By Joey and Carla Link
March 30, 2022
I remember a time when I reminded one of my girls once again to get her chores done and her response was, “I know, I know.” I thought if she already knew, why wasn’t it done? In the last 24 hours how many times have you heard your spouse or yourself remind your kids to do something they already knew they were supposed to do? Reminders are the common and normal go-to for parents when they see something that’s not done, but it is a bad habit that is not really helpful in assisting kids to grow in maturity.
Recently I (Joey) had a parent ask us “How can I get my children to be more responsible at getting their chores done?” It’s a typical issue all parents struggle with. I asked this parent how many times she reminded them to do them. She sheepishly admitted she reminded her kids to do them all the time. I asked what motivated their kids to own getting their chores done – just their reminders? When working with another family, Carla asked the mom how many reminders did she have to give until their kids got around to doing their chores? Her response was there wasn’t a set number of times. Carla told her there definitely was. She had been counting all day when the mom reminded one of her kids and with all three of their kids Mom and Dad gave four reminders before the kids moved. Why did it take four times?
It wasn’t the number of reminders they got; it was the tone of their parent’s voice they were listening to. The kids knew when their parents’ tone of voice told them they better get them done now or they would pay the price.
Why would a child want to remember to do something they don’t want to do when their parent will remember for them? Every child wants to do his/her own thing and no child wants to be responsible until they have to be. It is the parents’ role to help their child mature and own their behaviors and responsibilities, and it will be work for both the parent and the child for this to happen.
How to get kids to work on responsibilities (for kids 8 yrs. and up)
· Have your kids list all the responsibilities they have.
· Ask them to rate between 1-10 (1 is low 10 is high) how well they do them without being reminded.
· Ask them to write down why they think they have to be reminded.
· Ask them to write down one way they can work on the 2 items on their list that take the most reminders for them to get their chores done. If they can’t come up with anything, let them know you will come up with one for them.
· As parents, be willing to come up with consequences that will help them remember.
· Above all, be consistent when dealing with it. If you hear a reminder coming out of your mouth, give a correction.
· Be sure and praise them when you see them working on them.
When a child is taking ownership of more and more of his/her responsibilities, he develops maturity in other areas that a parent may not be fully ready to trust or turn over to him. It is also a good time to give him the freedom to fail. In other words, ask him if you can trust him with that ownership and if he says “yes”, give it to him. Don’t be afraid to take it back if he misuses that freedom.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”