4 Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Help out Around the House
August 3, 2015
August 3, 2015
Written by: Flayk Beta Tester
My kids don’t usually need incentives to help out around the house. At 4, 6 and 8 years old they’ve learned that picking up their toys, feeding the dog, and emptying the dishwasher are their responsibilities. Everyone in the house has a job and they typically complete their chores on their own, no nagging required.
I can’t say always because last week Ava had a temper tantrum about cleaning up the Playdough, and Jacob refused to put the dishes away because he was too busy watching the hockey game, which I couldn’t turn off because dad was watching it too. Family management at its finest.
It’s times like these when I wish a magical nanny would fly in on an umbrella. When she doesn’t appear, I turn to these tips for motivating my kids to do their chores
1. Offer something good in return
Promising a reward for good behavior is a surefire way to get your kids moving. If you do “x,” I’ll give you “y” in return. I usually lean towards offering novelties as bonuses, as opposed to activities that are a part of our normal routine. For example, I would present ice cream as a reward, but not reading a book before bed. To me, reading is an important part of my kids’ lives and I wouldn’t want to use activities that encourage learning as bargaining chips.
2. Take away a prized possession
As much as I favor positive reinforcement over punishments, sometimes I simply can’t entice my kids to stay on track with a reward, which is when I suggest presenting a consequence. Perhaps they’ll lose the privilege of dessert, or maybe you can take away the tablet with their favorite games. The consequences don’t have to last forever, or even a day. Depending on their age, your family habits, and the size of the issue at hand, sometimes just an hour of no TV will do.
3. Make it seem like their choice
All you have to do to make this work is frame the proposition the right way: “Either you can pick up the Playdough and go to the park, or you can leave the table a mess and go to your time-out chair. It’s up to you.” Whether it’s a reward or a consequence, put the decision in their hands.
This method is not only empowering for your child, but also gives them a sense of responsibility over whichever action they choose. You know you have outlined the parameters, but they feel like they have the ability to shape their future.
4. Use Flayk
Flayk’s the best tool I’ve found to put all of these tactics into practice (even in the Beta stage). I previously used sticker charts with all my kids but now I’ve adopted Flayk for my 6 and 8-year olds, and my 4-year old can’t wait until she can use it.
I get to assign point values to each chore, and the kids can win more points for bigger jobs, like vacuuming the house. They know that with 50 points they can watch an extra episode of Sofia the First, or they can save up and redeem 100 points to pick out a new book for our library (what can I say, my kids love to read). It’s still up to them to decide if they want to do the chore or not, but they know if they do they’re one step closer to getting a reward.
With Flayk’s incentives, the odds are high that the kids will do their job, while at the same time I’ve encouraged independence and decision-making!