Friday, January 06, 2017

My 2 best tips for getting kids to do their chores

Okay, I know—most of the time, it's faster to clean and do other chores yourself. But there has to be a tipping point sometime, an age where the energy expended in actually getting the kids to do chores is less than the energy expended to do them yourself.

I think we've reached that tipping point, for some chores, with my kids—at least Kenny, my 13 year old. My younger son Peter (age 9) still daydreams quite a bit. Still, it's important for kids to do chores, to learn to do practical things and to contribute to the running of the household.

However, the arguing over whose turn it is to do the chore is something I want to avoid. One way we've made the assigning of chores easier is by the extremely simple rule that determines whose day it is. There's no chore chart, or labeled calendar. If it's an even date, it's Peter's turn. If it's an odd date, it's Kenny's turn. That very simple device avoids 95 percent of the arguing over whose turn it is. And that's the way my parents ran the dish-washing routine when my brother Tom and I did the dishes—the same odd/even thing.

Why does this only avoid 95% of the argument, and not 100%? That's because of the fact that there are more odd dates than even dates (some months having 31 days, and always starting with a 1). So when Kenny has 2 days in a row to do, there will be complaints. But he's older anyway, so this will be the way it is. With Peter I'll help out, to keep him on track. Kenny can mostly do it on his own.

The other tip that helps with the mess is that before they have screen time, there's certain things that need to be done (school things put away, room cleaned, bed made, etc). I have a checklist that they're supposed to go through before turning on their Ipads. It works remarkably well, but only if I'm diligent about actually checking whether they did the things on their list or not.

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