We’ve all been there:  You’ve asked your son or daughter to clean their room three hours ago, and somehow it still isn’t done.  Because children focus more on the drudgery of the chore than the result, they may drag their chores out or simply refuse to do them.  Getting your kids to help out around the house can be a chore of its own, but here are a few ideas to help encourage them.

Daily Chores:  You need to create a habit around chores, and not simply assign random chores at random times.  Giving your child a list of tasks that they are to complete every day around the same time (when they come home from school, perhaps) makes it more of a normal routine.  This also gives them the opportunity to become proficient at their chores, which will give them a sense of accomplishment.  Give them a new list every now and then when it’s time for them to learn new responsibilities.

Motivate:  Many parents have different ideas about whether or not they should pay their children to do chores.  While an allowance based on chores may work for some, others feel that kids should help around the house because they are part of the family.  There are many other ways that you can help motivate your children to do their tasks, such as not allowing TV time until they’re done or suggesting a trip to the park if they do their chores all week.

Team Cleaning:  When it’s possible, do your daily chores at the same time you expect your children to do theirs.  This will help them see that they aren’t the only ones working, and it will show them that taking care of the house is a family affair.

Tell Them Why:  Even if you get your children into a good chore time routine, they may not understand the importance of chores.  Kids don’t see the difference between a messy house and a clean house the same way adults do.  Explain to them that learning to do chores now will help them learn how to take care of their own home someday.

Offer a Free Day:  We all have days where we just don’t feel like cleaning, and your kids are no different.  Every now and then, give them a day where they are free from their chores.  Use this time to play a game or go on a family outing.  They will be grateful to have the break, and you’ll get quality family time.

The most important thing about chores is to do what works for your family.  Try different routines and see how well they fit in with your schedule and your lifestyle.  Be patient but firm at chore time.   Don’t overload them so that they don’t have time for homework as well as time to relax.  Soon enough, everyone will be helping out around the house!