Feb 012013
High quality ostrich feather duster

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you want your children to think of themselves as guests in your home or as vital family members who contribute to its daily operation?  If you answered “family members making a vital contribution” then you might be ready to look at household chores with a new eye.

Chores are an important part of a child’s sense of independence, and help to teach that duties and responsibilities don’t have to be onerous and tedious. Kids who are assigned a regular slate of chores to complete will often find creative ways to get them done, and may even find newer, better ways to achieve desired results.

The simple act of completing chores on schedule can contribute to developing both discipline and a strong work ethic.  Independence, responsibility, creativity and innovation are all traits that can enhance it.

Make Chores Fun

If you’re concerned about getting that roll-the-eyes, “you’ve got to be kidding” stare from your kids when you tell them they’re now responsible for taking out the trash every Wednesday, you’re not alone. But instead of threatening or grounding them for six months, try this: re-frame the chore to make it fun. A little motivation never hurts and helps drive home the idea that work is worth doing well.

If, for example, if one of the weekend mornings is devoted to weekly housecleaning, you could:

· Have a race – “Can you finish cleaning the bathroom before I’m done in the kitchen?”

· Play a game – Set a number of points per project… Add for ‘extra good work’ and/or ‘no reminders needed.’ Subtract for sub-par work.  (Give a prize if you want e.g an extra bedtime story or 15 minutes later to bed for example.)

· Add music – “The first person to start Saturday morning chores gets to choose the music that we all listen to while we’re working.” (This is also a good way to check in on your kiddos’ taste in music from time to time.)

· Make a date to do something fun when everything’s done. (Give yourself “bonus points” if it’s fun and FREE like taking a walk, or playing catch in the backyard!)

Keep in mind that the important thing is that the child learns to do the task, rather than worrying about getting it perfect. Every successful adult interviewed for What Kids Need to Succeed shared responsibilities at home, and many had jobs outside the family to earn money.

Dec 272012

If there’s a parenting area/teachable moment I could have handled better it’s this one!  Enjoy a guest post from my friend, organizing and direct sales coach Nancy Korzyniewski.

Coach Nancy Korzyniewski

There is data supporting the idea that kids raised in organized homes do better in school, stay in school longer and feel more secure.  These reports tell us that organization and efficiency play a role in a successful life….as if we needed one more reason to get a handle on our stuff!

What’s the best way to teach your kids to be organized?  Be a good role model.  Show them without arguments, nagging or assigning cleanup as punishment.  If you clean by the stash and dash method, the kids will do the same.

  • Ÿ Create a sense of pride in clean rooms and organized schoolwork.
  • Ÿ Even the smallest children will feel helpful when the bins that store their toys are within their reach.
  • Ÿ Picture labels to help them remember what goes inside.
  • Ÿ They also love tackle boxes for games and toys with lots of little pieces or items like little cars and building materials.

Most parents say it helps to simply reduce the NUMBER of options that kids have to play with.  They regularly clean out and donate outgrown toys or put a few of the birthday gifts aside to help kids keep the choices under control.

A great tip for easing the morning chaos is to use sticky notes.  Give each child has a different color sticky, and whatever is needed for school tomorrow gets ‘stickied:’

  • Ÿ gym clothes,
  • Ÿ band instrument,
  • Ÿ permission slips
  • Ÿ homework
  • Ÿ backpack

Kids put all of this in the ‘ready to go’ spot so Mom and Dad can check overnight.

Not only to organized kids feel proud, systems like this cut down on morning stress for everyone… and fewer emergency trips to school to drop off  forgotten lunches!


After a successful 25+year career in the direct sales industry, Nancy has set her sights on sharing her knowledge and experience with others.  In addition, she’s a new blogger!  Visit her site Nancy Coaches where ‘coaches’ stands for Creativity, Organization, Appreciation, Customization, Harmony, Excellence and Strategies!

May 152012

Have you ever spent time in a household where the younger family members seemed to view themselves as visiting dignitaries, insisting that parents wait on them in a manner that resembles room service at a fine hotel?

Some parents don’t expect their kids to participate in household management: they feel that providing 100% of every aspect of food, clothing and shelter is an important way parents can help children feel loved and secure. 

Others believe that helping kids get comfortable with home management skills a little at a time is an excellent way to help them grow and become more independent.  They feel:

  • participating in household chores increases connection within the family
  • regularly completing chores helps to create a habit of ‘taking care of business’
  • knowing they make an important contribution to keeping things working within the family contributes to kids’ self esteem as well as enhancing autonomy, discipline and a strong work ethic

And if you’re not sure which end of that spectrum makes sense to you gradually get kids to participate in household chores without adding “Nag Kids About Chores” to your already-full “to do” list?  

Lots of people like a chore chart but find it gets stale.  What if part of the process was allowing kids to choose their tasks for the week?

Another helpful hint?  What about a short checklist to help kids know what constitutes successful completion of the task?  A job description of sorts.  (This also seems to take a little of the sting out for parents with very high housekeeping standards.)

Sure it can be easier just to take care of things ourselves… but what’s the long-term value of helping kids if learning to balance “house jobs”  with the rest of life?


English: Broom

Image via Wikipedia