Tips on Getting Kids to Help Without the Grumbles

Yeah! You know what we’re talking about. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how short or easy the list of chores to be done is, your kids just won’t budge without you nagging them.

Getting kids to help around the house is one of the most common things to cause the shizzle to hit the fan at home.

Here are a few simple tips that just might make the difference:

Tip 1 – Re-train
Often the task to be done appears so simple we assume a child knows how to do it but they don’t. They may be resisting for fear of getting it wrong or not doing it to your standards. Do it together with them to re-train just to be sure.

Tip 2 Break it down
If you know they can do the task, it may be that it simply overwhelms them. It’s so big they don’t know where to begin. Can you break it down into more manageable stages?

Tip 3 – Fight the battles you have to
Not doing anything is sometimes the right thing to do. Weigh up the importance of what they’re doing – or not doing – and decide if you can turn it to your advantage. Sometimes there’ll be a great opportunity to let them experience the “natural consequences” of their inactions, i.e., dirty clothes all over the floor in the bedroom = no clean clothes to wear to school, they’ll have to wear something dirty or crumpled. They won’t die from this but their street cred just might take enough of a battering that they’ll start taking care of things.

Tip 4 – Resist “rescuing” them
If they’re old enough to do it on their own, let them. If you keep doing it for them, they’ll know that if they hold out and procrastinate for long enough, you’ll come along and do it for them.

Tip 5 – Use natural and enforced consequences
When you agree with your child what their responsibilities are, you should also ensure they agree fully with the consequences if they don’t do their bit. Use natural consequences (see tip 3 above) where possible and then pre-agree enforced consequences for other things, i.e., they don’t put their things away they have to put everybody’s things away for a specified period of time.

Tip 6 – Make your expectations clear
Your idea of a job done well done will often not coincide with your child’s idea of a job done. Be sure they know how to do it to your standards. If you’re short on ideas of how to do this, take a look at our guide “How to teach your child essential life skills”.

You have to keep on at them in a firm but calm manner with these things. But – and isn’t there always a big but? – if none of these help your “little Johnny” motivate himself to get the job done, there’ll come a point when you simply have to accept it.

Accept that your child is an individual. If they are prepared to accept the consequences rather than complete the task that is their right to choose.  If this is the case, you may then need to consider if there are other, bigger life skills and values you need to be working on like respect or developing their work ethic.

How do you help your child to motivate themselves when the chips are down? Leave a comment below or send us a CANDo email.

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