Community Psychiatric Centers
Monroeville, Greensburg, Monessen, and Wilkinsburg Pittsburgh

September 9, 2016

How To Get Your Kids To Do Their Chores

Written by Dr. John Carosso

Are you feeling like the unpaid help?

Do you find yourself relentlessly cleaning-up, picking-up, putting-away, cooking, transporting, washing, re-washing, doting and doing just about everything else while your kids seemingly are on vacation, watching TV, playing video games, playing with their friends, and not even remotely lifting a hand to help you as they watch you work to the bone? To make matters worse, you never get a thank-you, and perceive that your kids feel entitled that this is the way it should be, with no guilt or remorse. If so, well, if it’s any consolation, you’re not alone.

You know it needs to change…

Okay, you know that this scenario is frustrating for you, makes you feel unappreciated, and it’s not healthy for your kids. You know that, at some point, it needs to somehow be communicated that ‘we’re all in this together’, that everyone needs to ‘pitch-in’, and they need to learn how to care for themselves.

What’s it take to change?

Take heart that this situation is not necessarily difficult to change. You’ll need to be diligent, firm, and consistent. Well, okay, maybe this will be kinda difficult. No matter, have faith in yourself to rise to the occasion.

One step at a time

The first step is to communicate what is expected in a clear, concise manner. Put it in writing for each child and a time when the chore needs to be completed each day.

A few options

If you decide to use a chore chart, then you may want to write down the specific chores, what each chore entails, and the time of day by which the chore needs to be completed. You’ll convey that the chore’s completion will be monitored by you and a sticker, star, or point or whatever will be allocated on the chart accordingly. You will not discuss the matter; either the chore is done, or it’s not. The number of stickers, stars, or points earned each day will determine privilege level the following day; this way, each day starts anew.

Another way

If the aforementioned sounds too ambitious, then there is a simpler method. Lay-out the chores as described above, but use the ‘when/then’ prompt…. “when the chore is done, then you can do….” This way, unfavored comes before favored activities. The same can be said anytime your child asks you for something (a thousand times per day); you’ll honor the request after the chore is done.

Stick to it

The biggest problem is that parents find it’s easier just to do it themselves than fuss about the chores. I can sympathize with that sentiment, but it’s just causing more frustration and angst, and putting-off the inevitable. So, you might as well just stay firm and get it over with. Once your kids know you’re serious, and get into a routine, it will become much easier and you’ll feel more supported, more loved, and the entire household will be more harmonious. Sound good?

Next time

In my next post, I’ll be focusing on what types of chores are most appropriate, at what ages, and whether to pay for chore completion.

Please email your feedback

Let me know what you think about this plan, what you’ve tried, what works for you, and if you try this plan, how it works for you. Your feedback is super helpful at Thanks again, and God bless.

Dr. C's Morning Minute

View Dr. C's Morning Minute Video Getting Your Kids To Do Their Chores Part 1 for more information about this topic by clicking here.

See more of Dr. C's Morning Minute on our Video Blog Page

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