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Forget the Chores…Go For the Moment

April 26th, 2011 - Category: Family Time

As parents, it’s not uncommon for us to stay laser-focused on the things that just “have to get done.” We have our own to-do list and we try to squeeze our children into that same mold. As you know, this can cause some tension. Kids want to do things on their own time. And the urgency to get things done can make you seem like an ogre.

But how do find a happy balance? What can you do to teach children responsibility, get the chores done, and not be the overbearing parent?

Here’s an idea: don’t focus so much on getting the chores done. They’ll get done; even if it takes an hour instead of 30 minutes. What is important is that you build relationships with your children as you help them develop skills and learn to possibly enjoy their chores.

Below is a list of 5 ideas for making chore time memorable:

Turn on the Radio – doing chores can be fun…if you want it to be. A little bit of music can act as a motivator. If you associate pleasurable things with less-than-fun activities, you can reshape how your children feel about what they are doing.

Interrupt Chores with Some Fun– for example, if you’ve asked your kids to wash the car, take advantage of that opportunity to bond. Sneak up as they work and turn the hose on them. They’ll remember moments like that forever. No, you can’t do it every time they wash the car. But when it’s completely unexpected, go for the moment.

Make it a Game– the chores have to be done. When children are little, we sing the clean-up song to motivate them. Older children don’t want to sing silly songs. But what if you were to set a timer and offer an extra incentive if they get their chores done before it goes off. Or, hide some cash that they’ll only find by doing an exceptional job with their chores (like moving the furniture when they vacuum).

Join Them– as your children grow, it’s easy to let them tackle their chores on their own. After all, you’ve got things to do. But once in a while, find some time to help your child complete their chores. They need to know you still recognize what they are doing.

Skip the Chores– when you see your child dragging their feet about doing chores, why not skip them? Take them to a movie or out to get ice cream. Skipping chores once in a while won’t hurt anything and your child will appreciate your willingness to make them happy more than getting things done.

Switch Things Up– if your child is old enough, offer to switch chores with them. Send them off to the grocery store while you tackle mowing the lawn. A little variety will go a long way in making chores less mundane.

Compliment Their Efforts –just letting your child know their efforts are appreciated can make a big difference. There’s a big difference between doing chores because you have to and doing chores because it makes your parents happy.

Some of our favorite moments are those we’ve spent working side-by-side with our children. It’s a good feeling to know that even “hard work” can be rewarding, memorable and enjoyable. Those are the real skills and feelings you’d like to leave your child with, right?

If you have other ideas for making the most of chore time with your kids, please feel free to leave a comment below. And if you are looking for a way to easily manage your child’s chores, be sure to check out our free online chore chart,

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