9 Tips to End Chore Wars

Research suggests one of the best predictors of success in the mid-twenties is participating in household tasks at 3-4 years old (Dear Children, The Real Reason I Make You Do ChoresMother And Son Doing Laundry). So, if you want your children to grow into successful “twenty-somethings,” let them do chores. Of course, that is easier said than done. The real question becomes “how do we get our kids to participate in household chores?” Let me offer nine suggestions that might help.

  • Let your children see you work around the house. Let them see you cleaning, washing, and fixing rather than “vegging out” in front of the TV or computer.
  • Include your children in your household routine. Start when your children are young by asking them to clear the table, make the bed, or pick up clothes. It may take you a little longer to finish the task, but your children will learn how to help and grow accustomed to participating in household tasks.
  • Make it about more than just doing work. Interact with them during the task by asking about their life, talking about a mutual activity, or discussing some fun plans-in-the-making. Make it about more than work. Make it about time spent together.
  • Be observant of your children. Notice what chores and tasks your children do without being asked. Support those choices. Acknowledge their contribution. Thank them for their unsolicited help.
  • Make the chores age appropriate AND meaningful. Don’t give your children menial tasks with no purpose. Give them chores that serve a function in the home. Let them know the task they perform is essential to a smooth running household.
  • Supervise, but allow your children creativity. Your children may not complete the chore the same way you would. Allow them creative variation as long as they meet a basic standard of competence. Let them do it “their way” whenever possible.
  • Don’t expect your children to complete a new task perfectly the first time. Allow them time to learn. In fact, do it with them the first few times. Then slowly allow them more and more independence until they complete the task on their own.
  • When your children encounter a snag while doing a chore, do not jump in and take over. Let them struggle to solve the problem. You might work with them to find a solution, but do not jump in and take over. You will be pleasantly surprised at their ingenuity.
  • Acknowledge the work your children do. You don’t need to flood praise on them for completing some task to acknowledge their work. Simply thank them for participating in the task of keeping a home. Let them know their participation allows the home to run more smoothly. The whole family benefits. Show your appreciation.


Of course you may still run in to some difficulties around chores. However, implementing these nine ideas will create a home in which every member of the family participates in the household tasks.

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