Culture & Lifestyle / Have Your Kids Help Out This Year

Have Your Kids Help Out This Year

Culture & Lifestyle Dec 18, 2014

Getting The Kids To Do More Chores Is A New Year’s Resolution Worth Keeping

When the choice is between constantly reminding, yelling at and nagging children about doing their part around the house or simply doing everything yourself, you often pick the latter. But this year can be different. Instead of yelling, you’ll have less to worry about, and instead of the "kidlets" fighting, they will feel more empowered. This is, however, going to take some work. Kids are living in a world full of instant gratification, and housework doesn’t satisfy their wonder. Many adults can’t even stand getting chores done. But when the whole family is helping out, we can all get back to doing the things we really love.
“We are not built for discipline,” writes Atul Gawande in his book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. “We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at.” Make a family chore chart and some stickers to use as rewards and to mark progress. “Good checklists … are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations,” writes Gawande.
Another important concern is recognizing what chores are age-appropriate for the child. You need to try not to give up on the child or do the chore yourself; the child may get the job done and make a mess of it, but this is a learning process and things will get better. A two-year-old can’t exactly set the table, but they can watch and help you make the bed. But a 12-year-old should be making their own bed and be accountable for other things, like personal hygiene and learning how to prepare basic meals.
You shouldn't use chores as punishment but as lessons in life skills like accountability and handling responsibility. These basic life skills are taught through tasks like doing the laundry or mowing the lawn, "[This is how] kids learn how the world works," Dr. James Sears tells WebMD.
Yes, sometimes it may seem easier to take on all the responsibility, or maybe you’re just used to that approach. Yet age-appropriate chores for your kids will not only let you capture some peace of mind but also teach them responsibility. When things become really refined structurally, you’ll even find that your kids are as proud of themselves as you are.
Have any tips on how to get the kiddos to do their part? Leave a comment below!
Feature image courtesy of My Autistic Muslim Child

Hillary Di Menna

Hillary Di Menna


Hillary Di Menna is a freelance journalist who manages to publish her scribblings while raising a six-year-old skateboarding ballerina and sharing her home with two snuggly black cats. Her parenting blog, Misfit Matriarch, follow her adventures in parenting. You can find all her work at