motivating kids

The Ultimate Guide to Motivating Kids To Do Chores

Motivating kids to do their chores can be challenging for many parents. However, teaching kids to contribute to household tasks is an integral part of their development and helps them develop a sense of responsibility and accountability.

Picture this: a list of chores that don’t give you that classic eye roll from the kiddos. Yep, it’s not just a dream. Welcome to the real world of managing household tasks with your little and not-so-little family members. This is about keeping a tidy home and instilling essential things like a good work ethic and valuable life skills.

Related article: Morning Cleaning Routine

Understanding the Psychological Drift

Have you ever questioned the grand mystery of children prefer fighting imaginary aliens overdoing their daily chores? Newsflash: It’s all in their head. Kids are hardwired to like the thrill of exploration over more complex tasks like household chores.

It’s normal for kids to resist doing chores. After all, most of us don’t enjoy doing housework! Motivating kids comes down to addressing their concerns. Some common reasons kids might resist doing chores include feeling like they’re being forced to do something they don’t want to do, feeling like they’re not being appreciated, or simply not understanding the importance of chores.

It is important to address concerns regarding chores as much as it is to make them enjoyable and meaningful for your child.

  • Try involving your kid in decision-making to address the feeling of being forced to do chores. Ask them which chores they’d be willing to do, and offer them choices about when and how to do them.
  • Give your child specific and sincere praise for their efforts to address the feeling of not being appreciated. Avoid vague statements like “good job” and instead focus on what they did well, such as “You did a great job folding the towels – they look so neat and tidy!”
  • Explain to your kid why it’s essential for everyone in the family to pitch in and help with household tasks to address the issue of not understanding the importance of chores. Emphasize the benefits of doing chores, such as developing a sense of responsibility, independence, and self-confidence. You could make a game out of it by challenging your kid to determine why chores are important!

Motivating Kids

Motivating kids by making chores more enjoyable for your child includes choosing age-appropriate chores that are challenging but not overwhelming, turning chores into games or challenges, or offering rewards.

Starting Early: The Toddler Phase

Teaching kids how to do age-appropriate chores is essential. For little ones or younger children, you can start with simple tasks like cleaning up toys or feeding a pet. You could even make some fun chore cards to help them out. It’s a great idea to start teaching them responsibility while they’re still toddlers. The trick is to make it fun, so they enjoy doing it.

Elementary Wisdom: Paving the Way

Ready for some elementary wisdom? The child’s age should match the chore list. As they grow, the list of chores should grow too. We’re talking about graduating from stacking blocks to maybe sorting dirty clothes. When your children start elementary school, they should get better at doing chores. Use chore charts to give them a clear idea of what must be done. These charts can help them feel accomplished when they reach their goals.  Ooh, and let’s jazz it up with a reward system. Give those stars and stickers, Mama!  

Harnessing the Preteen Independence

This is where daily responsibilities meet preteen angst. How do we find the balance? Allow them to choose some of their chores. Do they want to do their laundry instead of sweeping? Sure thing! Reward good work with more complex tasks and maybe some allowance.  Should you incentivize with money? Money can be a good motivator, but it could also make it seem like household chores are another job that must be paid for.

The Teenage Frontier: A Delicate Terrain

Ah, the tumultuous teenage years—a precarious balance of burgeoning independence and hormonal fluctuations. The teen years are a delicate terrain, full of complex emotions and, let’s face it, complicated messes. Here, the objective is cultivating a spirit of family contribution rather than obligatory task completion.  A clean room in these years is not just a parental win; it’s a sign of responsible adolescence. Again, balance is key. Teens have other important things like school and social lives. So maybe assign them more manageable tasks on hectic days and save the hard work for the weekends.   And remember, academic pressures are skyrocketing during these years. Strive for chore balance for your teenager to do better.

Creating a Chore Schedule: The Logistics

By now, you’ve got great ideas for what needs doing on a daily basis and what falls under weekly chores to motivating kids. You could use free printable chore charts or even design a simple chore chart that breaks it down.  Consistency is key for a successful chore system. Stick to a daily or weekly schedule accommodating extracurricular activities and school commitments.

