How To Get Your Kids To Help Around The House

So, how do you get kids to help out around the house? I wish there was a silver bullet or a series of bullet points that we could easily check off and be done with it, but in reality, there’s no simple answer to this question. Just a lot of trial and error and then once you get it, things change and you’re back to square one.

That’s why we’re better off just admitting that this thing called parenting is messy! Don’t try to clean it up, but do try to grow, enjoy the journey, and have a sense of humor. Do set an intention to bring back the peace and joy of parenting in your home.

Those of you who have taken the Parenting With Peace & Purpose Workshop will remember Hal Runkel’s Screamfree Parenting Principle #1:

Parenting Is Not About Kids, It’s About Parents

One of Hal’s key points is that parenting is not about trying to “fix your child” or find some technique that will work on your child. It’s about focusing on yourself, the only person you can control, and playing around with how you behave, what you say, the way you say it, your mind-set, and all of the things that are up to you.

Why should your children clean up? Should they clean up simply because you said so or because they live in your home rent free? Don’t we all wish! How can anyone get someone else to do what’s important? The answer lies somewhere in the land of “self-motivation.” How can we create an environment or situation that motivates them to clean? It’s a million dollar question for sure, and definitely something that is more of a process instead of a program. It takes intentionality and it takes time. It’s also about relationship and the quality of the relationship you have with your child.

Adopt A Mind-set

The first thing to notice is what mind-set you are in on this topic.  What lens do you see through?  Are you picking up after your kids and feeling resentful like a Cinderella? Are you the captain of your home ship leading the way? Or, do you see yourself as “the boss” making demands? When you think of the people you’ve worked for in the past, what type of boss motivated you to do the things you cared least to do? What tone of voice did this boss use? How did this boss approach you? How involved were you in deciding how it would get done?

Come up with a metaphor that describes a vision of who you want to be as a parent. Do you want to be Cinderella, CEO or somewhere in between? Things really shift when you start seeing your self as a parent leader or that “best boss” you had once. You set the tone and the rules. Start acting like the part of your parent that helped you flourish. Your energy, style and the mind-set you hold has a lot to do with whether or not your kid’s are helpful.

Decide What Matters Most & Make Helping Out Compelling

Peter Lencioni, in his book , The 3 Big Questions For A Frantic Family talks about the importance of creating a “Rally Cry.” Perhaps some of you are thinking, “yeah, I’ll give them a rally cry. I’ll just yell at them and then it will get done.” Some of you have tried this approach and you’re tired of being the one to nag or yell just to get action. You may get compliance in the moment, yet you never do anything positive for the relationship in the long run. If having your children help out around the house is important to you, then how can you put it out there in a way that compels the individual to rally around it?

  • Give them ownership of the task
  • Let them choose the timing
  • Let them choose the task
  • Involve them in the how, what and why

Get Tactical: Create “TO DO” and “TA DA” Lists

Another thing that helps – writing it down for them on a note card. My tweens clued me in on how that they didn’t know what to do and practically begged me to write it down for them.  Before I leave to run errands, I leave a note card on the table with a list of tasks that need to get done. If my children are present, I involve them in brainstorming this list and write their names down next to the tasks they choose to do. Then I have a separate column called “TA DA” where they get to check mark once the task is completed.

Keep It Simple and Explain “Give & Take” or the benefits of teamwork

We also talk about the natural “give and take” that’s part of the way our family runs. Let them know that “If you clean up after breakfast and take out the trash, I’ll have time to go shopping for those soccer cleats you need.” Talk about the natural give and take that we do as a family and point out how you (as a parent) will have more time to do what they want or need to do, if they work as a team to help you get priorities accomplished.

There’s so much more to say on this topic and I’d love to hear more about what works for you. Feel free to comment here or on my Facebook page at Rayanne Coy Coaching.

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