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I get numerous messages to¬†my Your Modern Family Facebook page requesting¬†tips on¬†how to teach your kids to do chores without whining and crying. ¬† This is definitely a challenging thing to start (once you do it, it won’t be so bad, but the first few weeks are hard).

I know that it is easier to just do it for them (as you can tell from my previous post- STOP doing that for your kids!) but we really aren’t teaching them anything when we do it for them.

no whining or crying

I’ve tried it all: ¬†bribery, rewards, allowance… ¬†Nothing works as well as consistency, so let it be part of their daily routine. ¬†The minute that you “let a day slip by” doing their chores for them, is the minute that you have allowed them to think that it is an OPTION. ¬† An option to not help. ¬†An option to do something else. ¬†An option to get out of doing chores. ¬†Helping out around the house is not an option. ¬† It isn’t an option for me, for my husband or for our kids. ¬†We all live here and we all need to take an active part in keeping it clean. ¬† (remember- we are raising responsible adults here, not dependent kids that will become dependent adults.)

Here are some ideas to get you started…

  • When you are ready to have them do their chores, give them a warning before chore-time starts. ¬†A five minute warning is just enough time to let them know that they will have to do chores.
  • Set a timer.
    Ex: Clean the kitchen for 10 minutes. ¬†Or you could even set aside 15 minute intervals of cleaning up¬†time, three-times-a-day. ¬†If¬†the chores run long because of attitudes and poor performance then we start to lose outside time, play time, park visits. ¬†Ultimately, it’s up to them. Get it done in the time allowed or lose fun time somewhere else.
  • Let the kids pick their own chores – we use the chore basket for this.
  • Channel your inner-Mary-Poppins when it is time to do chores. ¬†No one wants to work for a grouchy boss, right? ¬†Your kids don’t want to help a grouchy mom. ¬†Be cheerful! ¬†“For every job that must be done, there is an element of fun‚Ķ”

  • Make it a contest (the contest is¬†who works the hardest¬†– NOT who is fastest or who is the best,¬†because that is just asking for messiness (things hidden under beds or in closets!)¬† ps- you don’t really have to pick a winner. ¬†There can be two, three or four winners if everyone is working hard)
  • Give the kids the option of working together. ¬†They can combine their chores and work together, helping each other. ¬† Our boys do this a lot.
  • Give the kids age-appopriate chores.¬†
  • Think of chores like brushing teeth. ¬†Do it consistently & routinely.¬†
  • No need to do reward systems for chores – they are what we do to help our family. ¬†If the reward loses its “shine”, you will be¬†back to square one. ¬†Plus, they are more work for you!
  • Whining/Crying will NEVER get them off the hook. ¬† A “day off” can be earned every Sunday by helping out throughout the week.
  • Use the WHEN, THEN method. ¬†(“WHEN you finish your chores, THEN you get to play outside.” ¬† “WHEN you have made your bed, THEN you can play on the tablet.”)
  • Whining/Crying = no electronics for the day. ¬† ¬†(This will be as hard for YOU as it will be for THEM, but it is worth it, ¬†if you stick to it. ¬†Trust me.)
  • Work alongside them a few days a week, so they will understand your level of clean. ¬† Show them what you expect from them and do it with them until they understand and do it well.

    no more whining

  • Give them a few “staple chores” – the ones that they do as an every day routine. ¬† Making their¬†bed is routine. ¬†Picking up their¬†clothes is routine.
  • Let them know that they are HELPING you, not that you are simply demanding it. ¬†Everyone (myself included) likes to know that we are doing something to help someone else, not because we are being forced to do it.
  • Praise their efforts and thank them. ¬† Be genuine. ¬†It freed up some of your time, so thank them and then use that time to do something fun with them!
  • Remember that different kids need different methods. One thing may work with one of two, but rarely with all of them‚Ķ and that’s ok. ¬†Find what works for your children.

    Oh- and try this tip to teach them to keep their rooms cleaned.  Works like a charm!
    teach your kids to clean their room

    A way to make chores fun again… 
    Board with Chores Make them fun again!!These chores are perfect for your kids… 
    Chores by age
    OH- and we don’t use a chore chart. ¬†Here is why…
    stopped using chore charts



Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve always seemed to struggle with this. :/ Thanks for the tips!