How To Get Kids To Help Around The House
“How can I get my kids to help?!” scream the mothers of the world! In all the years I have been a mother, almost every bit of advice I have studied say to motivate your kids using charts with stickers, allowances and various forms of bribery. I have personally used all of these methods. I believe in using them because I have found they work great.
Guess what? These methods work for teens too. When my son started high school, we got rid of the charts. We thought, “OK, he’s growing up. He doesn’t need then anymore.” I spent a year reminding him five times a day to take out the trash. I’m not sure what I was thinking but I somehow got it in my head that when a person does the same chore every day for ten years, he might figure out that he will have to do it again tomorrow. Wrong!
At that time, I didn’t know that the section of a teenaged boys brain that recognizes tasks that need to be done and motivates him to actually take action to complete those tasks doesn’t really develop until he gets married or at least leaves home. If you have a teenager, once this happens, you will be surprised when you walk into the kitchen and discover a strange young man taking out your trash, even though it’s not full and overflowing! He hasn’t even been told to do it! So be encouraged — there is hope!
Back to when he was still a teenager – I did finally discover that if I wrote down a list of things that I needed done, my son responded much better to the list than he had responded to my continual nagging.
What kind of boss are you?
Just like in any business, the employees are only as good as the mangers are. Maybe we need to stop putting all the blame on our families and reflect on what what kind of “bosses” we are.
There are certain places of business where I go and I can tell right away that they are great places to work. The merchandise is neatly displayed, the employees are smiling and laughing with each other and the customer service is wonderful. The employees seem to bend over backwards help the customers. What’s the secret? They have a great boss.
Here is a list of characteristics of ineffective bosses and effective bosses. Which one are you?
- Barks orders
- Criticizes everything, even when people have tried their best
- Makes family feel guilty – No matter what they do, it’s never enough.
- Never happy with how the job is done
- Tasks must be done the Mom’s way and no other way. Mom will not even listen to reasonable suggestions.
- Makes charts or lists, so the family knows what is expected
- Makes requests in a quiet, gentle, reasonable voice with a smile
- Always praises them for doing a good job or at least for trying
- Shows her family how much she appreciates them for all they do to help her
- Never fixes a job done less than perfectly. Instead, the next time the job is done, she does it with them until they lean to do it right.
Your husband and children are people with brains and good ideas. Make this a group effort and not a dictatorship. Every member of the family wants to feel needed and to be considered an important contributing member of the family.
The hardest part for you in getting your kids to help is that you need to take the time and trouble to train your children. Don’t you hate starting a new job where you have had little or no training? You get so confused and frustrated that you just want to give up and quit. It can be that way with your family, too.
Many times, families quit on you because they don’t understand what you expect from them, they don’t know how to do a task or they can’t seem to do it well enough for you. It may take several times to master a task (It may even take years), but keep working with your children until they feel comfortable with a job and you will help them develop into responsible, thoughtful adults. Always remember that a word of encouragement, a thank you, and a reward goes a long way.
For lots more helpful tips and examples of how to get your kids to help, how to organize your kids, and how to teach them about money and practical living skills, check out our Saving With Kids e-books.