The younger the child, the more time and attention you will need to dedicate to teach the child to listen and follow through with his or her chore(s). Rattling off their chores will only confuse them. To catch their attention, give a specific order. I know this takes more effort than shouting what you would like done, but this method is more effective in the long run.
For example, "I need you to put all of your toys back where they belong within the next 10 minutes. I am setting a timer. If the timer rings and the toys are not put away you will not be playing with them tomorrow." Compared to repeating, "Put your toys away!" over a dozen times with no daily progress, give it a go! Children, especially age 3 or younger, have a fascination with racing or tasks with a time constraint. On another note, a specific order with a failing consequence is known for producing much better outcomes (and cleaner rooms!).
Consequence. Now that doesn’t sound like the most positive word… and that’s because people tend to associate it with the negatives. When it comes to the children’s chores, be sure to balance the positives and negatives. As would any adult, if a child feels he is doing all that work for nothing, he will no longer put in that much effort. Reward the child with something small, even simple words of encouragement will make a difference.
Moving onto older children… your best bet is a chore chart. If they are at an age capable to read and write, a chart with designated chores each week will keep things on track and prevent bickering. As much as you do not like to repeat yourself, as a parent or caretaker, children do not like to repeatedly be reminded either. With a daily/ weekly set deadline, you will both come to a starting agreement eliminating any future feuds regarding chores.
One of the most common and effective methods, is involving a little sticker action on the chore chart. By rewarding the child with a sticker for the chores he completes on time, he is motivated to keep working! Make a game out of it! Decide together when he earns a certain amount of stickers, that is when he should receive a special treat or favor.
Unfortunately, there comes a time when the sticker party comes to an end. Teenage years are tough because there are millions are other things going through their heads. And let’s be honest, chores aren’t what they consider "life threatening" in their busy young lives. So here’s a little something to keep in your back pocket for those unruly teenage years. Instead of threatening their weekend or night out, simply stay calm and trade chores. You read right! Trade chores with your kids!
For example, you ask your son to take out the garbage while you run to the store and what do you know! An hour later, you return home, and the garbage is still in the same spot. The only thing you want to do at this point is scream… but don’t. Collect yourself and remind him he forgot to take the trash out. "Oops… I’m sorry…" is usually the go to reaction expecting you to do it or give them a second chance to do it later. NOT THIS TIME. Kindly and calmly respond with an "It’s alright, I took care of it. You can do one of my chores. The dishes need to be cleaned." Not only will this catch him off guard (eyes as wide as an owl), but he will have no excuse but to swap chores since you were so composed with the request.
Remember to stay cool when asking for a chore to be done. Demanding something is not nearly as effective.
By Stephanie Falcone
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