Checking off that chore chart

How do you encourage your kids to become good workers?  There are definitely times when negative consequences have to come into play, especially when kids are outright refusing to do what they’re told.  But there are lots of ways to motivate kids positively too.  Some examples:

  • Who can get all their clothes folded before the timer rings?”   Competition and ‘beat-the-clock’ are great motivators, especially for boys.
  • Do a great job and you can stay up 15 minutes later.” Most kids love to stay up late.
  • Get the living room clean before dinner and we’ll have time for a game (or a walk) after we eat.”  Games and walks are great treats for my younger girls.
  • There are cookies on the counter when you finish your chores.”  Don’t overdo the food treats, but don’t under-estimate them either.
  • You can have an extra 15 minutes of video games if your bedroom looks great when I inspect it.”  Video games and boys:  need I say more?

What do you say to your kids to encourage them to get their work done?


  1. Angela Mayer says:

    “Let’s race…can you get your laundry folded and put away before I finish the kitchen?” If I see they are really trying, I purposely keep myself busy in the kitchen long enough for them to win. 🙂

  2. These are great tips. I know for a fact that more than half of them work very well. lol. Especially getting to stay up late. The other ones I may just have to give a try and see how they work out. 🙂

  3. I used a lie–but only once and I have no regrets (and it could have really happened).

    I could not get my son to clean up his legos at night–and I disliked the battle it was becoming, but I also really disliked stepping on them at night when I checked on him.

    Then, one morning I said to him “Did you hear the cat last night? He was screaming–he stepped on a lego in your room and it must have really hurt his paw-he came running out.”

    Never had a lego problem again.

  4. I just had an “encourage diligence” fail. Sent my son out to the front porch to scrub with the promise that he could use the hose to clean the high places one the reachable area was scrubbed. He came running back in 5 min. later, and sure enough, there was a black widow on the porch. He refuses to go back out there, and I have to admit, I’m not pushing the issue…. 🙁

  5. All of the above!

  6. Thank you for these ideas! I’m going to use them. I tend to resort to negative consequences more than positive motivation. I’m going to change that!

    I have tried to make a point of explaining the “why” behind the chores we do too. When they see that not doing laundry (for example) results in running out of clean socks, they understand that the long-term benefit outweighs the momentary trouble of washing and folding. This is something I wish I’d been taught as a child instead of learning it the hard way as an adult! Ha! 🙂

    P.S. I didn’t get a chance to comment on your “Intentional Living” post, but it was just what I needed to read. Thank you!

    • jennifer says:

      Haha- I so remember my college roomate wearing her swimsuits as she had forgotten to do laundry

  7. My children have been raised to do as they are told immediately and with no bargains, no playing games, no cookies, nothing.
    This might seem harsh to some but after viewing a tragedy where a child did not obey the first time, my husband and I did not want to see that happen to our children.
    So from that moment forward, our children were taught to obey instantly and without question. We committed to never again play any games when we asked our children to do something.