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HOW DO YOU GET KIDS TO HELP AROUND THE HOUSE???????

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm at the end of my rope. 8 yo dd has gotten reasonably good about doing chores maybe 2/3 of the time. Other times she just doesn't, no matter what I do. She is totally honest about having no intention whatsoever of doing what I"m asking.

 

6 yo it's hard to tell if she's even trying. She seems to have a lot of trouble with getting distracted by all the junk lying around (which is what I want to get picked up). I'd be seriously concerned if she weren't doing so well in school. The teachers never think she has the slightest problem with concentration or behavior. They love her. But at home, forget it. I ask sweetly, I instruct, I make a chart, I gently nag, I yell, I impound things, nothing influences her behavior in the slightest way. Seems like we've pointed out millions of times the consequences: eg, you don't have any clean socks because you didn't put your dirty socks in the hamper so I didn't wash them. It makes no difference.

 

Sometimes she might do a little bit if I'm doing it with her, but honestly I am overcommited (who isn't?) and I do not have the time to make every minute of housework a family moment. Am I expecting too much? Should a 6 yo be able to put away toys, sort dirty/clean clothes, put them where they belong, without supervision?

post #2 of 11
What is the consequence when the 8-year-old refuses to do her chores? I know some don't do consequences necessarily, but this sounds like a perfect one for a logical consequence (ie not helping out with not-so-fun family stuff means you don't get to do the fun family stuff either). Also, I would stop asking for her to do chores, at most I would give her options like, "The dishes need done and the living room needs picked up, which would you rather do?" In a calm moment, I would ask her what might motivate her to do chores, talk about everyone in the family needs to pitch in, etc.

As far as the 6-year-old, that doesn't sound like too much to ask, I wouldn't expect it to all be perfect, but that all seems like things she could do reasonably well. I could see needing reminders and/or a chart, but as long as toys have a place to go, her clothes in the drawers are organized, etc. Honestly, my almost 4-year-old can do most of that already with just a little help/reminding (putting away clean clothes neatly is beyond her right now, but the rest, not too hard). Does a quick "Before you do X (where X = fun thing she likes to do), pick up all the toys in your room." work? This helps my DD out a lot. Again, I would talk to her in a calm moment and see what the deal is. Does she honestly not know where to put toys/clothes away? Maybe pictures or something on her toy shelves/bins/etc. would help and just a quick walkthrough of her drawers/closet? Maybe explain you are going to teach her how to clean her room and eventually she'll be able to do it all by herself then invest some time into doing that and then step back slowly until she is?

Do you have a partner/DH? Can they help with some of this teaching and checking if chores are done too?
post #3 of 11

I have a 6yo and 8yo. Concrete tasks get done either without asking or with one asking. If it isn't done, then they can't do what they want until it is. For example cleaning their lunch box. That gets done when they get home. There is no computer time, nor snack, until it is done, so it has just become an obvious habit for them.

 

However, large tasks I hear more complaints about. They feel overwhelmed. For example cleaning up in the play room. There is lego everywhere, dolls, castles, trains, balls... They sometimes don't know where to start, or how, and once they get started they quickly get distracted by that very interesting puzzle lying on the floor. So I have to direct the clean up, or help them, or remind them to get back on track. 

post #4 of 11

To answer the original question, no clue! I'm going through similar things with my kids, too, so all I really have is commiseration. I guess my only suggestion is to have her do chores that directly affect what she finds important. Dirty socks and an unclean room don't affect her, but would wearing unclean clothes to school affect her? 

post #5 of 11

First of all I'm very careful about my own tone when I'm doing my "chores." I do not enjoy cleaning, but act as if I do, talk about how much I like having a clean house, how much I like baking and cooking, so that they hear that language. Second, we help them. Cleaning their rooms (kids are 5 & 7) can be a little overwhelming to them, so we all pitch in.

post #6 of 11

My kids are older so this may not be appropriate. The kids know my expectation of certain things, like put backpack and shoes away, dishes after a meal, and before bedtime try to pick up your stuff in the livingroom. My kids hate to be interrupted with whatever they are doing. So when I notice it I just ask them to come right now and pick it up. They will moan and groan about "but mom I'm in the middle of this" and I tell them, if they don't want me interrupting to ask them to put it away, then next time put it away before I notice and ask. It is slowly working and I see about a 50% improvement since I started this 2 weeks ago. 

 

I don't think kids will truly understand our need to have them pick up until they have their own houses with roomates/spouses/kids who are cluttering up their space that they are trying to keep clean. ;-)

post #7 of 11

one of the secrets i have discovered with my dd (she is an only) is that she HATES chores but LOVES helping around the house. So she hated cleaning up her mess at 6 but loved that sh ewas responsible for the laundry and somedays responsible for dinner. She sorted and did the laundry. I folded and she helped me put it away. She loved cooking dinner and helping with dinner.

 

Because she helped me with the housework, it didn’t frustrate me so much if she didn’t clear her room so much. In fact it reminded me how much i hated doing it myself. I never expected perfection at that age. In fact dd used to shock me she really couldn’t see the thing right by her feet. She wasn’t hamming it. She really couldn’t see it.

 

Dd got overwhelmed and distracted too. Its the same with me. I cant do quick cleaning. Little spots that need slightly more deeper cleaning distract me too. So i understand her. And i usually stood and directed if it was too messy. 

post #8 of 11

I don't know  but it has always been an expectation that she pick up her toys when done,put her dishes in the sink when finished and on cleaning day everyone pitches in to get the job done for the week so we can have fun the rest of the time..I tell her we are a family and families have to help each other..if the work doesn't get done then we don't go to the park, we don't go to the library, she doesn't  get to watch her movie time ect... Does she like to clean? Nope..I hear I am tierd, my legs hurt,my head hurts...that kind of thing....So then I say I am going to count to 3 and if I hit 3 you loose a priveledge..Being the park or whatever fun activity we have chosen to do that day..And she knows I mean it...after that she is pretty quick to comply and help...

 

 

Now with my son it was a whole different ballgame...But he was a special needs child and had no attention span and very low frustration tolerance levels..I had to break his chores up in small increments..for him  I found doing the flylady's 27 fling boogie to music was the way to go..He found it a challenge...I started the music loud and started counting...the challenge was to see how many items he could get picked up before the time was up..worked most of the time for him....

post #9 of 11

Lately, i actually paid them-3 small jobs for 25cents. Sometimes i dont pay them. I say, 'there are times you have to help because we all live here and sometimes i need you to help.'  So we do both.

 

My 5yo go so excited about saving money, he begged me for more jobs. Then he would go and spend it all. My 8 yo would save his money, and joyfully count it He has saved quite a bit so far.  

post #10 of 11

We use a website called ChoreWars, which I have set up so that the 'gold coins' they earn for each job equals minutes on the Playstation, that they can cash in on the weekends. It's entirely their choice if they want to do the work. My son takes out the garbage (10 min), sweeps the floor (15 min) and does the dishes (10 min) enough to earn himself about 1 1/2 - 2 hours each weekend. My daughter likes doing the laundry (10 min) and nothing else, andy earns herself about 20  minutes per week. I still have to do all of those things each week, but it's my job less often. Right now both of their rooms are disasters so I have a big reward set up that they can earn an hour by doing an overhaul. Once their rooms are tidy, my son usually maintains it for a few weeks by earning 10 minutes a day for a room-tidy. They aren't allowed to claim a room-tidy right now because they could put 10 minutes in daily and not make any headway. My kids are 11 and 9 so they both understand the system, it might be a little too involved for younger kids.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments. I think what I am hearing is that the room cleaning is too big, it's overwhelming. Which, honestly, I probably knew already. It's nice to hear how different families do things.

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