Father’s Day didn’t become official until the mid 1960s. It was inspired by a daughter whose dad, a Civil War veteran, had raised his 6 children all alone after his wife died in childbirth. When the daughter became an adult, she recognized all her dad’s hard work and devotion and suggested the holiday.
Today, dads still support their families by going to work each day. Along with this is the additional responsibility of “The List,” or things to do around the house after work or on the weekends.
Dad, wouldn’t you like to boost the odds your children would be more cooperative around the house? Help out more with the daily chores of running a household? Without being bossy or demanding, sometimes you need their help to get things done. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend more of your weekend doing fun activities with your family rather than the “drill sergeant” approach of ranting, badgering or keeping on their case until the chores are finished?
Here are 6 tips to get kids to help you with chores right away:
Tip # 1: Make sure you do a good job of helping your kids when they ask you.
This doesn’t mean you jump up every time kids ask a question or interrupt you. But it does require you to follow through on promises. Did they ask for your opinion on a report they wrote or project they completed? Have they asked for a bit of coaching on some technique in the sport they play? Can they count on you for some special one-on-one time without siblings interrupting or your cell phone ringing? Lead by example. When you are available for them, they will want to be available for you.
Tip # 2: Make certain they have something they really like and value.
This is their collateral. It could be some technology or even a standing privilege to do something maybe younger siblings aren’t allowed to do. At any rate, at some later date, losing this
item or privilege can be used as an effective consequence. You also decide when, if and how they get it back.
Tip # 3: Look forward to them either refusing or “forgetting” to do something you
asked them to do.
Don’t worry; this “absentmindedness” (not really absentmindedness, more like just ignoring you and
seeing if they can get away with it) will be dealt with in a loving way soon enough. The reason you want your child to “forget” is that you want them
to make a mistake. Kids learn through mistakes. Anticipate a good learning opportunity in the near
Tip # 4: In a calm and respectful tone of voice, ask them to do something for you “right now.”
“Oh, Matt, the garbage is getting a bit stinky. Could you take it outside now?”
“Amy, I just heard the dryer go off. Now could you remove the clean clothes, fold them, and
put them away?”
Tip # 5: When they refuse or “forget,” let them think they got away with something.
Don’t say anything. This will be challenging, but “bite your lip” and keep quiet. Why? Your child has given you a perfect opportunity to teach them a consequence because of their poor decision. When you say something like “Didn’t I tell you to…?” or “How many times do I have to tell you?” These comments annoy your child, put them on the defensive, and they end up seeing you as the bad guy. Of course this isn’t logical; they are the ones who chose to ignore you and not do their chores. But when you come after them with lectures and nagging, all it does is put their brain into a fighting mode and they transfer the blame to you, the parent, instead of owning up to their irresponsibility.
Tip # 6: Later (the same day or a few days later), make a comment about the ignored chore and how sad this made you feel.
“This is so sad. I love you so much. I do [insert examples of the things you do for them such as cooking, shopping, driving them around] for kids
who help me quickly when I ask them to. When you don’t do them it makes me sad and drains my energy. I’m not feeling energized enough to [insert a favor] for you now.”
When they protest, ask if they would like a suggestion as to what would give you energy to feel more willing to help them out. Offer several chores for them to do right at that moment. If they do, great! You may now suddenly feel energized enough to do something for them. Or, you might still be too tired and they can try again tomorrow.
“I love you, but I’m really sad. I’ve noticed that you don’t think it important to help me when I ask you to do things right away. It is so sad because it shows me you aren’t ready to [mention a privilege noted in Tip #2], so that item or privilege is lost.”
When they protest, use the same process of offering suggestions to earn back your energy as stated above.
What does this process train your child to realize?
- Dad has his own list of responsibilities. But I am important and he makes time for me.
- When I don’t do my chores it makes my dad sad. And that makes me sad.
- I have privileges. When I don’t follow through with responsibilities, I can lose them.
- When I blow it, I’m the one who made myself sad.
- Next time when asked to do something right away, I will do it because I know Dad means business!
Enjoy this creative idea for a gift for Dad:
- Select a fun container that matches his personality:
- Metal lunchbox
- Portable, small, cooler chest
- Tool or tackle box Portable, small, barbecue grill or hibachi
- Large flower pot
- Have the kids decorate it will stickers or colored markers
- Fill with treats that match the theme.
- Metal lunchbox: gift card from his favorite coffee place, individual packs of almonds, sunflower seeds, trail mix
- Portable, small, cooler chest: Sport drinks, different flavored waters, protein bars and a new water bottle
- Tool or tackle box: New tools or fishing gear
- Portable, small, barbecue grill or hibachi: new barbecue utensils, bag of mesquite wood chips, funny apron
- Flower pot: veggie or flower seeds, new gardening tools
- Ice bucket: favorite wine or beer/ cheese/ pretzels/ coupons for pizza or pizza delivery
Janada Clark teaches Love and Logic at Stanford and public and private schools. Her parent education classes are a well respected resource for parents. Class information is listed on her website www.janadaclark.com If you would like to receive a free monthly parent newsletter with lots of parenting tips and ideas email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her Facebook community where parents post success stories and questions at facebook.com/ clearpatheducation