Getting children to do chores can be exhausting and often ends in more frustration than its worth. With a little planning this does not have to be the case. Child and teen development specialist Dr. Robyn Silverman has a few recommendations. First, they are not chores, but “contributions”, and all family members contribute to the well being of the family. Here are what are called the four “Cs” that will help improve the struggle and get kids to contribute cheerfully.
In my home, we don’t have chores. We have family contributions. Family contributions make the family home run smoothly. Semantics? Not exactly! Chores feel like jobs-contributions feel like helping.
When we do our family contributions we get to do all the fun things that we have planned for the week. When we don’t do them, there are natural consequences. You don’t make your bed? No problem! But you can’t go to your friend’s house until you do. Toys not out away? Doesn’t bother me! But those coveted toys get put into an off limits box until your children are ready to put them back into their place.
If you want to use contributions in your home instead of chores, don’t compensate children for contributing. Compensation makes contributions into work. You can still provide an allowance to your children, just don’t connect it with what they do to contribute to your family household. You can pay them for work that they do above and beyond what is expected-like cleaning out the attic or organizing the pantry. After all, do you get paid for what you do at home?
Many children work best when everything is spelled out for them. A contract details what the children are being asked to do, how this helps the family, and the consequences for neglecting to do their contributions.
I believe all these C’s bring about a very important fifth C and that is character development. What parent doesn’t want to instill more character in their children?