What Does Your Child Do To Contribute Around the House?
There's research -- out of Harvard, no less! -- that shows that having kids do chores leads to long-term success.
Side note: Here's an article that puts a "real" spin on this research that I appreciate: https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/kids-who-do-chores-are-more-successful-adults-according-to-science.html)
With that in mind, please share what your children are doing to contribute around the house.
(Don't worry if trying to get them to do chores is like pulling teeth right now. Next month I'll be giving tips for how to get kids to do more by giving them tools.)
I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t have a really consistent chore schedule for her yet. In different seasons of our lives, I’ve been better or worse at this. Usually when I am extremely busy I just take care of things myself because I can get it done faster. I have had better luck enforcing chores in the summertime when our schedules not so tight. But I know I need to enforce this, and I have heard about the science behind it before. So the types of things she has done are: bring her laundry to the laundry room, make her bed, put dishes in the dishwasher, feed the dog, let the dog outside or help with walks, pick up her room, help fold clothes. I haven’t had her do things that require actual cleaning yet.
@jenwhitt I guarantee you're not the only one in this boat!
Consistency is key when it comes to chores... What about starting with ONE thing? And perhaps it's something you can do together so you can make a deposit at the same time?
@jenwhitt That's a good idea. And then worry about the rest later.
Think of the impact on your life when she's doing it... 😀
We have talked to the kids about setting and doing their chores with built-in rewards program. The kids are 7 and 10 and made their own list of chores for the weekend, wrote them up and also designed their own rewards program. They asked how many chores, and what kind of rewards. I gave them several chores that were age-appropriate and things they could do every weekend without them having to take too long. I also allowed them to come up with their own rewards --i.e. out to dinner, choose what to eat for dinner, a toy, etc. I had them do a small reward for milestones and larger reward for longer milestones. So far, we've had the chore list for a couple months. They've done OKAY... I do have to motivate them to do it. My 10-yr old does it but SPEEEEEEEDS through it at lightning speed. My 7-yr old, much different approach wines and moans and cries and wants me to do it with him. I've done it with him several times now, so I'm trying to see if I can get him to do it himself. He is still crying about it.
@weissh I think you described how it commonly goes with most kids! They do it, but there's lots of resistance. (And many of us get tired of handling that resistance so we give up... and that lack of consistency leads to kids not being so motivated. So GOOD FOR YOU for not giving up yet.)
One of the reasons kids struggle to get through chores is that the part of their brains that "push through" boring tasks isn't developed yet. (We adults do much better at that because our brains ARE fully developed.) That's NOT an excuse, but it is a reason. One tool you can teach them is how to make the tasks that they have to do engaging. Check out the "Making Tasks Engaging" document for ideas on how to do this.
I'll also be talking a lot more about this topic next month (April 2019) as we focus on teaching kids the tools they need to be more responsible and resilient.
Here are some other responses from the Facebook group:
*Daily: My son makes his bed, put his dirty clothes in the hamper, brings his empty dishes to the sink and pack his own snack. He also washes the dishes once a week.
*Makes his bed, takes out trash, clothes in hamper, vacuums his floor, on occasion dusts his room, puts books back into bookshelf and cleans base boards
*I have a hard time getting my 13 yo and 9 yo just to pick up their dirty clothes!
*Our 7 year old daughter puts away the silverware from the dishwasher, pulls in the garbage/recycle bins after pick up, gets the mail, puts her dirty clothes in hamper, cleans/vacuums her room, and picks up and vacuums the playroom.
*My boys have to clean up toys in toy room and basement daily. Each week they deliver their dirty clothes baskets to the laundry (clothes turned right side out) as well as get mail, help with dusting, vacuuming, caring for the dog, etc. Most of their motivation is that their one hour of video game time is tied to earning that privilege.
*My 10 year old helps with vacuuming, puts his clothes in the hamper and straightens up his room. He also has to clear his dishes from the table after he eats and sometimes helps Dad with the trash/recycle. He is very interested in cooking so we just started having him plan dinner one night a week— which entails making a grocery list and cooking the food with my help! We need to be more consistent with monitoring whether he does these things though because they can sometimes slide with the busyness of the week!
*We do a “chore draft” monthly where they then choose 2 jobs plus their room that they do every weekend. We wrote down all the chores that need to be done weekly and then the whole family does them at the same time-plus this way it rotates so they both know how to do all the jobs and don’t always get to do the easy ones. They aren’t always motivated...so that can be a struggle.
My two cents:
When I asked those who posted what contributed to kids' contributions, often it was either a.) they needed to do chores in order to earn privileges, or b.) parents were consistent in requiring that chores get done. (One parent even said she built it into morning and evening routines; I've done the same with my family.)
Consistency really is key when it comes to motivating kids to do what they don't want to do. If they know there's a loophole, they'll spend more time trying to find the loophole than doing the thing they don't want to do!
I find that it's our busyness that prevents us from being consistent... If you need tips for handling that, reach out and let me know!
We have an assortment of chores that were tied to allowance (kids were docked $ for not doing chores). However, that requires parents to document when chores aren’t done, and kids have lost motivation over time & parents not consistently tracking chore completion in the busyness of life. So we are looking at establishing a new system. But what should it look like??
I don’t like giving allowance just for existing. I like the “chore draft” mentioned above so we keep it focused on just a couple of things, and will look into the document on Making Tasks more Engaging, to see what we can glean from it to make the process work better going forward.
where is the “easy” button?
@skolr4 Just a thought: Perhaps part of kids doing their chores is keeping track of their chores by checking them off of a checklist (which you only have to make one time).
You can check in once a week to make sure the chores were done and tracked.
Also, another perspective: Some parents (myself included) use allowance as a way of teaching children money management rather than a reward for chores.