Is it a constant struggle to get your children to do their chores? It can be a huge frustration and as a parent, you’re probably at your wit's end. How can you motivate your child to do chores without a big argument or fight? And without having to resort to punishments and taking away their privileges?
Luckily, chores don’t have to be frustrating, and we’ve got some great tips to make chore time easy. Imagine that!
Before we dive deeper, here are some books that might help you out:
Understanding your child’s personality is the surest way to easier chore time
Not all children are the same. Well, that seems to be pretty obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you see a messy house. And to be honest, you might look at a scattered room or bedroom and wonder why on earth your child doesn’t feel motivated to clean it up the way you do.
Well, the truth is, your child can feel motivated, but it’s up to you to know how to motivate them.
And that all depends on their personality. So, thanks to the work of a best-selling author, Carol Tuttle, you can understand your children in a whole new light and even understand why they don’t want to do chores.
Here’s a basic breakdown of the four types of children, according to Tuttle:
- Type 1: Fun-loving, bright, cheerful and animated children
- Type 2: Sensitive, detail-oriented and careful children
- Type 3: Determined, results-driven and children who love challenges
- Type 4: Serious, perfecting and methodical children
Of course, your child is a complex person with many attributes and characteristics. However, it’s likely that you spotted your child in one of the four types above. If so, you’re in luck!
That’s because each of the four types is motivated by different things.
Let’s take a look at how to motivate each type of child to do chores, accordingly to Carol Tuttle.
How to get fun-loving (Type 1) children to do chores
For these children, chores are downright boring. So, make it more fun with their favorite music. Or, help them use their imagination so that picking up toys becomes a fairytale adventure or even a treasure hunt.
Because chores aren’t exactly fun, they might stop before their finished. So, you might have to be a little more patient as you guide your child to stick with the chore from start to finish.
A helpful hint for parents is that it’s okay to let some things slide. Sometimes, it’s just not in the nature of bright, animated children to be super thorough and meticulous. So, it’s important not to punish them for this, or to make them feel bad about themselves for this.
How to get sensitive (Type 2) children to do chores
Rushing or pushing these children to clean up and do their chores will actually backfire on you. That’s because these children like to be able to plan and do a thorough job. Detailed expectations can help this type of child complete the chores in a way that’s motivating and fulfilling to them.
How can you motivate a sensitive child to complete their chores? Create a plan and outline the chores that need to be done, along with a detailed list of what has to happen. This can apply to setting the table, doing the dishes, or folding and putting away the laundry.
A helpful hint from Tuttle is that these children love comfort, so remind them that doing their chores helps to make their living space more comfortable.
How to get determined (Type 3) children to do chores
These kids love to see results. So, don’t be afraid to give them a to-do list of their chore(s) and most importantly, praise them for a job well done. More than anything, these kids love the moment of accomplishment.
So, to help them feel motivated, challenge them to do their chores. You can do this by setting a timer and seeing how quickly they can complete them. Or, you can have a reward-based system at the end of the week – the more chores they complete, the bigger the reward.
Because these children like to be physically active, give them a chore that allows them to move, like putting away dishes, vacuuming or tidying a messy room.
How to motivate serious (Type 4) children to do chores
These children tend to be their own form of authority, so if you tell them what to do, or if they feel bossed around, they will probably resist chore time. So, be savvy and incorporate them into the process.
To do this, Tuttle suggests giving your child a head’s up and also listening to their input. These kids like structure and methodology, so you can support these tendencies with chore boards, checklists and structured chore time.
For example, your child is more likely to do chores if he or she knows that every evening at 5:30, it’s time to clean up their toy area before dinner.
Another great way to motivate your serious child is to allow them to choose what chores they do. That’s because giving them a sense of authority in the matter is highly motivating to them.
And to give your child even more motivation, encourage them to create an even more efficient way to complete their work. This will instill in them a great sense of pride and accomplishment, and get your house tidier, too!
Easy tools to motivate your child to do chores
Having a visual board is a great way to motivate your children and help them keep track of their duties. So, here are some clever ways parents are getting their children to do their chores:
Chore Punch Cards: Each child gets their own “loyalty card”, and for every chore they do, they get to punch a number. Once they punch all the numbers, they get a reward of your choice. You can create these yourself or even get punch cards designed for teachers like these North Star Teacher Resource Positive Behavior Incentive Punch Cards in Amazon.
Get a Child-Chore Chart: On a board, list out all the chores in your house. Then, create magnet pieces with each child’s name on one of them. As a family, decide which child is responsible for which chore each week. Similarly to punch cards, you can get ready-made chore charts for kids.
If your child complains about their weekly chore, tell them they have to work it out with the board. This means they can communicate and negotiate with their siblings to trade chores. Plus, this leaves you out of the emotional decision and delegating process.
Task Center and “Work-for-Hire”: Set aside space in your home (in the office, or in the kitchen) and call it the “Task Center”. There you can organize the weekly chores for each child and also set up “Work-for-Hire” bonuses. These are extra tasks with a specific dollar amount assigned to them.
This helps to instill in your child a strong work ethic and a greater motivation to trade their time and skills for a little income.
As you can see, chore time doesn’t have to be a stressful and frustrating event. With the right tools, it can be an empowering opportunity for your children to grow and develop.