25 August, 2009


I'm in need of some parenting advice from you lovely people! K? So comment. Or else. :D

Punk is 8, which I think is plenty old enough to be taking care of her own messes, plus helping around the house a little. I've given her some chores that she is supposed to do every weekend when she is here. They are:

Friday - put away clean clothes & unload or load the dishwasher
Saturday - clean Turbo's litter box & take a bath or shower [she has big issues with this; that's a whole other blog post]
Sunday - straighten the living room & clean her room

If she gets all of her chores done, she gets $3. If she doesn't get them done, she doesn't get to watch TV the next weekend. Are these chores too much to ask? Do you think I'm trying to get her to do too much? Am I not paying enough, or enforcing too hard? All in all, it takes about 20-30 minutes to do each day. No matter what I do, I CANNOT get her to do these things without having to yell. If I say in a nice way, "Please go do your chores" or "Why don't you go get your chores taken care of so you don't have to worry about it later?", I get ignored. Unless I get mean about it, nothing ever gets done. Every weekend that she's done all of her chores, it's been because I or Dad got mad with her and made her do it. If they all get done, I always buy her something special [a couple of weekends ago, it was a Hannah Montana notepad], plus she gets $3 to spend any way she wants to. Is that not incentive enough?

What am I doing wrong? I absolutely hate having to be mean, but if I don't get mean with her, none of it gets done. I'm not so strict on some of them [like the dishwasher, the cat box or the living room] but the other things are things I feel she should be doing no matter what, because it's her messes. Am I being too uptight about it?

For those with kids around that age, what do you require your kids do to help around the house? And what do they get for it? I am desperate for advice, because I'm so sick of having to be a bitch about it!


  1. Hi Kendahl! I have a hard time getting my kids to do their jobs too. I've found with my kids that they sometimes need help getting started with their jobs. I also think that every child is different so it's hard to say what works and what doesn't. Does she have jobs she has to do at her mom's house? Maybe compared to those ones, yours are too much. You and Dad can also sit down with her and talk to her about how she needs to help out. Make a list together of things that need to be done and let her pick with ones she does each weekend. Make some of them mandatory like cleaning up her room and showering. As for the showering, she might just have issues with it. My daughter didn't like showering because the water always got in her eyes. Someone suggested goggles. So now, no fussing at shower time. I hope all of this helps!

  2. 8 years old is definitely an acceptable age to have them help around the house. Carol is absolutely correct, the motivator for each child is so different that it takes a lot of trial & error to find what motivates each kid.

    I would greatly caution against "bigger" incentives, as you begin to set standards of epic proportions. When you have small tasks or behavior to encourage you can offer something small, 4-5 blue M&M's for completion (something small, but immediate). But what many parents get trapped into is offering bigger reward for small things. Then when the task is larger, the prize has to be proportionately greater to motivate them. Before you know it, they're getting new game systems, puppies, or a pony for the smallest task.

    Immediacy is key with kids. Do this now, get this now. A daily treat, or small allowance (50 cents a day, vs. $3 at the end of the week means more) because they can make the direct correlation between what they did and the immediate reward for that behavior.

    Stay firm, but keep it positive. A child in fear will always do the opposite of what you ask. Even if it is just fear of being yelled at.

  3. Okay, I'm here to throw you a bone!

    So, this is how it goes in my house...you don't do anything until your chores are done. They can then make the choice to ruin their entire day doing absolutely nothing (no tv, games, friends, phone calls, toys, maybe...even dinner) until their jobs are done OR they can get them done in as little as 20 minutes. There is no reason to scream or yell...you just kindly say this is how it's going to work and you can decide. When she complete's her chores give her lots of praise, tell her that she is so helpful, tell her that she did a great job, tell her that the room looks great! But, be sincere. She may try to be stubborn the first few times...but she will eventually get insanely bored and hungry and realize you're serious. Be consistent and don't ever scream and yell.

    So, funny thing...I just did a huge post on this topic today on my blog...get more ideas here: http://www.oneshetwoshe.com/2009/08/kids-chores-must.html.

    Good luck! Let me know how it goes!


