I get asked now and again for advice.

One of the questions people hit me up for is “How do you get your kids to do chores?” The last time someone asked me this, I was caught off guard and probably half asleep and answered, “I don’t know exactly. They just do.”

My friend got a lot of mileage teasing me about my perfect well behaved little cherubs who just do their chores. Let me assure you, that is NOT the case. We have balking, stalling, uneager children who don’t want to help just like everyone else.

I thought I would share some of what we do around here.

We start early. Elivette is two and puts away the dishes from the dishwasher with whichever sibling is on task. We don’t make her do it every time, but we encourage her to do it frequently. We have moved the plates and glasses to a lower cabinet so the children can reach to put them away and get them out. When a job needs done, I generally ask the youngest child capable of doing that chore to do it. Frequently, I ask an older sister to accompany said younger to ensure the job actually gets done.

Littlest Kitchen Helper 

We have assigned tasks. We have a zone chart. The house is divided up into zones and the children keep their zones for a month. This helps me know whose job is whose because it’s not always switching. It also helps the child get good at their designated area because they have lots of chances to practice. We do get the “But it’s not my zone!” complaint when I ask a child to help in another area, but I respond with letting them know it doesn’t matter. We are a family living in community and we all help one another.

It’s expected. It’s just part of our life, our routine. We all pitch in.

We pay them. We opted to pay our kids five dollars a week for doing their jobs. The caveat is if I get annoyed by having to ask them too many times or because they have been consistently doing a poor job, their pay is reduced by a random amount. Never once has a child argued with me about this, because they know if they’ve been shirking. Sometimes I’ll even ask them, “If you were me, how much would you take off your pay this week?”

We do it together. I work with a younger child, helping them become successful at the task at hand until they are capable of doing it themselves. We sometimes all swarm on a certain zone and get it perfect. It’s amazing how fast they’ll pick up when they can watch a show when they are done :). Sometimes we set a timer and holler “10 minute tidy!” and we turn on some music and all work on our individual zones until the timer goes off.

I don’t know exactly how I “get them to do chores”, but with consistent chore doing, we manage to do them.

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