Making chores fun

Juggling day to day chores with children is not an easy job. As a parent, you might sometimes feel like all your free time is being sacrificed to do domestic tasks like shopping, laundry, and finally getting around to making those flat-pack shelves that have been lying around forever.

Finding a way to manage chores and children without having to give up all your ‘me’ time, could stave off the exhaustion and frustration you’ve come to expect. Fortunately, there is an answer: get the children involved, and do the chores together. Getting the children involved with every day chores will save you time and can help build their skills in team work, cooperation, responsibility and self-discipline. 

When assigning chores to your children it is important to remember their age and development levels. Giving your child a chore that is too easy for them can result in them becoming frustrated and getting bored too quickly. Similarly, giving children chores that are too challenging for them will have the same effect, which can be demotivating for both of you

Should you pay your child to do chores?

You might be thinking to yourself, “Why should I pay my child to do chores, when I have to do them regardless?” This is a fair question, but it’s worth remembering that if you give your child an incentive to help you out, they may be more willing to see the job through, easing some of the pressure off you. Plus, if your child needs extra money, getting them to do chores in exchange is a great way to teach them the value of working for money.

Get together and agree a list of what chores you will pay them for and the standard of work you expect. This can help prevent arguments and disputes later down the line. If your budget doesn’t stretch to rewarding your child financially for completing chores, you might instead choose to come up with another incentive, such as a games night or a movie night where they can choose a fun activity for the family. These events can also bring the family together for a bit of quality time.


Top tips for motivating children under the age of 8:

  • Simpler chores for younger children can include helping water the plants, dusting or taking off sheets.
  • Invent a game for picking chores – cut up some strips of paper and colour in one end, with different colours representing particular chores. When your child picks a strip they are then in charge of completing that chore. As an extra incentive to take part, you could even leave one strip blank as a ‘no chore’ option!
  • Keep track of progress. A simple chart following your child’s progress with their chores can build self-esteem, boost motivation and help maintain a sense of direction. Get creative with your chart - use gold stars, or build a garden by getting your children to stick on a flower each time they’ve completed a chore.

Top tips for motivating children aged 8 and above:

  • Give children sole responsibility for their chores so that they have a sense of ownership and build up their confidence. Realising that they ‘must’ complete their own chores will also help their self-discipline.
  • When your child finishes a chore well, offer a little reward as a thank you.. It doesn’t have to be a bribe, but it is good to appreciate the hard work they have done and it will also help boost their self-esteem.
  • Make sure you set an example for your child by completing your own chores on time. Your child will look to you as a role model, and if you don’t moan about your chores, they won’t either.

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How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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