The Montfort Group

Parenting: Children’s Chores

Mom, I can’t wait to get home so I can clean up my room…said no child ever. Usually, getting kids to do laundry or wash dishes is a chore in and of itself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just done the darn thing myself because getting my child to accomplish the task feels like pulling teeth. I wrote about some of the lessons learned here and how important it is to foster independence in our children. From turmoil to teamwork, encourage children’s chores.

When working with pre-teen and adolescent clients, one of the first questions I ask during the intake session is, “Does your child have chores at home?” Some clients seem perplexed, thinking “what does this have to do with school performance, peer struggles, and behavior issues?” 


In truth, setting up children’s chore routines benefits them in a number of ways. Yes, it takes extra time. It is certainly frustrating, but creating an atmosphere of teamwork at home accomplishes several tasks. Firstly, it sets our children up for a lifetime of autonomy. It helps them take pride in their space and develop sensitivity to others’ needs (think: being a respectful friend, college roomie, and eventual partner). It also develops real-world, problem-solving mechanisms. Children tend to build spatial awareness, dexterity, and time-management skills through doing chores

Here are five tips for encouraging children’s chores at home: 

Make it fun.

Young children explore and learn through play, so why not turn cleaning up the room into a fun game? Award points for tossing toys into a bin. Try jamming out to music for a cleaning “dance party”. Have a singing contest while sweeping. Pretend you’re acting in a play.  

Sneak in conversation.

Family time doesn’t need to be squeezed into pre-planned activities. Chatting about your day over dishes can make a boring task fly by, and it’s a great way to gain insight into your teen’s life without putting them on the spot. Having something mundane to do like children’s chores removes the pressure of a “big talk”, and it can turn into a soothing evening ritual.

Create a chore chart.

As a therapist, I often find myself collaborating with parents to build stronger routines at home. We examine the weekly schedule, highlight the strengths in the current system, and identify areas for growth. Sometimes morning routines feel hectic or bath time is a total disaster. Creating an effective chore chart with feasible rewards and appropriate consequences is key for younger children.

Give thanks.

We don’t need to go overboard with rewards, because applause and cheer go a very long way. Children’s chores are one of the earliest forms of autonomy-building, and children actively seek recognition and praise for what they’re learning. When we pair a chore with a positive reward, such as praise, it suddenly become a stimuli worth seeking again. Ditch the material rewards and consider key phrases such as , “Wow, do you feel proud of yourself?” or “I’m amazed! You did that all by yourself!”

Re-consider consequences.

Boredom is a much more effective punishment than nagging and yelling. We would all rather be doing something fun than mowing the yard or folding clothes, and your children are similar. So, if the kids aren’t doing chores, then what exactly are they doing? Are they watching TV or playing a game? Consider creating a system where things like device time and TV-time have to be earned rather than handed automatically. If your child learns that a job well done leads to something they enjoy at the end, they will be more willing to do the task in a timely manner. 

Children’s chores will not only benefit your child but will also help you with delegation give everyone a great lesson in independence.

Contact The Montfort Group in Plano today to see how we can help you with your family create helpful routines and foster indepenence and growth in your children. 

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