The Ultimate Guide to Motivating Kids To Do Chores

Model Good Behavior and Provide Support

Kids learn by example, so parents need to model good behavior when doing chores. Make sure you’re doing your chores and completing them promptly and efficiently. This will help your kid understand that everyone in the family has responsibilities and needs to contribute.

  • Provide support and guidance as needed. If your kid struggles with a particular chore, offer to help them or provide additional instruction. Be patient and encouraging, and avoid criticizing or belittling their efforts.
  • It’s also important to be flexible and willing to adjust as needed. If your kid feels overwhelmed or stressed, they may need extra support or help. Be ready to listen to their concerns and adjust the chore chart or list as needed.
  • Finally, be willing to make chores a positive experience. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of chores (such as the fact that they can be boring or unpleasant), focus on the positive benefits (such as the sense of accomplishment and pride in completing a task). Encourage your kid to take pride in their work and celebrate their successes.
motivating kids

Digital Aids in Modern Parenting

Free printable chore lists might be a thing of the past. Nowadays, tech-savvy kids prefer using chore apps, which offer real-time updates and gamification elements to make completing tasks more exciting. With various chores management applications available, parental controls can be set to monitor usage, while gamified elements make completing tasks more enjoyable. Thanks to the digital age, parenting just got a little bit easier!

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for motivating kids to do their chores. This means rewarding your kid for completing their chores or for exhibiting positive behaviors related to chores.

  • Rewards can take many forms, such as praise, extra screen time, a special treat, or a small gift that can motivate kids to do chores. Make sure the reward is age-appropriate and something your kid values.
  • Be specific with your praise. Rather than simply saying, “Good job,” try to be more specific about what you’re praising. For example, you could say, “I’m so proud of you for cleaning your room so quickly and thoroughly!” This will help your kid understand what they did well and reinforce that behavior in the future.
  • Consider using a reward system where your kid earns points for completing chores. These points can be traded in for rewards over time. This can help your kid see the value in completing their chores and provide motivation to continue doing them.
  • Finally, praise your kid’s efforts, not just their successes. Even if they don’t complete a chore perfectly, it’s essential to recognize the effort they put in and the progress they’re making. This will help them feel more confident and motivated to continue improving.

Use Natural Consequences and Logical Consequences

  • Natural consequences are the natural outcome of behavior without any intervention from the parent. For example, if your kid doesn’t do their laundry, they won’t have any clean clothes to wear. This can be a powerful motivator for completing chores, as your kid will understand the consequences of not doing them.
  • Logical consequences are consequences related to the behavior but imposed by the parent. For example, if your kid doesn’t clean their room, they won’t be allowed to have friends over until it’s clean. This can be an effective way of motivating kids to complete chores, and your kid will understand the consequences of not doing them.
  • Using natural and logical consequences that are age-appropriate and proportional to the behavior is important. For example, removing a favorite toy for not doing a chore may be too harsh and could backfire by making your kid resentful or rebellious.
  • It’s also important to make sure that consequences are consistent and predictable. Your kid should know what will happen if they don’t do their chores, and you should be willing to follow through on the consequences if necessary.
  • Finally, use consequences as a teaching tool rather than a punishment. The goal is to help your kid understand the importance of completing chores and to develop a sense of responsibility and accountability. By using consequences fairly and consistently, you can help your kid learn these valuable life skills.

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

Sometimes, your chore schedule won’t work out even with the best-laid plans. Is it time to bring out the big guns? Nope, it’s time to pivot. Revisit your list of age-appropriate chores, adjust your reward system, and maybe introduce new chores that align better with your child’s age and interest.

Alright, let’s wrap this up. What have we learned? We’ve learned that children’s chores are a work in progress. They’re about more than just household tasks; they invest in raising children prepared for the real world. So, let’s roll up those sleeves and show these kids what hard work looks like!


Q: How often should I update the chore list?

A: Update it according to your child’s age and ability to handle more complex tasks. Keep it dynamic!

Q: What are some excellent reward system ideas?

A: Stickers, stars, and yes, sometimes a small allowance can be effective for older kids.

Q: What if my kids still resist chores?

A: Time for a redo! Revisit your strategy and change the chores and the reward system until you find what clicks.

Q: How do I make a simple chore chart?

A: You can use the free printable below or design your own. The key is to make it visual and easy to understand.

The Ultimate Guide to Motivating Kids To Do Chores

You got this, supermoms!


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