Author: Michael Grose


Confident kids are competent kids. Past experience has taught them that they can be successful. The easiest (and most neglected way) to help develop competency is to give kids opportunities to help out at home. Don’t overburden them with jobs. Sensibly allocate chores according to their age, interests and study requirements.

Expect children and young people to help without being paid.

Provide pocket money, but avoid linking it to chores. Helping in exchange for money develops in children a notion of ‘What’s in it for me?’, which is a self-centred view of life.

However, many parents tell me that they can’t get their kids to help unless they pay them. Those parents have made a rod for their own backs. It’s time for a change of tune. Don’t wait until they are old enough to help. Start now, regardless of age. Toddlers and teens and all ages in between should be expected to chip in and help.

The term ‘chore’ definitely has an image problem. Use the term ‘help’ as it is easier on the ear and really does indicate what you want from your kids.

Here are eight ideas to help you get your kids to help out at home without being paid:

  • Keep jobs real
    Kids can sense it when parents give them jobs to keep them busy. Make sure the jobs you apportion make a real contribution to their own family’s well-being.
  • Balance the personal chores with family jobs
    Chores are generally divided into two areas. Jobs such as keeping a bedroom tidy benefits a child and jobs such as setting the table, benefit the family. By doing this, kids learn to contribute positively to family-life.
  • Place more difficult tasks on a roster
    The children can refer to it when needed, which takes the load off you and removes the need to remind them. Rotate the unpleasant tasks frequently. And here’s the key to making rosters workplace yourself on the roster too! Kids are generally more willing to help when you as a parent are involved.
  • Use Grandma’s principle to make sure jobs are done
    Grandma’s principle means you do the less pleasant tasks first. That is, make sure jobs are finished before mealtimes or before starting pleasant activities such as watching television.
  • Avoid doing jobs for children
    When children get the message that no one will do their jobs for them they will be more likely to help out.
  • Show your appreciation for their help
    Make a fuss when they help so they know that their contribution to the family is valued. If you do it often enough they may even show their appreciation for all you do for them!
  • Keep your standards high
    Don’t accept half-hearted efforts or half-completed jobs. If you think your child is capable of putting the cat food back in the fridge and placing the spoon in the dishwasher then insist that he or she does just that, rather than leaving the cat food on the sink. A job properly done is valued in the world of work, which they will eventually enter.
  • Rebrand the term ‘chore’ as ‘help’
    The term ‘chore’ definitely has an image problem. Use the term ‘help’ as it is easier on the ear and really does indicate what you want from your kids.


Kylie Wolstencroft
Wellbeing Coordinator / Registered Psychologist