Chore time used to be anything but happy time at our house. My kids would kick up the worst possible fuss because chores always seemed to take them away from the things that they’d rather be doing. Our kids would often try to dodge chores by feigning an all-too-convenient stomachache or headache, or an “Awww, Mom, I’ve got way too much homework to do the dishes tonight.”
Most of us parents face this problem at some point in our child’s lives. It seems that practically overnight our kids turn from being Mommy or Daddy’s Big Helper to a surly tween or teen that’s allergic to chores. Here’s just a few ways that we made chores fun for our tweens and teens; perhaps one of these ideas will work for you.
Making chores fun through bribery. OK, I’m not too proud to admit to bribery. Our kids never received an allowance for the chores they were supposed to do, but were paid a fair rate for chores above and beyond the call of duty. These un-fun chores including things like cleaning the fridge, mucking out the garage, turning over sod for a new garden, or some task that I really didn’t feel like doing myself.
The kids negotiated a flat fee for the job which they were rewarded upon completion. The money wasn’t much (usually between $5-$15 depending on the scope of the job) but made a huge difference in making chores fun. It also taught them some valuable life lessons in money management and entrepreneurship.
Making chores fun by issuing school credits. When my teens started high school, we made chores fun through the use of a credit system. A credit was earned by 10 minutes of chores and was the equivalent of $1. If the kids wanted hot lunch (instead of a sack lunch), school merchandise, city bus passes, or activity fees, they had to earn the credits before we ponied up the cash. This method of earning “credits” for school stuff was popular with all three of my kids and made chore time more fun. For families with young children, a credit system like ours could be used to “earn” a trip to the zoo, a movie, or amusement park, or some other fun activity that kids would enjoy.
Making chores fun by entering produce and animals at the fair for prize money. Because we live on an urban farm, many of the chores my kids have to do center around vegetable gardening, harvesting, food preservation and animal care. After a full season of urban farming, I’d let my kids pick produce, flowers, herbs, the prettiest chicken, or largest zucchini to show at the fair. Not only did my tweens and teens win ribbons and cash prizes, but the idea of earning even more money next year was a great incentive to continue helping in the yard.
It can be tough to make chores fun for kids of all ages, but especially tweens and teens. By this age, they’ve realized (like all of us have) that chores just aren’t much fun without some sort of reward when the job is done. By providing them with an incentive such as cash or credits, your kids will discover that chore time isn’t so bad after all.