The Challenge of Chores

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My girls love to do chores. They never have to be asked to do them and always do them without complaining. Oh, wait, that was a dream I had the other night.

In reality, my girls are like most other kids I know and really don't like to do chores. Generally, the statement that it's time to do chores is met with grumbling, complaining and multiple attempts to get the other child to do the chore that they don't like to do.

The two least favorite chores in our house are pooper scooping and vacuuming. The first one I understand, the second one leaves me puzzled, but I can guarantee that every week my girls will argue over who has to do these two chores.

I struggle with how to get my kids to do their chores without a battle some days. Kids are selfish by nature and don't want to do anything that resembles work. They also don't always understand how doing chores benefits them.

I have to admit, sometimes I don't like to do the laundry or clean the bathrooms either, so I get where they are coming from.

However, I believe that all kids need to have some chores. They need to contribute to the running of the family as part of the team. It teaches them responsibility and appreciation for the works of others.

So, how do we stop the battle and the complaining? We start by changing our own attitude toward household chores and helping our children change theirs.

  • Remind your kids that Ecclesiastes 4:9 says "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor." When we all pitch in together to get a job done, it's faster and easier than doing it ourselves.
  • Use a chart of some type. When kids start to complain about whose turn it is to do a certain job, stick with what's on the chart. This takes away the arguing about whose turn it is to do something. Be sure to rotate the chores.
  • Make sure you have some chores for which your children don't get paid. Every child should chip in to making the household run smoothly just because they are part of the family. My girls have to make their beds every morning, sweep the kitchen and wipe off the table after every meal. They don't get paid for these chores.
  • Make doing your chores without complaining a requirement for being paid. Chores teach our children a work ethic that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Have your children memorize Philippians 2:14, "Do everything without grumbling and complaining."
  •  Don't accept sloppy work. If it's not done right, send them back to do it again. Use chores as an opportunity to teach your kids that God wants us to do everything as if we are doing it for Him. Remind them that Ephesians 6:7 says "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free."
  • Attach your kids' allowance to their completion of their chores. Only pay for chores done. This begins to teach your kids that good work results in a reward, and not doing their work results in no reward.

Using scripture to change the attitudes in our homes toward chores will result in better quality work and will help get our kids ready for when they are asked to do things they consider unpleasant in the future. Sometimes God asks us to step out of our comfort zones to do work for Him. Learning to do chores well without complaining gets our kids ready for what God may ask them to do in the future.