“How to get my child to help with chores around the house?”
If you’re like most families, chores are probably one of the most frequent causes of family disagreements. Children whine and complain, arguments break out, and nothing gets accomplished. Sometimes it feels like taking the trash out yourself would be much faster than arguing with your children about having them do it. When reframing chores, remember to set a good example. If you grumble about your responsibilities and family contributions, children will likely do the same. Instead of the fights, here are a few strategies you could try using a visual schedule.
- Chore Charts (Visual Schedules)
- Move tokens from right to left (move to the left when task is completed). Try to get all tokens moved over to get a reward!
Token boards serve as a tool and visual support to both the parents and the children.
First, you should identify:
- What criteria must the child meet to earn a token?
- e.g. wash dishes, take out the trash, feed the dog
- What reinforcers will you offer to the child? Provide choices to your child that will be realistically available when they complete their tasks. These will serve as their reward.
- e.g. 15 more minutes of TV time, a walk in the park, candy, etc.
- How many tokens will the child need to earn in order to trade for the reinforcer (reward)?
- e.g. The child has to earn 5 stars in order to gain access to the established activity or prize
If you are questioning what age-appropriate chores your child could help out with, here are a few age-appropriate examples:
Age Appropriate Chores
3 Years of age
- Assist in making their bed
- Picking up toys with supervision
- Putting dirty laundry in the laundry basket
- Help a parent clean spills
4-8 Years of age
- Set clothes out for the next day
- Pick up toys
- Make their bed
- Bring things from the car into the house
- Set the table
- Clean room
- Put away dishes from the dishwasher
8-11 Years of age
- Keep room clean
- Change bed sheets
- Be responsible for homework
- Wash dishes
- Clean mirrors
- Learn to use washer/dryer
- Take the trash can out to the curb
- Dust, vacuum, and clean bathrooms
12 years old and older
- Do assigned homework without prompting
- Prepare food
- Wash windows
Sarah Lenzi, RBT and Belinda Tirado, RBT
In the video below, RBT Belinda shares age-appropriate chores you can get your child involved in and shows how to use a visual token board (chore chart) to encourage them to help!