Getting Kids To Do Chores

parentinghome management

getting kids to do chores Kids and chores can be a real source of stress in the home—I don't think there is anything else that families fight about more. "It's your turn," "No, its your turn," "I did it last time," "How come I have to do that?" "That isn't fair!"  Have you noticed that your kids have an endless supply of complaints and excuses when it comes to chores?

Getting Kids To Do Chores

If you think about it, your kids are going to be doing some kind of chores every day for the rest of their lives. Part of our job as parents is to prepare our kids for their adult lives and those lives are going to include decades worth of chores.

So basically, everyone has to do some amount of chores every single day, and with a few rare exceptions, no one likes to do them. So, who is going to have the bigger advantage in life—a kid who learns how to step up and do the chores without fussing about them, or the one who doesn't?

You just need to be consistent and very matter-of-fact with kids about their chores, the same way you are about car seats, bedtimes, and good manners. It's just something that is daily, non-negotiable, and nothing to make a fuss about.

getting kids to do chores

Enforcement is your biggest job as a parent. You really have to have the discipline to keep on top of things and make sure the kids are doing their chores and doing them well. The rule in my house is that if you don't do a chore properly, the next day you will do that chore plus a penalty chore of my choosing. That way my kids know that there is no benefit to them for skipping a chore or doing it poorly. I tell them to just get them done quickly and well so they can move on to other things that are more fun!

Everyone is different in how they assign chores to their kids, but I do something even more unusual. I assign chores more or less permanently rather than the more usual chore rotation most families use. It's just simpler with those pesky daily chores like taking the trash out, feeding the pets, emptying the dishwasher. If it doesn't get done, I know exactly who to hunt down without having to worry about whose turn it is that week!

This makes it a lot simpler. Is it fair? Nope, get over it—that's what I tell my kids. Sometimes I think we worry way too much about trying to make things fair for our kids. My boss at work doesn't care about being fair when she wants me to do a task, so I'm not going to worry about that with my boys. Suck it up, this is life in the big city, fellas.

Some things are no brainers. I'm a working Mom, so my kids have always made their own beds, prepared their own lunches, cleared their own dishes, and washed their own laundry. I don't even consider those "chores", that's just life—if they want clean clothes, they'd better wash them. Then again, teenaged boys are not that concerned about clean clothes, so I do have to push a few reminders on that one! But at least I'm not the one putting them in the washer. Ever.

What kinds of things do you do to help your kids get better about their chores?


Adrian's Crazy Life is just that, bits and pieces of her crazy life—her job, her three fabulous boys, her papercrafting business, her four grandkids, the whole enchilada. She's always going 90 miles an hour with her hair on fire, but she wouldn't have it any other way. Adrian loves to give advice of all kinds, so she has lots and lots of posts on her site about decluttering, managing finances, parenting, and whatever else she feels like an expert on that day. Visit her at


Feature image by Clare Bloomfield via
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