How to get your children to help around the house - GulfToday

How to get your children to help around the house


Children sometimes “forget” their chores as a way of getting out of doing them (an approach that’s often successful). TNS

Saleha Irfan, Senior Sub-Editor/Reporter

I loved my childhood but growing up there was one thing I would always run away from: Chores!

I hated them with a passion.

During summer break, my mum would leave a list of chores for me and my sister to complete before she came back from work. We would divide the list evenly amongst ourselves. But, being the elder one, I would exercise unfair advantage and would choose the ones I didn’t mind doing as much.

I would cut veggies willingly, fold the laundry without a frown, but ask me to dust the furniture, and the shelves with the decoration pieces, and I would throw a fit.

Till date, this is the one task I despise doing.

My sister, on the other hand, loved cleaning. She would do it with a dedication, hardly seen in 10-year-olds today.

Things might have changed over the years, but the one thing that remains constant is the dislike children feel towards chores.

So is there a way to get children to do their chores without having to nag them over and over?

Children sometimes “forget” their chores as a way of getting out of doing them (an approach that’s often successful). But sometimes they really do forget — even after being reminded 174 times. Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire cure for this kind of selective memory loss, but there are a few strategies that may help.


It’s never too early to start teaching your children about money. Financial incentive would be the best way to make sure your children accomplish their daily chores. The downside is that they would do their chores only if they knew they were getting paid.

The solution? Tell them that paid jobs are available only to people who have done their basic chores, like bringing their dirty laundry to the hamper, or taking the dog out for a walk. And if they forget to do these basic chores, then have them deal with the natural consequences, like not doing their laundry, and having them clean up after the dog.


Time is a good motivator no matter what age group you belong to. Have your children run against a time clock. In my case, the cut off time was the moment my mum walked in the front door.

Your children will work extra hard knowing that running out of time will have a negative impact. For example, give your children an hour to do the dishes and if they don’t, take their TV privileges away for the day. You might be surprised at how quickly they take to the new order of things.

Work, then play

When you go to your office, you probably don’t start the day off with a long break or an hour-long chat with your co-workers over coffee. Chances are you start your day by doing what you’re paid to do. The same concept should apply to your children.

Let them know they don’t get to have fun or do things they enjoy until their chores are done. That includes watching their favourite show, playing their favourite game, and anything else that they might consider to be more exciting than doing the dishes (which, in all honesty, would be pretty much everything).

And if worse comes to worst, change your Wi-Fi password every day and have them work for it. Ultimately, what you’re trying to do here is find the right to motivate your children — and to turn that motivation into a habit. It may take some experimenting, but it’s worth the effort.

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