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Encouraging Kids to Do Chores: Are Allowances Helpful?

Chores are often a routine part of family life. Parents and children work together to keep their home in order. However, parents also often face the struggle of convincing their children to do chores. Some may offer allowances, whereas other may simply demand that their children complete chores “or else.”

It is true that convincing children to do chores is difficult. However, assigning chores is healthy for children of nearly any age. Encouraging kids to do chores may seem impossible, but with understanding and a few simple tricks, you can make it happen. Determining if providing an allowance is a correct method of encouragement can also help you.

My Child Resists Chores

If you find that your child resists doing household chores, you are not alone. Many children resist chores because they:

  • React on Impulse – Children need instant gratification, and if an activity (such as a chore) does not provide instant gratification, they want no part of it
  • Consider Themselves – Children are too young to consider anyone but themselves, which means that they must be taught to consider the needs of others
  • Lack Judgement Abilities – Children are not old enough to make judgment calls that allow them to understand how much it takes to run a household

Children must be taught to control their impulses, consider others, and make judgment calls. You cannot expect them to know these things on their own. Because they are still learning, you will find that they are not simply willing to do chores. Instead, encouraging kids to do chores becomes a top priority. Through proper encouragement, they will complete their chores.

Encouragement Tips

There are plenty of ways you can easily encourage your kids to carry out daily tasks and chores. You have to understand their strengths, weakness, and natural abilities. For instance, children are naturally creative. Make use of their creativity when it comes to chore time. There are, of course, many other things you can do, too.

Get Creative

Turn chore time into a game. For instance, you can turn cleaning a room into a race. Challenge children using a timer to see who can pick up their toys the fastest. If you only have one child, you can set a timer and challenge your child to beat the clock. Make sure to offer plenty of praise and encouragement while this is taking place. Encouraging kids to do chores is all about positive reinforcement.

Offer Encouraging Praise

As previously mentioned, children prefer instant gratification. Chores do not provide that gratification. Fortunately, you can provide gratification through encouraging praise. Each time your child picks something up to put it away, offer praise. “Good job, buddy! That is awesome. I love how quickly you picked that up and put it away. You are such a big kid now!” Your child will feel so proud that they will want to keep cleaning.

What About An Allowance?

Offering an allowance as a way of encouraging kids to do chores has always been a hot debate. Some professionals agree that an allowance is good because it teaches children about budgeting and finances.

Others say that you should not give children an allowance for normal, everyday tasks and chores. They feel that children need to learn that everyday chores are a part of life and running a successful household. If you reward them, they will not understand that concept.

The truth is, many parents struggle with finances, which makes offering an allowance impossible for all families. Fortunately, you do not have to offer your child an allowance for every chore, nor should you.

Instead, there is a correct way to give your kids an allowance without breaking the bank. If your child does normal tasks, such as cleaning his or her room, helping with dinner, clearing off the table, of cleaning the kitchen, do not offer an allowance.

Choose to offer an allowance to your child when he or she goes above and beyond expectations and normal household chores. For instance, if you ask an older child to pick up the yard so you can mow, but the child decides to go above and beyond to mow for you, offer an allowance.

Extra tasks completed that are not part of daily chores should be rewarded. By offering an allowance, you teach your kids budgeting. By offering an allowance for hard work, you are showing your children that many does not come free, but must be earned.

If you start offering an allowance for every little task – folding the towels, making the bed, vacuuming the floors – your child will come to expect that reward. Unfortunately, that could backfire later down the road. Therefore, instill in your child through motivation and encouragement that chores must be completed as a normal part of life rather than for reward purposes.

If you find that you are still struggling when it comes to encouraging kids to do chores, speak with a therapist. A qualified therapist can assist you in figuring out why your child is so resistant to the idea of chores. A therapist can also help you come up with new and exciting ways to encourage and motivate your child to do the chores that you want him or her to do.

Monica Ramunda is a solution-focused therapist with an office located in Louisville, Colorado for in-office visits. With a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and more than 16 years experience in therapy and counseling, Monica works as both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with adults and children respectively. Much of Monica’s success is based on her eclectic orientation and drawing on a wide range of different approaches and techniques all while remaining strongly grounded in the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT).