How to Get Your Kids to Start Doing Chores Today

chores for kids

Chores for kids… it has such a nice ring to it. And, oh the many plans I’ve tried to get my children to do their chores. I’ve used charts. I’ve used dry erase boards. I’ve used the stern approach and the “let’s make it fun!” approach. But most days the chores went undone… until now.

Yes, I finally found a starting point for getting my children to actually do their chores. For me, it boiled down to one thing. Let me show you how to get your kids to start doing their chores today.

Start with one chore.

This is the biggie. By giving my children only one chore I gave them the biggest chance for success. I kept it very simple. I have a wall calendar hanging in my kitchen and on the left-hand side for each week I wrote a K and an L. K is for kitchen and L is for laundry. Then I wrote the initial of each child three days in a row. So my daughter has kitchen for three days and then laundry for three days.

Now my children can’t argue about whose turn it is to clean the kitchen or fold clothes. If they do I just say, “Look at the calendar.” Eventually, I’ll add other weekly chores.

Work with them the first time.

When my son had kitchen duty the first time I showed him how to add the dishwasher detergent, how to wipe down the counters, and how to run the sweeper.

Put them in charge.

Once you’ve shown your kids how to do their chores let them take ownership. {Tweet This} Don’t come behind them and redo what they’ve done — at least don’t let them see you do that. Encourage independence, even if your children are still toddlers.

Have consequences and rewards.

Before you start your new chore duties come up with consequences for not doing chores — loss of screen time, having to do their sibling’s chores, or going to bed early. You’ll also want to come up with rewards for doing chores, especially if they do their chores days in a row. Make three days in a row the first goal, then increase it until they can do their chores for a week without missing a day.

Praise, praise, praise.

Tell them they’re doing a great job. Thank them for being such a great family team member. Then, every once in a while, do their chore for them, just to be nice. Or if they’ve had a hard day at school or have a lot of homework, be an example of loving kindness and give them a chore pass.

How do you get your kids to do their chores?



    Love this plan! I’ll give it a try this week…my problem is consistently keeping up with them and their chore duties. This simple approach may help me as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • Heidi Awerkamp

    I got this bit of advice from my husband’s aunt and it solved everything for us. It’s similar to what you suggest but even less complicated. Write down the jobs you need to have done on a daily basis to keep the house looking nice. Ask the kids to pick a job they’d like to do for a year! They then become the expert on that job and do it every day. It usually only takes 10 minutes or less. We choose new jobs and train during the summer. If the job is vacuuming, it is broken down to different rooms each day of the week and they follow that schedule. A bathroom or two might be wipe mirrors and counters one day, toilets one day, tub the next, etc. Our older kids usually have to do it all on one day because of their schedules. The children know they have to do their job before leaving for school or playing with friends. It really takes a load off Mom. Everyone knows their job everyday and when it’s time for a quick clean for company, etc. Gear up for a bit of squawking in the beginning when the new routine is starting, but it soon becomes a source of pride and comfort for everyone!