5 Essential Tips to Get Kids to Work

Do you struggle with getting your kids to clean their room and do their chores? I have 5 Essential Tips to Get Kids to Work!

We often have the same Saturday struggle with the kids. We need to get kids to work on their chores so we can go have fun. The We tell them what they have to do and they refuse to do it!

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After some study and trial and error, we came up with the 5 Essential Tips to Get Kids to Work. There are always more things you do, but these are the ones that consistently worked the best. It isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun, but they results are so much better than shouting.

 1. Get Kids to Work by Working With Them

I hate this one. I wish I could tell my kids to clean up the loft then come up 10 minutes later and it would be done. That isn’t reality for most families. We have found that working alongside them drastically improves their productivity.

Get Kids to Work - Raking Family

By working with them we show my example what it means to work. We can also re-direct or assign specific tasks to be done. Cleaning up the loft might be too complex of a concept for young kids. They do much better giving direct instructions on immediate tasks. They put away the Xbox controllers, then come back for their next task.

You don’t have to be doing the task too. You might have your own work to do. Instead of leaving them to fend for themselves, find a task you can do near them. This rule does not only apply to their tasks, you can also invite the kids to help you with your tasks.

 2. Get Kids to Work by Defining Consequences

Consequences have such a negative connotation. Consequences align with our actions. Typically positive actions have positive consequences and negative actions have negative consequences. Orson Scott Card learned a lot about this when he had weed the tomatoes every Saturday.

Get Kids to Work - Making Bed

Be very clear what the expectations are and what will happen based on how they perform. Some consequences are natural and some consequences are institutional consequences. If the kids do not their laundry, a natural consequence might be that they will have to go to school in dirty clothes. An institutional consequence is one defined by you. You might have a fun day planned after the laundry is put away. Once they are done, they will be able to enjoy the positive consequence of joining in the day’s fun.

 3. Get Kids to Work by Finding Ways to Make it Fun

Not many kids enjoy work. Find out what your kids do enjoy and find a way to incorporate it into the household tasks. A big trend right now in adult learning is gamification. Check out this presentation on the Mormon Badges Project.

Sometimes we listen to music when we do chores. My boys love competition. Sometimes we give each of them a checklist. The winner gets something special. Give a lego piece to them for each task completed and they give them time to build something fun with the pieces they earn. It can even be as simple as a chart with stickers.

The main idea is that you are trying to add fun to an undesirable job. Get your children’s input on what you can do to make that happen.

 4. Get Kids to Work by Praising Their Accomplishments

Children crave your approval and attention. If they can’t get both, they will settle for one; attention. If your most common interactions during work time begin with the words “Stop/Don’t/Quit,” you can count on your children do more things to get that response. Show them there is a better way.

Praise your children for the good they do. If you tell your child to put their pillow on their bed and they go and do it, acknowledge it. The chance they will complete the next task you ask them to do drastically increases! Get Kids to Work - Workin on Toilet

Praising your kids for their accomplishments while cleaning will turn this loathsome battle into something they enjoy(ish).

 5. Get Kids to Work by Being Consistent

Are you start implementing these essential tips you will find out something, it takes work and you might not see results right away. If you tell the kids you will throw their toys away if they don’t clean them, you better throw those toys away! If you promise to take them to the park to play Pokemon GO if they clean their room, don’t find another reason to take them if they refuse to clean. (Even though I wrote about what a great bonding activity it is)

I really wanted ice cream one day so I told my boys, “everyone who cleans the room gets ice cream!” They were so excited, but not excited enough to actually clean. After I finished my own work, I went into their room and they were literally laying on the floor doing nothing. So I got the trash bag and cleaned up!

Get Kids to Work - Crying No Ice Cream

After I was done we all went to McDonald, but I only ordered one ice cream. It took them a moment to realize that there was only one cone, but three of us. I then reminded them that ice cream was only for those who cleaned the room. I was the only one who cleaned the room, so I was the only one who got ice cream.

Now it’s Your Turn!

Before you get too discouraged, just know that we did not learn this in a day. It has taken years of experience, reading, and asking awesome parents for advice. Still, once you learn these things, executing is a whole other matter! The next time you find yourself frustrated that chore time isn’t going as smoothly as it should, stop and look over this list and implement the things that are missing. If you need some more help, Tiffany Gee Lewis has 7 more things you can do to get kids to work.

Get Kids to Work - Happy Working

If this is working for you, let us know. I’d love to learn from your successes and failures! I’d also love to learn from your essential tips you have to get kids to work.

5 Essential Tips to Get Kids to Work - This Mormon Life