how to get your kids to help out around the house


Here under the Big Top everyone is expected to pitch in. Such is life with a big family or with dual-income parents or a mother who is just plain lazy…you decide.

But seriously, since my kids were just little munchkins, they all have been expected to pitch in one way or another. I feel that each of them should be more than capable of picking up after themselves and they do. When the older ones were younger than Daniel they were just as eager as Daniel is today.

Mommy wants me to pick up my dirty socks and put them in the laundry hamper then stack the newspapers? Mommy wants me to help set the table? Mommy is LETTING me help unload the dishwasher! Yippee-skippee!!!

Oh, but it soon gets old though and the proof is in my nagging, er, reminding the kids that they need to clean their rooms, bathroom or pick up any mess they make including the set of dirty dishes that always seem to be in their room. Honestly I get so weary having to always tell the kids what they should do here under the Big Top. They are reasonably bright, capable young people who have lived with me all their lives. Why is it so hard for them to understand that I don’t like wet towels piled on the bathroom floor, or toothpaste in the sink or dirty dishes piled on the kitchen counters when the dishwasher is but two feet away? Days like that I almost actually wish for them to regress back to ages 4-6 when they were eager to lend a hand for their mommy…almost!

But today, I stumbled upon a new way to get them to WANT to help out around the house. I don’t even have to ask because they all want to help…as long as they get to use this

I know, I know. Soon enough the shiny, red, new vacuum cleaner will lose its attractive glow and that new vacuum cleaner smell and they will no longer be stumbling over one another to help mom out. I guess then I will just have to buy another new vacuum cleaner. This could get very expensive.

Besides chore lists, allowances, rewards, nagging, yelling, et. al. how do you get your kids to help out around the house?

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14 thoughts on “how to get your kids to help out around the house

  1. ahh the dyson.

    I used to hate vaccumming before my dyson… I have a serious crush on my dyson now

  2. oh, there’s the ever-popular, “if it’s laying around as if the owner doesn’t want it, then it will be thrown away,” approach. that always worked on my brother and me. there’s nothing more poignant to a kid than seeing his or her possessions in a (clean, obviously) trash bag ready to be thrown out.

    also, i don’t know how the chore system is set up in your house, but it always helped to prevent fights to mix up the chores each week (one week it’d be my turn to clean the toilet, the next week it’d be my brother’s).

  3. Hmmm … new vacuum smell. It beats the heck out of old vacuum smell.
    You can probably get the kids to chip in while it’s new, but once the new vacuum becomes the old vacuum, all bets are off.

  4. well first there’s the training since she was able to remove her clothes from her body that dirty clothes are only allowed in the hampers. I have 4 hampers around the house so it isn’t as if she has to travel far to put her clothes away. second she isn’t allowed to have food anywhere but the kitchen…it’s just easier. Nobody has food upstairs, ever.
    She vacuumes her room because I suck up Barbie shoes! ha ha! She’ll do the laundry cuz she still likes to. and we have an agreement about the dishwasher…I’ll load if she unloads it. She doesn’t like to touch the dirty dishes…but she does have to put her own breakfast & lunch dishes in (as does everyone else.)

    DH bribes her. I don’t cuz I don’t have the money. I have to use threats.

  5. i like the new vacuum smell spray!
    LOL
    obviously, renee you got it down with all this with your one little girl.
    funny, i do the same as you and have over the years but then the little darling(s) do grow up from fresh-faced youngsters into eye-rolling, know-it-all teens and onward and then your best efforts go kerflooey…at least it does here with several much older children. get back to me in a few years and let me know if it all works better for you.

  6. Oh cool! I’ll even volunteer to do your vacuuming if I can us that! :) That’s on my “someday” list of wants (or needs in my opinion).

  7. Oh, I am SOOOOO not expecting this to keep working for me when she hits full force hormones. ;)

    But if she wants her life to not be heck, she’ll at least keep up her room.

  8. i was just thinking… teens don’t really have toys to throw away. but they do have something they really like – a curfew.

    what if you offered to extend their friday or saturday curfew by a half hour if they do all of their chores without having to be asked for a week? it gives them something to work towards each week.

  9. Alexis wants one of those Dyson’s but I can’t decide whether to finance it for 15 or 20 years :)

  10. we got this dyson at target and it was clearanced out. of course since we burned out the motor of the old vacuum we had no choice but get another one. all in all it was a good deal especially when i fired it up and went through the house with it. man, that thing can really suck!

  11. That’s a tough one, but I do take a tough love approach. I do still assign chores, which is pretty ridiculous with a 21 year old, but there you have it. However, if they don’t do their assigned chore, they have to do that chore, PLUS a penalty chore the next day. And penalty chores are basically any dirty, nasty job I don’t feel like doing. So that helps a bit, but I do need to be more strict with them, especially the 21 year old. He gets a little arrogant about chores at times.

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