The end of the War on Chores


When it comes to kids and helping around the house it can be an impossible combination for parents.

Getting your children to do chores is one of the most common triggers for family arguments. 

It might be a good idea to introduce your child to getting involved in helping out around the house from an early age.

You don't need to have them scrubbing toilets, but something like teaching them to carry their dishes to the sink or to clean up after themselves is a good start. 

Chores versus responsibility 

I personally don't like referring to the general maintenance of household order as chores. Cleaning up after yourself and not leaving your dirty dishes lying around should be something that you view as a normal and healthy way to live. Your kids should be taught not to want to live in clutter and mess, simply because they enjoy life without it and because they understand that it's not acceptable.  

Teaching your child to understand this is key.  

When it comes to bigger duties like mowing the lawn or cleaning the pool (for older kids) sharing some of these responsibilities might contribute to your child's understanding of how they'll want to live one day when they have a family of their own. 

Chores shouldn't be punishments

If you've managed to get your kids to grasp the concept of wanting to live in a clean and tidy environment without constantly having to nag them then you've probably never used chores as a form of punishment.

If you threaten your child with chores every time they do something wrong, they'll learn to associate chores as something negative and be less likely to willingly want to participate in them.  

Some parents reward their children for doing chores by giving them pocket money or something they want. This might work for smaller children, but as mentioned before, the idea is that your kids help out in order to enjoy living in a clean environment and not just for a reward. 

"I'll do it later"

Nobody enjoys washing dishes or mopping the floors. It becomes a battle when your kids get into the habit of putting things off and when you allow them to choose between priority and fun. The struggle of having to nag your kids to do their duties only becomes a struggle when you allow it. 

Monkey see monkey do

If you don't feel that cleaning up after yourself is important then neither will your kids. Young children in particular will pick up on your bad habits and if you're not actively showing them how to maintain order in the house, they're not going to understand why they should have to. 

If you're lucky enough to be able to afford domestic help try not to take it for granted and teach your kids that it's no reason to avoid doing their part when it comes to picking up after themselves. 

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

What do your kids do to help out in the house? Send your comments to

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