How do you get your kids to do the chores you set for them?

United States
January 27, 2010 11:42am CST
We have 5 kids in our house and it is really something to try getting them to do anything. They are pretty lazy and act like everything should be handed to them. I am at my wits end because even as a stay at home mom, it is really hard to keep picked up after all of them. I believe that they should be cleaning up after themselves. After all I have the main things. Cooking, dishes, bathroom, laundry and our room. Not to mention garbage because if I don't do it, it piles up onto the floor. This is a new blended family and I feel like I can't get anyone motivated to help clean up. I think assigning each kid a room to just pick up everyday would be a big help. Setting a basket in each room for them to just toss the things they pick up into it. Then everyone will be told to go through it by weeks end or the whole basket will be emptied into the garbage. Other than that I don't know what to do. If we had the room, I would just strip their rooms bare of everything and make them earn it all back. As it is though with 7 people we barely have room for ourselves let alone storing their stuff in our bedroom.
12 responses
@p1kef1sh (45642)
27 Jan 10
"..act like everything should be handed to them" You just answered your own question. Stop handing them things and make them share the chores. Get them together. Make it clear that from now on they are going to help out. Have a family meeting to discuss what needs to be done. Get one of them to make up a rota - if you do it they'll just ignore you. Getting them to fill a basket is good, then have one of them carry it to the washing machine etc. If someone doesn't pull their weight then they don't get to share in the stuff that everyone else does. It won't take long before they decide to help out rather than never having clean clothes etc. Good luck.
• United States
27 Jan 10
Oh no. This is not my doing. lol. These kids are for the most part potential stepkids. My two do what they are told because they know better. And they are 2 and 6. His are 8,9 and 10. Plenty old enough to do something. The problem is that they have been through so much at their mother's hands that he feels he can't be a tough parent or they will take it wrong and report him to the child services. And yes, they are that vindictive. I have watched them get rid of their uncle because they didn't like that he was hard on them. And they did it by reporting that he was beating them to their school. And he wasn't. But because they say so, the poor guy isn't even allowed to visit. I hate the eggshells and one day they may do the same thing to me, but until that day, there has to be a way to reach them. To get them to see that they need to learn this stuff for life. That living in filth isn't healthy and that they need to work in life to get what they want. I think we will also implement a new do some work get the reward system. They want new shoes, they need to earn it. But first is getting dad on board... That is the main problem...
• United States
27 Jan 10
My two cents? You two as parents need to be on the same page regarding the kids and the stepkids. Perhaps the two of you can institute a reward system for chores, but it also sounds like you have some serious work to do around blending to do.
@jands1 (835)
• United States
30 Jan 10
Wow. You are really backed into a corner. Yikes! In my blended family, this was a sticky situation. At first we did a "Family Chores" calendar dealie. Failed. Then we tried bribery. Failed. Here is what worked for us. We quit demanding or obligating. Simple enough. But now for the other part. We turned Saturday nights into "Family Night". At dinner on Saturdays we all vote on the activity we will do. Hokey-yes. Effective-VERY. The choices range from board games to movies. We vote on all the issues. Majority rules. If there is some sort of split, the "losers" activity will be the next Saturday. During the week is Homework Time in which I help each child and give one on one attention. I talk to them all as if they are reasonable adults who have intellect. This works for them. They crave it now. Not seeing where chores kick in? Between that and the constant promotion of unity of family, something that was lacking before I arrived into their lives, everyone was helter-skelter. After about six weeks of this learning process for everyone, reinforcement if you will, I simply say, "OK, uhm...let me see...who's turn is it to...(insert here chore)?" Usually one of the kids is quick to offer the name of someone that has not done anything that day to help out with the home even if it is their own. Then, in my best "Mamma" tone (no-nonsense but gentle still) I say, "Thank you! OK so (kid's name) go ahead and (chore) now." Then...here is an important part...I walk away. This leaves no room for discussion. It has been said, it shall be done. Say said child simply decides to not do said chore. Easy. Now it is psychological warfare! Well, not exactly. But as a firm believer in no physical punishments despite what THEIR parents think, I use good old fashioned, since the dawn of time...Guilt. Yep. Guilt. Mixed with peer pressure. Let me give you a recent example. Desiree decided to not do the dishes even though it was her turn. She is stubborn and aware there are not physical consequences to her actions or inactions. Silly girl...obstenance is for grown people. Summoning will-power I thought no one possessed, I ignored the pile of dirty dishes. Nearly tying down my hands to prevent them from cleaning this mess from six people. The next morning my ears are greeted to complaining and whining on the lack of breakfast dishes & silverware to use. Careful to not let the kids see my wicked smile I let grace my face for one brief moment, I composed myself and said in my sweetest, tinged with sorrow voice, "Well, there are ramifications to all actions or inactions. Unfortunately when someone decides to not be a member of a family and take pride in their home, stuff like this happens." I put an artful shrug here amazed at my own acting skills. "You guys need to sort this out with Desiree as it was her turn to do dishes. It was her turn to show she is part of the family." Then...ah the magical move...I shook my head regretfully and, yes, once again, walked away. In the other room I heard the kids turn on her like a pack of rabid dogs. I let this go on for about one minute. Not wanting Desiree to be eaten alive, I went back in. "Hey hey hey! You guys! Come on. I thought we were working on coming up with positive ways to deal with the world. Anyone? A positive way to deal with this situation?" Her older sister had an immediate solution that she directed to Desire, "Do the dishes idiot!" I saw reluctance on Desiree's face. My turn. "Hey Desiree, what do you say? Do the dishes or deal with your sisters and brother?" Stomping up with a "Fine!" off she went to do dishes. Their reward, positive food reinforcement. Yep. I made them a bang-up breakfast. Now, this method may not work for everyone. It has ethical implications. But honestly, with vindictive, wily kids that are spoilt and bratty...use your brain and play the game Mothers have for centuries.
