Ways to Encourage Kids to Do Chores

a young boy and girl on stools working at the kitchen sink

As a parent, we want our children to grow up to be contributing members of society. One way to instill this value in our children is to develop a desire and willingness to work at a young age. Strong parenting nurtures and teaches responsibility and the idea of taking care of things for the common good.

Research shows that preschool-aged children who are encouraged to do chores and continue to do so throughout their lives have a generally stronger work ethic. They are happier and more successful than their counterparts.

Encourage them to do Chores By:

Do Chores Yourself

Most preschoolers start to imitate adult behavior early on. Why do you think kids love to pull pots and pans out of the kitchen? They see the adults do it, and they want to do the same. Imitation is the best flattery, so regularly participate in chores yourself, so your child can see how to do them.

Use Chores as Connection Time

Similar to imitation: invite your child to help you with chores. This is one of the easiest parenting hacks ever! Please don’t make them think they are doing chores. Instead, allow them to believe they are just helping you around the house as you talk and have fun. By doing chores together, you create connections and provide moments in which your preschool-aged child can learn new life skills.

Make It a Game

For preschoolers and elementary school kids, one of the funniest ways to get them to do chores is to make it a game. You can play Musical Clean-Up, where you play a song and see if they can clean up their rooms before the song runs out. Another fun game is Matchy-Matchy, where you either have them match up socks or find matching PJ sets or match all the coins of the same kind. The idea is that you are creating a fun, enjoyable chore that has a positive outcome.

Calendar

Creating a calendar or daily chart is one of the easiest ways to have a child do chores. They love checking off completed items, and it puts the responsibility on them. There are many different calendars out there; you just have to find one that works for you and your family.

Empower Them to Choose

Write out a list of all chores you want the family to help with and allow each child to pick which chores they want to take on.  You might help preschool-aged children choose or allow them to change later if they find the chore difficult or become bored with it. Letting them choose is a parenting power move: it gives children a sense of confidence to complete the task, but they’re still meeting your expectations regardless of their choice.

Preschool-Aged Children and Chores: The Don’t List

  • Don’t expect perfection. Children will need to learn and work up to doing things correctly.
  • Don’t expect chores to be completed on your time. Kids work on different timelines than adults, embrace this and give them space.
  • Don’t expect too much in the beginning. Children might not do all of their chores right away. Adjust the amount of work expected from them if they’re getting tired or annoyed.
  • Don’t get in a power struggle. If your child has had a busy day or week or has had some conflict at home or school, allow them grace to complete the chores at another time.

The biggest takeaway about helping your children do chores is to make sure you create a positive environment to feel confident to learn and succeed at chores. Parenting is hard work, but empowering your child will improve your family’s dynamic and develop the type of people this world needs.