Chores are great for teaching children of all ages about responsibility and helping them learn valuable life skills for the future. But what if they don't do their chores? Deciding on appropriate consequences for kids not doing chores is a gentle way to encourage them to do their chores in the future.
Common consequences for kids not doing chores
- Less screen-time
- More chores
- Delayed pocket money
- Lower pocket money
- Fewer rewards
- Earlier bedtime
The above consequences can feel like a punishment for not doing chores. Rather than punishments, we’d suggest focusing on the following tips to encourage your child to do their chores in the future.
Remove distractions temporarily
Distractions are a common reason for kids not doing chores. You may have to help your child get on track with what you’ve asked them to do by removing the distraction until they've completed their chores. After their chores are done, chat with your child about what might be getting in the way of them doing their chores and what you could do to help. Explain that the sooner their chores are done, the sooner they can get back to whatever they were doing.
Understand your child's thinking
It can be useful to chat with your children about their chores. Find out why they aren't doing them and what might help them to be more motivated. Explain to your children why it's important that they complete their chores when expected and use encouragement to get them to do their chores in the future.
Be pragmatic, not confrontational
Taking a non-confrontational approach to young people not doing chores is usually a more effective way of getting them to understand your point of view. It can also be a good way of modelling essential life skills such as thoughtfulness and patience.
When approaching the topic of chores, it may be helpful to remember that most of the chores have probably been taken care of by adults until now. In the past, when chores have been ignored, there probably haven't been any consequences as an adult probably takes care of them.
Good communication is a key part of the process. Be frank with youngsters about the consequences of them not doing their chores. Talk with them about what can happen due to their actions. For example, if a child doesn’t do their assigned chores, someone else will have to do it instead.
Use rewards to your advantage
You may decide to set consequences for kids not doing chores. Another part of the approach may be offering a positive outcome to motivate them. Children of all ages can respond well to rewards for doing chores.
In 2021, GoHenry kids earned a combined £2.9million from completing tasks set through the GoHenry app. A pocket money app like GoHenry is also a practical way to help kids stay on track with their tasks without adults needing to remind them. You can set up one-off or weekly tasks for your child, and then they can tick them off in the app when the task is complete. The money is then released to their GoHenry prepaid debit card, which they can use in shops, to make purchases online, or withdraw cash from ATMs.
Just some of the benefits of having a GoHenry account include:
- Managing pocket money and spending limits
- Assigning custom tasks for kids to complete
- Parents choosing where kids can use their GoHenry prepaid debit card
- Receiving instant spending notifications
- Freezing and unfreezing cards
- Setting saving goals
- Helping young people build financial literacy skills through in-app Money Missions
Use positive motivation
Rewarding positive behaviour is usually more effective and a greater motivator for kids than punishment or putting pressure on them. A study by University College London (UCL) found that young people are more responsive to rewards than punishments of equivalent value. In the study, volunteers aged 12 to 17 were asked to complete tasks where they had to pick between symbols. Each symbol was linked with a chance of reward, punishment or no outcome. During the study, the volunteers began to learn which of the symbols were likely to result in each outcome and adjusted their choices to accommodate this. The young people were good at learning to choose the symbols linked with a reward, but weren’t so successful at avoiding the symbols that were linked with punishment.
Rewards can range from warm verbal praise to treats and pocket money. Rewards can help young people understand the satisfaction and benefits of a good job well done. But if your child isn’t interested or motivated to do chores, rewards may not persuade them. If this sounds like your child, it may be helpful to inspire them to complete the task by helping them understand why it needs doing and how it will benefit them or others in the household. If the reasons line up with their own values, they'll likely feel more motivated to do their tasks.
You could try inspiring your child to operate more independently and take charge of fulfilling their responsibilities by showing them how completing a task can be enjoyable and rewarding.
Make chores more fun
We all feel more inclined to do something if it's enjoyable, and the same goes for chores. Making chores fun can make all the difference in helping your young people become more motivated to do their chores. It may require a little thought and creativity, but it'll be well worth the effort if it inspires your kids to get to work. Here are five ways to make chores more pleasant for your kids:
- Turn chores into a scavenger hunt game
- Play their favourite tunes or create a playlist
- Turn chores into a competition
- Work as a team
- Reward chores with pocket money.
Don't use chores as a punishment
If your child does something wrong, don't use chores as a consequence or punishment. You want your kids to approach chores positively and understand that chores are an expected responsibility. Assigning chores as punishment may result in your children developing negative associations with these types of tasks. They may see them as a form of punishment, even when they aren't, making it harder to get your kids to do their chores in the future.
Set a time limit for chores
Setting time limits for chores can be a good way of encouraging your child to get on with their chores and make them fun at the same time. For instance, set a timer to see how quickly they can complete a certain chore or challenge them to beat their previous time. This can make the chore seem like a game and more exciting.
Reward your kids for doing chores with GoHenry
It's quick and easy to open a GoHenry account, where you can set up regular pocket money transfers, create paid tasks and set spending limits. While your child can enjoy using their GoHenry prepaid debit card in shops, online, and at ATMs, they'll also have access to features like Money Missions, with games, videos, and interactive quizzes to help them build the foundations of financial knowledge.