How to Motivate Children to Help with Basic Household Tasks?

amazingmouse

Account Closed
So, I am looking for ways to create certain habits in my children, such as. making their beds every day, not throwing clothes under the beds, sorting their laundry and so on. They are pre-teens, almost teens, so I feel they are leaving behind on these tasks.
Obviously, they don't like to help around the house, and many children don't, but I am trying to make it more manageable for myself and to teach them to do their share.
I have thought of implementing a token economy, where they get a certain amount of money for each chore, and a reward if it was performed consistently during the week.
I don't know how effective this will be though given that they don't lack anything and know that their needs will be met regardless. It is not like they will not get pizza or shoes if not helping.
What strategies did other parents use? What did you find helpful?
 

making_art

Member
I have a son who had special needs as a child that severely affected his impulse control and attention to task and a token economy system was very effective...it was also effective for my daughter who does not have special needs. It really made the doing of chores a fun and rewarding task....our toilet was especially well cleaned because it paid the highest wage :2thumbs:

We were poor as church mice but I don't think this had much of a bearing on it.

Here is an article that may be helpful.
How Making Kids Do Chores Makes Them Rich, Possibly

And this article about chores and children:
The Benefits of ChoresThe Center for Parenting Education
 
On the opposite side of the fence, one thing that I think is important when trying to implement a new method is consistency and actually sticking to it for long enough to give it a chance to work.

As kids/teenagers, my brother and I hardly did any chores and I think a large part of that was because my family defaulted to "ask, nag, punish" - a system that just made everyone frustrated and angry. I at least once I tried to suggest a different method (i.e. roster, so that we'd know in advance what was expected and wouldn't be interrupted to do it RIGHT NOW in the middle of a battle with King Bob-Omb or on the last lap of the 2nd last race while placing 3rd but had just collected a star so maybe we could catch up to Luigi who was inexplicably winning), but no one put in the effort and there was no incentive to stick to it and it was back to ground zero within a week.
 

amazingmouse

Account Closed
Thank you for the replies. I also found that giving the kids an incentive to achieve something that makes them proud works. I asked my gifted daughter to figure out how to run the dishwasher without reading the manual, she had not done it before, and before I knew it, the dishwasher was loaded and running. I have also asked both of them for input in developing the token system, and they now accept it as a rewarding system, I hope it keeps working. Yesterday was a very encouraging day!
 

MHealthJo

MVP, Forum Supporter
MVP
Yes amazingmouse - you will want to make sure that there are certain rewards or privileges that they do NOT receive if the required chores are NOT done.

Make sure that you are absolutely consistent and firm on that - no giving in or letting them cajole you to still get that particular reward if for any reason the task did not get done. You want to make that particular reward 100% dependent on the tasks being done - no ifs, ands, or buts. If the tasks are not done, then no feeling sorry for them or feeling guilty or feeling squeezed, whatever they try. Be firm and they'll soon know that the true and good way to get ahead, is to work and do what's required. And that's a good lesson for school, life, the future, you name it! It builds genuine, resilient, healthy self-esteem too.

Also, genuine loving praise and pride and gratitude, perhaps including a hug and kiss - definitely at least a big smile and a happy thankyou from you - sends a wonderful message and emotional reinforcement each time they finish doing each task.

This combination if consistent is very very effective, and also extremely good for their development and your relationship with them. Have fun!! :)
 

Marrym

Member
Housework is an excellent way to help your children develop a sense of responsibility and self-esteem.
As parents, you should set an example for your children by doing your homework every day and getting things done. Do all the things you require your children to do. That way, your children will look up to you and learn from you. I had toxemia during pregnancy. by the way, do you know about the ways in which toxemia can be treated? it became difficult for me to do all the chores around the house, then I had a big help from my older child.
 
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