them a Visual Reminder of What to Do

This is similar to the last tip, but taking it one step further. Younger children really benefit from a picture of how the room looks when it’s clean or photos that you tape on boxes of the certain toys that go in that box, etc. I am currently in the process of taking photos of the family room, kitchen, bathroom, living room and their bedrooms when they are clean {which isn’t often, so that’s why it’s taking me awhile! ;) } so that the children have something to refer to when I ask them to tidy up.

Make Chores Fun and Mix Things Up

Like I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t classify chores as fun, but there’s no reason we as moms can’t mix things up a bit so it doesn’t seem like such a….well….”chore” to clean up!

Some ideas for making chores a bit more fun are the flashlight game, job jar, beat the clock, how many things can you pick up and two-minute tidy!

Kids Doing the Flashlight Game
Kids Doing the Flashlight Game

Reward Them for Their Work

Rewards don’t need to come in the form of money all the time. Kids can be rewarded with hugs, enthusiastic praise, stickers {especially loved by toddlers}, a small treat or a fun surprise. It’s important to praise our kids 30 times more than we criticize them and I feel like I am more likely to do this if I am purposeful about giving them “rewards” for a job well done. Otherwise I tend to forget to thank them, which is another thing in which I am a constant work in progress :)

Remind Them What God Says about Doing Work

There are many Proverbs that address slothful behavior verses a good work ethic and those verses can be brought to our children’s attention during devotional times or even just before we have our cleaning time. Keeping Scripture in front of our eyes and repeating it certainly has many benefits, and the Spirit will remind us of those Bible verses when we need encouragement, or more than likely, a kick in the pants!

For instance, my daughter’s chore chart that’s posted in her room looks like this, with Bible verses at the bottom.

leah's tasks

Posting something similar to this is very helpful for a child who can read so that you can say “Look at your chore chart. What does it tell you to do next?”

If my children grump and groan about what they are to do, I get down on their level and tell them that we are called to do what we’re asked “all the way, right away, with a good attitude”. I tell them that mommy struggles with that sometimes but that we can ask God and He will help us to be cheerful.

Little by little, this truth works its way into our minds and hearts, resulting in a better demeanor and more enthusiastic response, both from our children and us as parents!

Side Note: You may have to deal with discipline issues if you have a child who is not listening to you or deliberately defiant. This is probably something you will have to address before expecting your child to help cheerfully and without {too much} complaint.

Do you have any tips that work for you in getting your children to do chores? Please feel free to share in the comments–I’d love to hear!

7 Comments on 8 Tips for Getting Kids to Do Chores {Without Complaining}

    • That’s great! I love when kids are at that stage! My almost three year old still loves to help too and I hope that continues!

  1. Hello Jen,
    h from Beyond the Sippy cup here. Just posted the article about kids chores that makes references to your 8 tips article. I appreciate you letting me link to you and hope that you might get a minute to visit our blog. Thanks agin.
    H recently posted…Beyond Kids ChoresMy Profile

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for linking back to my post! For some reason I can’t comment on your blog :( But I appreciated your post very much. It’s hard for me to have a good attitude about chores too, I am always working on that :)

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