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Make Chore Time Fun!


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It took me YEARS to figure out how to get my children to do their fair share around the house. It was a tiresome process, and is still a work-in-progress, but it is important to me that my kids understand that as members of the family they have a responsibility to contribute to the smooth running of the household.

Parenting Tricks To Make Chore Time Fun

In an effort to keep myself sane and the dream of a quiet retirement visiting my children in their own, clean homes alive, I have tried a lot of different parenting tricks to make chores less of a “chore” for my kids. In fact, some of these strategies are considered FUN by my kids. Here are the things that have worked for us to make chore time fun.

  • Set A Timer – For some reason, when I send my kids upstairs to clean their rooms, the task ends up taking hours. They make much faster progress if I set a time limit (typically 10-15 minutes). In addition to cleaning rooms, we’ve had success with the timer method when weeding, decluttering, and wiping down walls or cabinet doors.
  • Turn On Music – We all know how important music can be in establishing the right mood for an event. Perk up your little workers with some fun, upbeat music. Even if it doesn’t work, at least you won’t be able to hear their whining over the music.
  • Sock Match – My least favorite chore is matching up socks since there are usually dozens of them and they rarely come through the laundry cycle in pairs (apparently my children put one shoe in their hamper and then hide the other one under their bed). Since kids love playing matching games this is one chore you can hand off to them and act like you are doing THEM the favor by providing a fun activity for them.
  • Set Up A Junk Jail – My house is not the land of a million chances to get things right. After the kids have assured me they have finished cleaning their rooms and picking up all of their toys and belongings around the house, I do a sweep of the house to find any missed items. If I find something that didn’t get picked up, it goes into “junk jail.” In order to get the item back, the offender must perform an EXTRA chore.
  • Pair Up – Some things are just more fun when you have company and chores is one of those things. If your kids spend more time squabbling with one another than working together when paired up, you can have each child pair up with a parent. We use this strategy a lot. My middle son and daughter pair up to unload the dishwasher. My daughter puts away all of the dishes that go in upper cabinets and her younger brother puts away everything that goes in drawers or lower cabinets.
  • Buy Fun Tools – I don’t know why, but my kids don’t complain about the chores that involve using a “fun” tool.
    • Carpet Cleaning Powder – For some reason, vacuuming all of a sudden becomes fun if I sprinkle some carpet cleaner on our rugs. They love vacuuming up the powder and I believe they do a more thorough job since it usually takes several swipes over each spot to pick up all the powder.
    • Swiffer Dusters – My kids are fascinated by these “magical” wands that mysteriously whisk away dust.
    • Swiffer Broom/Mop – My teenage daughter actually started volunteering to sweep when we bought a Swiffer SweeperVac. And all of my children fight over who gets to use the Wet Jet. Unfortunately, I haven’t convinced any of them that the Clorox Toilet Wands are fun and magical.
    • Wipes  – This is another tool whose appeal to my children I don’t understand, but I don’t care because they get my kids to clean! Arm my kids with multipurpose wipes, furniture wipes, glass cleaning wipes, and electronics wipes and my house is sparkling in no time. Warning: This can be a pricey way to get things done unless you control the number of wipes used. Also, homemade wipes do NOT have the same appeal (unless you sneak them into recycled wipe containers).
  • Make A Chore Jar – I’ve seen a cute one on Pinterest that uses popsicle sticks. You write one chore on each popsicle stick. Each day or week, your kids draw sticks at random. We haven’t used this system in our own family for regular chores. Instead, we have a Consequence Jar that has chores written on scraps of paper. The kids have to draw a random slip of paper whenever they violate one of the house rules.
Consequence Jar
  • Use Chore Charts – There are tons of options for chore charts. We have used dry erase board charts, chore list paper pads, laminated chore lists, and a chore binder. We’ve recently started using My Job Chart because it’s a fun, free way for us to keep track of chores and rewards. To read more about it, click here. It doesn’t matter what system you use, as long as it works for you and your family.

These are the things that work for us, some more than others. Hopefully some of them will for your family too.

34 thoughts on “Make Chore Time Fun!”

  1. These are really great tips. I think I will start using the timer for my daughter, something that should take her about 30 minutes always ends up taking her about 2 hours.. Great idea.

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  2. That’s a great suggestion about the timer! We definitely suffer from the one chore takes twice as long as it should syndrome! Thanks for the tip!

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  3. Chore charts work well, we also use goal charts for bigger items. We’ve used them since the kids were tiny to teach them to save money for unnecessary items like school book orders, but they could also be used for something fun…. check off boxes until you get to the end which might mean a game with mom or a trip to get ice cream.

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  4. this is a great idea for my kdis. Right now, we have 4 ages 6-14, and they can help each other doing chores. I guess I had been very easy on them. If they want rewards, they need to earn it 🙂

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  5. This is really wonderful idea, instead of those no fun chores why not do something that will work with the kids and make them happy after doing the task too.

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  6. That’s a work in progress at our household too. Sometimes I get tired of telling them but stickers which later converts into cash works for us here as rewards for chores being done.

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  7. Wonderful tip! I use the timer with my 3 year old and it works most of the time. It seems to make it more of a fun challenge for her 🙂

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  8. Great tips! My boys, 5 and 3, love to “clean” the windows as long as they get to spray the Windex. Whenever it is time to vacuum they fight to see who will set it up…and once I turn it on we play: I chase them with the vacuum while the run around screaming like maniacs!

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  9. For several years I used a chore chart on my fridge.. it has plastic cards that you put sticker on for various chores.. hang up jacket, do homework, put away toys… it had some blank ones we were able to personalize as well.. the board has hooks one different categories like Morning, Afternoon Evening, etc… at the bottom of the board there was a holder to put the cards in. It was designed to make the child responsible for the chores… After they did one, the found the proper card and placed it in the holder at the bottom. At the end of the day we would review what cards were in the holder and he was awarded “chits” for each completed. If he didn’t do the chores or didn’t put the cards in the holder, he didn’t get credit. At the end of the week we counted his chits and he was given an allowance based on what he completed. Now he is older and I am looking for a way to make it interesting for him

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    • Lisa, this sounds like a great system! Do you happen to have it pinned on Pinterest? Or do you have pictures? I’d love to see it!

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  10. Awesome ideas! I know that I always clean faster and better (less grumpy too) if there is music on!

    For young kids you can use the music as a timer! Clean for one song, play for a song, clean for a song…my daughter does pretty well with this method and there is no question of when she is expected to clean. It also helps that she has a clear cut time on cleaning and doesn’t seem overwhelmed.

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    • Becca, that is a great idea. I’m trying it this weekend (we do our weekly chores on Saturday). Thanks for the idea!

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  11. I’ve used the timer for years! Love it!!!

    Our newest plan (my oldest is now 19) is the simplest and most effective yet. I made a checklist of all chores to do for the week. Whoever does the chore initials the box next to it. If they ask to do something and haven’t done chores, I simply point to the list and remind them that privileges come with contribution. No kidding — all three of my kids voluntarily weeded flower beds yesterday. 🙂

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  12. I love all of your fun tips for chores. I really like the unique idea of the chore jar, that is a great one! I love the jar too it is really cute.

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  13. I have used several of these tips for years too and have found they really work. I can’t believe how much it has helped since I got a Swiffer Mop. My son is happy to mop now!

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  14. When we were kids, we used to play games to see which person did which chore. We had so much fun at it that all the chores got finished.

    I love you jar of chores…

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  15. Really great tips! I am always amazed at how much gets done when you set a timer. My daughter is grown now, but I still use a timer for myself!

    Reply

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