Getting Chores Done without Reminders and Without Pay

Getting Chores Done without Reminders and Without Pay

Many parents call us and ask for advice about how to handle their child’s struggle with homework and school. One solution that we suggest for this problem is chores, and parents are often puzzled by this response to a request for help with school!

There is a very good reason why we believe chores can help parents help their kids succeed academically as well as in life. Based on several decades of experience, it has become apparent to us at Love and Logic that kids who learn to complete their chores, without reminders and without pay, become much better students than those who don’t.

Love and Logic’s approach to chores is unique and requires commitment by parents to adhere to our recommendations for properly establishing chores for their kids. There are eight tips that form the foundation of Love and Logic’s approach for using chores successfully with kids. Parents must commit themselves to:

  • Believing that chores are more important than homework, sports, music lessons, or anything else.
  • Ensuring that chores be completed without warnings and reminders.
  • Insisting that chores be completed without pay.
  • Teaching kids exactly what is expected.
  • Giving a chore without saying, “Do it now!” and giving a deadline instead.
  • Remembering to avoid giving reminders.
  • Resisting the urge to become a cheerleader when kids do their chores.
  • Letting the consequences, wrapped in sincere empathy, do the teaching.

In addition to these tips, Love and Logic’s ABCs of chores will help parents establish chores for everyone in the household. When kids see that chores are for everyone, and that their parents are modeling how to do chores, they are more likely to be successful with their own chores. Here are Love and Logic’s ABCs of chores:

A: Assign every member of your family some meaningful contributions.
Many parents find it helpful to post a list on the refrigerator door, complete with names next to each contribution. Caution: Don’t say, “Do it now.” This will just create power struggles. Instead, allow them to have a deadline for each contribution.

B: Be quiet.
Avoid reminding or nagging. Remember that kids who must be nagged into doing their chores will also need to be nagged into doing their schoolwork and homework.

C: Consequences preceded by sincere empathy will do the teaching.
When their children refuse to do their chores, forget to do them, or do them haphazardly, many parents find it helpful to complete the chore for their children and then expect them to repay the time and energy expended to accomplish those contributions. Sometimes this means doing extra chores for the parent. Sometimes this means staying home or doing without some privilege so that the parent has time to rest and relax. Other times this means paying the parent or a professional to do the job.

As with all Love and Logic techniques, the key to success with chores hinges on sincere empathy! Remember that anger and frustration create resentment, while sincere empathy creates responsibility.

More details about these tips for helping kids learn how to do chores can be found in our book, From Bad Grades to a Great Life! Unlocking the Mystery of Achievement for your Child.


Thanks for reading!

Dr. Charles Fay

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