3 Tips How to Get Your Kids Help With Chores

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

1. Language Says it All

How you approach your children and what you say makes the difference between cooperation and refusal. After a long day at the office and come home expecting the children to have their chores done, but you walk into the house and see them playing with their technology, you blow. I get it! You had a long day.

If you tell your children what you are expecting from them and say, “I’m expecting the dishes to be put in the dish washer by the time I get home from work.” Children hear the tone and the demanding words and shut down as if they didn’t hear you. Fact is, some children as soon as they hear, “You haven’t done your chores I asked you to do, you need to have the dishes done, or this is your mess, so you need to clean it up,” even if they respond to you, they really are not hearing you. You know the saying, “in one ear and out the other.” Children’s frontal lobe will shut down when they are being bossed or constantly nag about the chores. At this point, they are not capable to retain any information.

So if you take a different approach and empower your children to feel like they are contributing to the family instead of feeling controlled by your expectations, children are more likely to help out around the house.

Children are born for the need to be independent and if parents take away their independency, they will fight for it and rebel. If you take a different approach and change your language and tone, empower your children by asking them to contribute to the family rather than telling them to do their chores, you will see more cooperation from your child.

2. How To get Our Children to Cooperate

Sometimes things feel counterintuitive and feel as though you are losing control and giving in. When you put a lot of demands and order your children to do what you want, it is a recipe for a power struggle. Even though what you are asking for is reasonable, too much of a demand makes children feel they are being bossed around causing them to rebel. But if you rephrase your request so your children feel they have control, more than likely your child will contribute and help in a meaningful way and feel proud about it.

Try this for cooperation:

I’ve had a hard day at work today, so anything you can do to help with the clean up after dinner, would really help me.”

“I’m running behind this morning and worried we will be late, would it be possible if you help out with the lunches, I would really appreciate it.”

“We need to be out of the house in 15 minutes and I see your sister isn’t ready, do you think you could pack up her backpack for me. That would really help me out?”

Asking your child for cooperation instead of putting a demand will make your life easier. Children need to have a voice and feel they have some control in their life. This is what children need for autonomy, control and empowerment. In return, this strategy will help your children overcome the feeling of being powerless and enables them to represent their responsibilities by being apart of the decision.

3. Acknowledgement is Powerful

Why? Think about when you were acknowledged for your efforts. This is powerful for a child’s self-esteem. When you initiate cooperation and work together with children, rather than boss or nag children, you will find your child will be more cooperative, therefore, the power struggles will diminish. Over time you will notice your child wanting to help because they can see and feel the difference that gratitude makes in their well-being and in the family dynamics.

The key to this is consistency, and letting your child know the impact of their contributions to the family and what it means to YOU. No one likes to stop what they are doing to do the dishes or take the garbage out, but when your children knows that you have noticed their efforts, it makes a difference to them. Be specific when you let them know their efforts make a difference: It really helps me when you take your dirty laundry to the laundry room, I know it’s not your favorite job, but it makes huge a difference for me!” Or Hey, you really helped out the family tonight, now that we have extra time, how about we play a game.” Showing appreciation is a win-win for you and the family.


this will seem counterintuitive to what you’re use to doing, but if you put these strategies into place, you will see and feel a Mindshift take place. Making changes that are out of your norm isn’t easy and will take time, patience and consistency, but when you feel a shift, it will be rewarding to everyone. This will help set the stage for your children to grow into resilient hard-working adults.

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