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Add Variety to Chore Time

You might set up a system of rotation, or you might have your children draw cards to see which chores they have that week. Either way, it’s a good idea to rotate chores rather than make kids do the same ones all the time. Your children will become competent in several different areas, and you can avoid charges of favoritism.

Make Chores Visual

Some chores need to be done every day. Others are once-a-week tasks. Sears and his wife posted a magnetic chart on the refrigerator to help their kids keep track. "There was a column for each day of the week and the chores each kid was responsible for that week," says Sears. The whole family could see the chores and which ones had been completed. "Because it was visual, it was less overwhelming for the kids," he says.

If your child is inspired by technology, you might check out some of the apps that track chores assigned and completed on mobile phones and tablets. Some have features that randomly assign chores. Some assign points for completed chores. All employ technology as a tool rather than an escape mechanism.

Be Realistic About Chores

While you can and should make it clear ahead of time what counts as a completed chore, you might also need to relax your standards, especially with young children. If your daughter knows you sneak into her room to straighten the bed after she made it, she might as well leave it for you to do. Praise will help build your child’s confidence and make chore time smoother in the future.

Work through Chore-Related Whining

Some parents enforce a 2-for-1 policy when kids whine about chores. "It there’s whining and complaining, the child gets another chore in addition to the one they’re already doing," says Sears. "Usually the child learns pretty quickly that whining doesn’t work."

Listen to Your Child

Withstanding whining does not mean turning a deaf ear to your child. "If a child says, ‘This is too hard for me,’ you might say, ‘OK, let me help you,’" suggests Turner. Your child still does the chore, but with your assistance. The message is that you are in this together, so your child is less likely to equate chores with punishment.

In his own household, Sears listened to his son’s repeated requests for pancakes, followed by complaints that he didn’t know how to make them himself. Eventually, the father turned his son’s requests into a new skill. "He whined and moaned through a few pancake sessions but now he knows how to make them," says Sears.

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