An Answer to the Chores Problem

We’d all like our children to be considerate, hard working and happy to help others. We’d especially like them to be willing to help out with the chores. Maybe we also hope they’ll be generous, to go beyond what they have to do, to be self-giving without counting the cost.

But this doesn’t just happen because we desire it. Most of us have got frustrated at one time or another because our kids don’t want to help around the house.

So what’s the answer? Obviously,  we have to do something. Do we draw up chore rosters or put together a reward system? Could we make a game out of chores?  Do we threaten to take away privileges if our kids fail to do their work? Or do we get fed up with the whole situation and yell: “I want you to help and I want you to help right now!”

Or perhaps there’s another answer to the chore problem.

I explore the topic of chores in my video, An Answer to the Chore Problem.



I hope you’ll watch and then stop by and share your thoughts on how to encourage kids to help with the chores!

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  1. Reply

    I really liked this explanation. I think one reason people worry about the idea of joyfully serving their children is that they think the kids won’t pitch in and help ever. One of the things you actually do is to ask for help when you need it. And now your kids pitch in when they see you need help without being asked.

    I know a woman who had five kids, and she did all the chores for her kids and the kids grew up really not doing the chores. Her eldest daughter got married and literally didn’t know how to heat up a can of soup, let alone how to clean the house. I think that’s what people are afraid of ending up with, and I’ve been thinking for a while about why that didn’t happen to you, or to me. What’s the difference? That mother was trying for sacrificial love, too.

    I think the difference was that she wasn’t open to her kids helping. I didn’t know her when her kid were small, so I can only guess. I also think that having your kids home makes a big difference: kids at home mean more messes and more Mom time – the kind of help you were talking about. Her kids went to school, and I think she did most of the chores while they were gone.

    At any rate, I can vouch for your method, my kids do help a lot without being asked and are pretty cheerful when asked. I do have a chore roster as part of my organizational strategy, but the kids like to steal each other’s jobs to surprise each other! 🙂

    1. Reply


      I’ve been thinking a lot about why your children and mine have responded to our sacrificial style of parenting while other mothers report a different outcome. And I think you’re right that it has helped that we spend lots of time with our kids.

      I do like your idea about being open to accepting our kids’ help. Perhaps we don’t realise how often we put our kids off and don’t allow them to help when they are willing. I often have to remind myself to let my kids do things for me instead of trying to be independent. I don’t think we let our friends help us enough either. We’re too quick to say, “I’m okay, thank you” when some help would actually make a difference.

      I think the answer to the chores problem is quite complicated. Feeling connected to our kids is essential. Strong bonds of love. Emphasising we love doing things for our kids because it’s a sign of our love for them. Helping cheerfully. Maybe not giving kids the impression we’re only helping because we want them to do the same in return? It’s hard analysing everything, isn’t it? I just know my answer works for us!

      My kids organised their own chore roster and they do the same as your kids: They also steal each other’s jobs. I love that! The roster is really only a way of summarising what needs doing each day. Anyone can do the chores. They don’t really belong to the person assigned to them. Maybe the success of a roster is in who writes it and how it is put into action.

      Lovely to chat with you!

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