Chores Series Part 2: How To Get Your Kids To Do Chores

Are you feeling more like a Maid than a Mom?

Are you concerned that you’re raising entitled children? Are you burnt-out from carrying the burden of your family’s housework?

Read on to learn how we initiated a Family Chore System and got our four kids to do chores!

Do Your Kids A Favor…Give Them Chores!

If you read my blog post titled Why Your Kids Should Do Chores, then you know my backstory about chores. I was an overworked, under-appreciated Mama until my therapist assigned me the task of delegating housework to my very capable children.

Moms, this delegating has literally changed our entire family dynamic…for the better! I’m doing less housework and therefore, I feel less stressed! And our kids are gaining independence, responsibility, time-management skills, and confidence! All because I’ve assigned them chores!

Why Family Chore Systems Fail

Honest truth…getting your kids to do chores is no cakewalk. It will take some upfront work, that pays off big-time in the end.

Here are some common mistakes we often make as parents when it comes to kids and chores:

  • We do it better ourselves! Its true – as Moms, we get the job done best! Slowing your pace to watch your kiddo cram dishes into the dishwasher is pure torture for control-freaks like me. But giving up on them and doing the chores yourself, defeats the whole purpose!
  • We get sick of the whining! Listening to whining is a chore in itself! If they whine enough about doing the chore, sometimes its just easier to throw in the towel and do it ourselves. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!
  • We criticize! “No not like that!” “You’re doing it wrong!” Listen, my anxiety skyrockets watching my youngest fold towels and stuff them into the linen closet. But being negative will only discourage them from continuing to participate.
  • We assign chores above their ability. This sets them up for failure and frustration. And in the end, you’ll have to do the chore for them. Stick with age-appropriate chores that set them up for success.
  • Not sticking to the chore system. Life gets busy and often us Moms cave and do the chores ourselves. “Susie has late soccer practice tonight – I’ll just take care of this for her.” Or “Jimmy has a ton of homework tonight, I’ll sweep the steps so he doesn’t have to.” Moms…stop yourselves! Our kiddos must understand that before they tend to outside-of-the-home responsibilities, serving their family is the first priority!

How To Get Your Kids To Do Chores

Now that we know what mistakes to avoid, I want to share what worked for our family. Our kids are 4, 6, 9, and 11 and we started our Family Chore System about six months ago.

  • List Of All Household Tasks: I made a list (a very long list!) of all the chores required in our home. I then took a hot second to pat myself on the back because, damn…I accomplish a sh*t ton of work! But now, its time to identify which of these chores my kiddos are capable of…because I’m done being a Mom-Maid!
  • Chore Chart: I then made the chart. Easy to understand for all of our kids’ ages (even the 4 year old). Two chores per day, per kid. We’d rotate the chores each Sunday. I love the idea that the “chart” tells them what to do rather than me nagging them. The chart hangs on our refrigerator.  Don’t forget to download your FREE Template at the end of this post.

  • Family Meeting: We held a “meeting” to introduce our new Family Chore System and emphasized that this is a non-negotiable, family commitment. Our home is a place the WHOLE family lives…not just Mom and Dad! And this means, the WHOLE family will start contributing to the housework. We also pointed out that doing chores will benefit them as they grow into adults.
  • Show Them!: Don’t assume they know what you’re asking of them. We tediously patiently broke down each chore for them. Instead of saying “vacuum the stairs” we showed them how to use the hand-held vacuum, to hit all the dusty corners of each stair, and most importantly, to plug the vacuum back into the charger when finished! Then we watched while they each practiced.
  • Give ‘Em Praise: Don’t scold them or criticize their work. Use encouraging phrases – even if the work they do is horrific. “I love seeing how hard you’re working!” And then gently demonstrate how they can improve –  “Let me show you a tip your Grandma taught me when I was a little girl and first started folding towels.”
  • Set Designated Chore Times: This helps the kiddos be prepared and avoids the need for you to constantly nag remind them “don’t forget to do your chores!” Kids naturally thrive with routines. Plus having the routine helps the chores become a habit. For our family, it works best to complete our chores in the morning. We use When/Then language. “When you complete your chores, then you can watch a TV show.”
  • Let Them Whine!: They’re going to push back at this – especially at first. Let them whine! Let them pitch a fit! But hold your ground Mamas!
  • Progress Over Perfection: It doesn’t matter that the towels aren’t folded perfectly and stacked immaculately in the linen closet. At least they are no longer wiping their boogers on the towels. Their performance will improve over time! Baby steps, right?
  • Age-Appropriate Chores: Giving them chores they are fully capable of sets them up for success. If they feel successful about their work…they’re more likely to stick with it…with less whining!

Free Printable

Download a copy of the Chore Chart Template our family uses!


Do you have a Chore System that works well for your family? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!


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