How to Motivate Your Kids to Help with Housework

Getting your kids to help with housework not only keeps your home cleaner, it also teaches them values and skills that will serve them well in the future.
How to Motivate Your Kids to Help with Housework
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Motivating children to help with housework is a challenge families face every day. Often, parents choose to do all the household chores themselves in order to avoid conflict with their kids.

However, helping with housework can be a useful tool for teaching children important values and skills.

Help with housework: benefits for kids

According to philosophy and education sciences expert Joseph Knobel, having children help with household chores is highly important. The reason: these are the first responsibilities they’ll encounter in their lives.

Getting your kids to help with housework isn’t just about keeping a clean and orderly home. It’s also about teaching them values and skills that will help them as they grow older.

  • Responsibility. Despite the fact that they may not enjoy doing housework, children will feel more responsible when they successfully finish a chore. This sense of satisfaction can be very comforting.
  • Negotiating skills. They’ll learn how to express their ideas, communicate clearly, and attempt to reach an agreement.
How to Motivate Your Kids to Help with Housework
  • Teamwork. Children learn that, sometimes, to achieve a goal, you need to cooperate with others.
  • Sensitivity and empathy. When your kids help out with household chores, they learn and understand how difficult it can be to maintain a clean home.
  • Independence. By pitching in around the house, they’ll learn how to do chores efficiently in the future.

According to best-selling author Dan Pink, helping with housework is a good thing for children because it shows them that families are based on shared obligations. They also learn that family members need to help one another.

5 ways to motivate your kids to help with housework

1. Start the chore with them

One of the most common mistakes parents make is expecting their children to know how to do housework, either because the tasks are simple or because they think the children have learned by seeing them done.

Many times, all children need to start helping with chores is for their parents to teach them.

For example, picking up their toys may seem like a simple task at first. However, your child may not know how to put them away properly. This may be cause for frustration and can lead to the child giving up.

Therefore, instead of scolding them, try asking if they need help. The trick is to help them start the task, and gradually let them finish it.

2. Everyone needs to have responsibilities

One of the most important aspects of teaching a child to do chores is the division of responsibilities among the family members.

In other words, children should understand that all members have their own responsibilities. These depend on the abilities of each member, of course.

It’s important to assign children appropriate tasks. For example, choosing a task too complex for their age can lead to frustration, while overly easy tasks can lead to boredom.

3. Let them grow increasingly independent

Just like with a company where the boss doesn’t listen to his employees’ input or value their independence, the same thing can happen in a family environment.

It’s essential to give children the opportunity to express their opinions. By allowing them to say what they think, you’ll foster self-confidence. Little by little, this will shape their sense of self-sufficiency.

As they feel more autonomous and independent, children will become more motivated to take care of household chores and do them more effectively.

4. Teamwork

When you want your kids to help out, make sure it coincides with a time when all the family members are pitching in around the house.

Your children will feel like they’re part of something. Also, by working as a team with their family, they’ll be more motivated to contribute. Finally, by working together, you’ll ensure that the housework is done correctly.

How to Motivate Your Kids to Help with Housework

5. Make housework just another good habit

From an early age, teach your children the importance of contributing at home. Little by little, children will assume their responsibilities as a normal fact of life. Eventually, they’ll become habits.

If you set a weekly time for organizing and cleaning your home, you’ll be building a family habit together.

This way, your children will understand that helping with household chores is necessary and ultimately see it as part of a normal routine. Seeing every family member contribute to the proper upkeep of their home reinforces this.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

– Benjamin Franklin

It brings your family closer together

Lastly, getting your children involved in household chores can also help build strong family relationships. The distribution of tasks and responsibilities can ease family burdens and tensions. This leads to reduced family stress.

In short, if we motivate our children to help with housework, they’ll feel like part of something bigger than themselves, all the while learning valuable skills for the future.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Knobel, J. (2013). El reto de ser padres. Ediciones B. España: Barcelona.
  • Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us. Riverhead Books. Estados Unidos: Nueva York.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.