Fill a jar or bowl with ping pong balls or craft sticks, each marked with a different chore. Let the kids choose balls or sticks and complete the assigned tasks. Each job should be a chore that can be quickly completed (make your bed, put your stack of clothes in the drawer, etc.). Throw in a few funny ones too — (give Mommy a back rub, say something nice to your sister). At the end of a designated period, reward the kids for completing a certain number of jobs — or make it a friendly competition and give the prize to the child who completes the most tasks.
Take advantage of your kids' obsession with your smartphone or tablet, and set them up with a chore-tracking app like ChoreMonster. Kids and parents work together to set up each child's account, enter chores and designate the rewards that can be "purchased" with the points they earn for each job. According to the app's reviews, parents are thrilled at how the ChoreMonster motivates their kids to tackle chores — with some kids even asking for more!
Give each child a donation box and have them go through their room and fill the box with old toys, dolls, stuffed animals and books they no longer use. Set the timer for a half hour, and give the kids a reward once the box is full. Donate the box immediately — before items from the donation stash start mysteriously migrating back into the kids' rooms.
If your kids are motivated by money, tie chores to a weekly allowance, or assign specific dollar values to each chore. Make your own magnetic chore buttons or order custom chore magnets (Etsy, starting at $13). If your kids aren't yet cash-hungry, reward them with a certain number of minutes to watch a show or play a video game.
Get the kids excited about cleaning by putting together a pint-sized cleaning kit just for them. Fill a bright metal pail with a few microfiber towels, a spray bottle filled with a kid-friendly cleaning solution (like vinegar and water or club soda) and a mini pair of cleaning gloves. You might be surprised at how a cute little kit will have the kids begging to clean the baseboards.
Jim Fay, co-founder of Love and Logic, advises parents to set kids up for success by choosing age-appropriate chores that allow them to be proud to contribute.
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