How to inspire kids to do chores

Monday, January 11th, 2010
Make chores a way to feel valued and appreciated

Make chores a way to feel valued and appreciated

Chores and inspiration are not usually combined in the same sentence or thought. Even the word “chores” sounds like something to avoid. It is possible, however, to inspire children to take on specific assignments and even get their friends involved.

By creating an economy of  “household jobs” that assigns a point value to each job or task as outlined in the four steps below, you can give your child the opportunity to exercise some choice and learn new tasks – which for kids 15 years old and under is especially appealing:

1.      Inventory all household jobs. Create a list and assign points to each job. Be sure to include the jobs that the parents do (such as paying bills, etc.) and assign relative values so the kids can see   everything that goes into running the household.

2.      Set a Minimum Contribution For Points. Once you have each household job identified and valued, establish what each person is expected to contribute each week (or month) relative to the points that can be earned by completing each job. Let the children pick and choose the jobs (available to them) that they will do for the week or weekend. 

      Also, it is very important that you  are prepared to teach the kids new skills for jobs they aspire to learn.   This may take a little extra time and patience, but it’s worth it.

3.            Establish a Deadline. Once you have outlined the choices for tasks and the relative value of each, then establish when the jobs must be done. By setting a deadline, you are providing your child with a time limit to get their chosen assignments done and giving them the responsibility to manage their time accordingly. 

4.      Rewards and Consequences.  It is also important to up front establish some type of reward for doing the required number of points or exceeding them. If chil-      dren know they can earn something special (money, a specific desired item or event), and they have the opportunity to choose different jobs each week and learn some new skills, there will be little need for negative consequences. Often kids can be inspired by the freedom to choose jobs and to make a visible contribution. However, it is important to have a simple consequence    if the required number of points is not achieved.  The loss of a privilege or a treat would be appropriate. The main thing is that they are not discouraged. The aim is to keep them motivated about contributing to the household. 

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joanna-0071May all your “banana moments” be rewarding as well as challenging.

Joanna Jullien

Joanna married her high school sweetheart and over the  past 25 years they have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from UC Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture) and has over 20 years experience as a professional manager in information technology, manufacturing, energy and environment.  Joanna writes on parenting in the 21st century, as she has observed and personally experienced many strains on the parent-child relationship with the advent of the Internet, mobile phones and popular culture.

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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.