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
30 Jan 10
My kids just know that they have to do it. It is not up for discussion. My kids are 3 and 10. They know if it gets left laying around at bedtime then they will not have it to play with the next day. I don't throw it out, but I keep it from then till they keep their other things picked up.
• Philippines
28 Jan 10
i think your children needs a parent attention you should teach them how to dicipline their selves while they are a children . try to read books for them a teach it in a proper way of how they to the things like that so they are not become lazy at all time.
• United States
28 Jan 10
We don't do allowance for one. I too have a blended family even though you would never even know from the looks of it. We have 4 kids together and one on the way. So I understand your frustration. Like I said we don't do allowance. Even my husband knows he has to help clean. There is no well I am the man or you are the women role. It is because we believe the men are the head of the house but that is it. Our pastor even preaches on how the men should help keep the house tidy and clean as well. He talks about how women are not maids or servants by marriage they do it by choice. Which really makes sense. We do a treasure box. Every day when they do their chores they get an extra hour outside to play or we go to the park. An extra hour on the Wii. I don't believe you should have to give kids money to clean their own house. It's not like that when they move out unless they become a maid or work for a cleaning service. We have coloring books, movies, Wii Games stuff like that. We also have science expierments and crafts. We give them extra time on stuff they like to do. So if they do their chores and there is a coupon to Redbox in there we will go to Walmart get the Redbox of their choice go home and watch it. It is a really nice incentive and you aren't paying them for their work. My rule is we don't eat dinner or anything until the house is cleaned. It has worked great in our house. Now as far as teaching them money management we do once or twice a month will give them 50 dollars and tell them what they need and they get a choice to buy one or two of those items until next time we do it again.
@jewels49 (1783)
• United States
28 Jan 10
We blended a family too..the kids would draw for chores out of a jar when they were younger and were free to negotiate with each other to trade chores..Getting them to do them was never really an issue because the rule was chores before going out on the weekends, or anything else they wanted to plan. TV time, video games, none of that was available until chores were completed, they could negotiate with each other, but not me, I didn't nag or fight I just never gave in and they knew I wouldn't, it was easier for them to just do what they had to do.
• Canada
28 Jan 10
One thing i found out that helped was if one of you kids has like a gaming toy or something he/she enjoys alot, take that toy or whatever it is away until they've completed the task you want them to do such as cleaning up their room. Now they will have no choice but to listen considering they want that toy back and theres no possible way for them to get it back till cleaning their room. It helps trust me!
• Philippines
28 Jan 10
Kids, we always love, that's why we do things for them, when they were very young. When they become kids, they thought that its our responsibility to do things for them. I have only one kid, and just like you, it gets to my nerve to let her do some tasks. I keep on telling her that if she does any assigned tasks, she will fulfilled that she has accomplished something. Maybe, that sinks into her mind, cause last weekend, she helped a lot in cleaning the aquarium, which is quite big, helped in cooking, and in the evening helped me arrange the laundered clothes. She said she felt happy even if tired. You know, we keep telling our kids, even if they don't do the tasks, the reminders will sink into their minds and sooner or later, they will do their chores. Just be patient. Repeat again and remind them that work is part of life.
@lingli_78 (12846)
• Australia
27 Jan 10
i don't have kids yet at the moment... but i work with children a lot and i love children... what i usually do to motivate them to do the chores is to give them rewards... i usually praise them or give them stickers and ice-cream vouchers as i work in a child-minding place... and 99% of the time it works and the children listen to me... my parents also did the same thing to me when i was young to make me do the chores that they wanted me to do... hope this helps and good luck... take care and have a nice day...
• United States
27 Jan 10
By letting them know you are the person of authority. You have to make rules for them to go by and "stick to them". You have to "stick to them". Whatever it is that they enjoy doing, they can't do unles they've done their chores. If you don't stick with the rules, you won't be able to get them to do what you want.
@ravinskye (8242)
• United States
27 Jan 10
What about an allowance? We are having the same problem with our kids. Luckily we only have 3 lol. But still even with 3 it is hard because my husband is like a 4th kid lol. I've been trying to think how to get them to help out more. I'm going to make up a chore chart with a money value for each thing they do. Then for each job the complete they will get paid at the end of the week. I'm hoping it will work.
@lelin1123 (15645)
• Puerto Rico
27 Jan 10
I like that one with the basket filled and if its not emptied by end of week it all goes into the garbage. You don't give the age range of the kids but how about adding that if you don't do your assigned chores then there is no video games, no TV, outdoor activities, no going to a friends house till all the chores are done. That was how I was brought up. On Saturdays we each had chores and they would change every week. We had to share bedrooms but we had to make sure our rooms were clean. Then someone would have to wash the dishes, another the bathroom, someone would have to dusk and vacuum, an someone else had to take care of the Hall foyer with making sure the stair were clean that means sweeping and mopping. My brothers would be also in charge of the garbage. We also had to do our own laundry when we started high school if not before that. There were five of us so my mom was able to spread the work out evenly among us. When you have so many people living under one roof there has to be some type of routine where everyone pitches in to help or else the house will fall apart.