Friday, July 1, 2016

The simple trick that got two sisters to do their chores

The simple trick that got two sisters to do their chores
Do your children receive an allowance or commission for doing chores and being helpful around the house?

I briefly received an allowance and was occasionally paid to do chores, and I occasionally pay my son for chores, but for the most part, I believe everyone in the family is responsible for helping out and pitching in and a reward shouldn’t be a given.

If you are part of the family, you are responsible for doing chores. End of story.

If there are bigger tasks, unusual or uncommon projects, or chores that occur only on rare occasion, I’m happy to offer my son a financial or other incentive to help, but for the day-to-day tasks around the house? Nope, sorry buddy, you just have to pitch in and help!


Those ideas were brought to a screeching halt one summer when my son’s dad (I have been a single mom since my son was 4) had two of his other children, two tween girls, stay with us for several weeks. Both girls knew I expected them to do chores, and often they would pitch in with a few tasks here and there if they stayed overnight or for a weekend, but this was their first extended stay with us.

They did NOT want to do regular chores on a regular basis.

They did NOT want to have a list of tasks to follow each day or each week.

They did NOT want to help out AT ALL. 


I added a financial incentive.

I created a chore chart and assigned each sister half of the chores for the first week. The following week they would trade chores and so on for the duration of their stay. I also added a $10 incentive if they finished all of their chores by the end of the week.

Guess what happened? 

Sunday, nothing was done.
Monday, nothing was done.
Tuesday, nothing was done.
Wednesday, several suggestions regarding chores were given, and nothing was done.
Thursday, my frustration was mounting and numerous other suggestions were made, but still nothing was done.
Friday, yep, still nothing done.
Saturday, absolutely nothing either girl.

I was frustrated, annoyed, and angry. I was a new mom, my son’s dad literally did no chores either, and I just couldn’t handle the added load of two tweens and their needs without help.

Why didn’t I force them to do their chores? Why didn’t I yell? Why didn’t I get their dad to make them do their chores?

Oh, if only there were an easy answer, my friends!

First of all, these were not my kids and I was not married to their dad. Second, their dad wasn’t doing any chores either and I couldn’t motivate him to help me. Third, their dad was an emotional, verbal, and mental abuser to all of us and we all had problems much greater than chores, even if we didn’t want to face those issues at the time {{stories for another day!}}.

After another week or two of no chores, mounting frustration on my part, and mounting hunger on the part of the girls for the money attached to their chore charts but no motivation to actually DO their chores and I hit on an idea...

It was brilliant!

I wish I’d thought of it earlier!

It was so simple and it worked PERFECTLY!

I turned the chore charts and financial reward into a competition.

I sat both girls down and explained the new chore chart rules and how they could earn their $10 each week. It went like this:

  • Each girl would still receive half of the chore chart, switching back and forth each week, and would still be eligible to get their $10 if they completed their chores by the end of the week.
  • If ONE finished their chores by the deadline (I believe it was 6pm on Saturday), but the other did NOT, the one who DID finish their chores would receive BOTH allowances—$20 instead of $10.
  • If they BOTH finished their chores by the deadline, they both would receive their individual $10.
  • If neither finished their chores by the deadline, I kept the money for that week. 
Guess what happened that very week? 

One of the two girls did ALL of her chores within two hours of my explaining the new rules—ALL of her chores! Every single one! The other sister kept saying all week long that she’d do her chores “later...” Later never came around, apparently, because she didn’t do a single chore the entire week.

Guess who got $20 and who got none? 

And, I forgot to of the rules was that if someone got the full $20 they could NOT spend any of it on the sister who received nothing/did no chores. This was an all-or-nothing situation. 

The next week, who do you think completed all of their chores immediately upon receiving her chore list?

Yep, the sister who hadn’t done a thing the week before and had to watch as I gave her sister $20. After that, both girls completed all of their chores. Not only that, but they both completed all of their chores right away.
As an only child, my son didn’t have anyone to bring out that competitive streak, and after leaving his dad, I didn’t always have the money to pay him for extra chores, but as mentioned, I truly believe everyone in the family should pitch in without financial incentive. However, if you are struggling to motivate your kids to do their chores, consider this one additional tool that just might help!

What is the most unusual motivational method you have used to get kids to do chores? Share your experiences by leaving a comment! 

Check out all of our posts on chores HERE and on teenagers HERE.
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1 comment:

  1. chores and kids something that does not go together well. Glad you found a way to work it all out
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