At first glance, helping with housework doesn't sound like the most enjoyable task, so it’s completely normal to want to find inventive ways to get your children interested in doing chores.
Of course, we know that every household and family is different. While these tips might help some people, they might not be right for your children or your family – and that’s entirely fine. Everyone finds their own way of introducing tasks or housework to their kids. If you think some of this advice is halfway right for your family, take inspiration and adapt it to your needs.
Learn and explain the benefits of chores to help your kids understand
There are many benefits of giving children chores. Chores can help your children understand how a household is managed and how much work it can be. It may even give your children a great sense of pride and accomplishment when they complete a task. Chores can also help develop a sense of teamwork, building empathy, confidence, and social skills.
Introducing chores is a great way for parents to teach their children how to clean and take care of minor household repairs. However, you, as the parent or guardian, know best what your child is ready to handle. While an average ten-year-old might be able to handle sweeping a floor, you may decide to wait until your children are teens before asking them to help you prepare dinner. Your children might be able to handle different levels of chores entirely and you'll know what's right for them. If you introduce chores to your children, these lessons can stay with them into their adult lives.
Introduce chores early
Introducing chores early can make it easier to get children into the habit of helping out around the house. Of course, if you want to do this, it means finding tasks that your child can complete from a young age. For example, think about what chores a six-year-old could do, such as tidying their bedroom, putting clothes away and putting out clothes for the next day.
If you can encourage your child to do chores from a young age, you may want to also increase the complexity of tasks they help with over time. This will keep them from getting bored, help them learn a broader range of skills for the future, and make introducing more complex chores easier later.
Make chores a part of everyone’s daily routine
Making chores a part of the daily household routine can make your kids realise that everyone does them, they’re a part of everyday life, and help them get used to doing chores.
It can also make your children feel included – if they think everyone else is having fun while doing chores, they might want to become a part of that routine. Routines can be especially beneficial for neurodivergent children, though this varies from person to person. Doing things together is a great way to bond as a family.
Making chores a regular part of the daily routine means everyone can enjoy their time off more, knowing that there are fewer chores that need to be done.
Make doing chores fun
With children, it can be beneficial to find ways to make chores more fun, which will keep them motivated. If you want to encourage your children to help with chores, this can be the difference between embracing chores or trying to avoid them.
There are lots of different ways to make chores more fun. For example, you may want to turn chores into a game. If you want to encourage your child to tidy away their soft toys, you could encourage them to throw the toys into a basket as if they were playing basketball - you may even play with them and keep score to see who gets the most points. Put on some energetic music and dance around while doing chores. Before you know it, your kids may be used to doing chores without even thinking about it.
Lots of children enjoy spending time with their parents, guardians and siblings, so you could encourage the whole household to work on chores together. For example, one person can pick up shoes while the other sweeps the floor behind them. Family time can encourage people to enjoy chore time more, and it's a great way to strengthen your bonds.
Motivate your kids to do chores
Motivating your children to do housework can seem difficult. Truth be told, everyone has bad days or days when they don’t want to do chores. The best thing to do is to kindly motivate your children by offering rewards, giving them a pep talk, or making it as fun as possible. Sometimes, it's ok if your child doesn't feel up for doing tasks. As long as you try to keep it fun, they'll be more likely to feel motivated in the long run.
Offer a reward system for doing chores
Some people are more reward-focused than others but most like a reward for a job well done. Kids are often no different. Rewarding kids for doing chores may be that extra encouragement they need to complete their chores list. The rewards you pick can be anything – a high five, an extra ten minutes playing before bedtime or whatever you feel is appropriate.
Financial rewards are another option. If you want to reward your children for doing chores with pocket money, GoHenry allows you to set paid tasks. Once your child has finished a paid task, you can tick it off, and the GoHenry app will automatically pay this out on their weekly pocket money day.
Of course, not all parents choose to reward chores financially, and that’s fine. If you do choose to reward chores with pocket money, our Youth Economy Report shows that it’s not the amount of money that matters. Instead, children benefit from having a regular pocket money amount, which helps them learn how to budget. GoHenry's in-app Money Missions can help your child learn about money basics such as budgeting, savings, and more. Your child can watch videos and take fun quizzes to learn more money skills.
Interestingly, GoHenry’s Youth Economy Report highlights that seven in ten (71%) young people believe that it’s important to earn their own money. GoHenry can help support you on your journey to setting up pocket money for your children with paid household tasks.
Set realistic goals and expectations
Above all, remember to set realistic goals when introducing chores to your children. You know your kids best, and you know what they can handle. It’s fine if your children can’t do the same chores as the neighbour’s kids.
A great way to pick realistic chores is to show your child how to do the chore the first time and ask them to show you what they remember. Everyone makes mistakes and it's a great time to teach your child that mistakes are ok.
Don't push your children into doing tasks they can't do and remember to give them lots of positive encouragement when they've done a good job.
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and we should celebrate that. If you don’t think your kids are ready to help with chores, or if you don’t want to introduce chores to them yet, that’s okay too.