  4. I'm not a mom of bigger kids yet, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I think she's seeing the money as an "oh well" kinda thing. Don't pay her in the first place. If she doesn't do what you say when you say it, take away whatever is precious to her right then, not next weekend. She's unable to think about not having t.v. that far away, it's not registering. I would help her with her room or make some sort of checklist for her. I don't wanna blame ADD here, but I was an undiagnosed inattentive ADD kid and even at 14 was unable to properly clean my room. Too overwhelming to be told to just clean your room and too many things to catch my attention to finish the job. Breaking down each step makes it easier. And I think most kids find checklists fun.

    Maybe have her make up her own chores you approve of. My mom did this and all laundry was my main chore in the house--cleaning, folding, putting up everyone's clothes.

  5. I forgot to say one more thing...I don't make my kids do there jobs first thing in the morning when they wake up. I know that if someone did that to me...I would be really grouchy. I like to take the mornings a little easy...make breakfast, check my email, etc. Then I get going started with all my laundry, dishes, and daily stuff. I think kids are the same way so in the mornings I let them watch a couple cartoons, eat breakfast, and just spend some happy time with me. THEN...I tell them it's time to start doing their jobs and if they don't they won't be doing anything else the rest of the day. I think that way you don't come off as so militant and a huge meanie pants. I think it should always be an option that they can do their jobs first thing...but, don't start hounding them the minute they wake up. Let them have adjust to the day first....

    That's all! I'll stop now!

  6. I think what you're doing is better than what my mom made me do. She didn't make me do any cleaning, and she wasn't the best example herself, not that she's dirty but there were definitely big piles of papers on the kitchen table and the dishes would pile up because we didn't have a working dishwasher. I don't know when she started yelling at me to clean my room, I don't think til I was older. But now, without an example and never having to have done chores, I'm a messy person...very messy. It's an organized mess but to the untrained (anyone else's) eye, it's a mess. But definitly monetary incentives is the way to go, and make sure she get's that incentive when she does what she's supposed to. When I got older (13-15ish) my mom would say "well maybe if you actually vacuumed, I would pay you" but anytime I vacuumed I never got paid.

    Anyways, I think you're doing fine, hope this helps somewhat!

  7. Wow you have had some really great advice leaving me with only one thing to repeat..stay calm and dont scream at her. Love and respect go hand in hand. Its hard to love when there is no respect, and if there is no respect, there is no love than can be given or felt. I am guessing her own mother yells at her a lot with the response that you are getting. Trying being the better person and working from a different angle. I promise it will all pay off.

  8. My little one hasn't hit that age yet, but even at 5, he's expected to help with different things around here.

    I would suggest a chore chart with stickers. That way she can see what needs done/how much she has done. A lot of kids do better with visuals. Maybe after so many stickers (or filling up a row) she gets a special treat.

    I agree with others, stay calm if you can. Make it into a game instead of a chore. Time her, see how fast she can get done. Make up a silly song. Anything so that it doesn't feel like work.

    I hope that helps!

  9. I think the best advice was what Mariel said. You make them responsible. You don't beg or nag or shout. That gives them the "power". State the facts and the punishment and say something like "Punk it is your decision. You can pick getting your chores done or not having any of the normal privileges" I also would make the punishment immediate,I wouldn't wait until the next visit. Tell her what time of the day you would like it done by and if she hasn't done it. Shut everything down.

    If she does it, instill self confidence in her by saying something like.
    "You should be you proud of yourself for getting all that done"
    Or "You should give yourself a pat on the back for all you got accomplished today" or "You made a very mature decision, you should feel good about that"

    It makes them feel good about themselves and hopefully that feeling will make them want to do things.

  10. Chores are just that...a chore to get children to do them. If I bribe Van with money it works like a charm. For the most part she is really big help, but her new fav thing to say is "Mom, I quit!" and then she starts to giggle.
    My hubbs does a great job getting her to do things, because he does threaten her with the loss of TV as well.

  11. I think chores are great for kids to learn responsibility and money management. I have been reading a book called "How to have a NEW kid by Friday" Got it for my two little ones. It has some really interesting advice you might want to try. YOU say it once and only once. No yelling, fighting etc. They are aware there will be consequences. Right? When they don't do as asked, follow through. NO tv, treats, money etc. Every time. Next time they want to buy or go do something. NO, because you are not doing your chores. My step-kids have NO chores and never have. they are 12. I would love to get them to do chores. They have been in a phase that if we make them do something they don't want to do, they call mom crying and mad at us and want to go home (we are mean). She calls my hubby and says we are being too hard and need to change our ways. UUGGHHHHH.


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