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How To Get Your Child To Complete Their Chores Without Arguing

December 2, 2022
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    Getting a child to do chores means far more than getting help around the house. Chores teach kids responsibility, work ethic, and necessary life skills. Despite this, many parents find themselves having power struggles with kids who won't complete reasonable tasks. So, what can you do? In this article, we'll talk about why children may refuse to do chores and how parents can successfully encourage kids to do chores, such as using an app like Joon, using other rewards, creating a routine, or involving the rest of the family.

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    Why Won't My Kids Do Chores?

    It's not uncommon for kids and adults alike to avoid or dislike doing chores. Most often, this is because a child perceives chores as boring, though there may be other things that make it tough for a child to help out around the house. For children with ADHD specifically, symptoms like forgetfulness and difficulty with executive function can play a role. Similarly, kids of any neurotype might refuse chores more frequently if they feel singled out, confused, or think that you're not serious about the job you ask them to complete, which could be the case for kids without a steady chore routine. That said, there are ways to encourage kids and make things easier for the whole family.

    How To Get Kids To Do Chores

    If you're a parent who feels stuck and wants to know how to get kids to do chores, you're in the right place. Here are some tips you can use to motivate kids and remove the power struggles from chore time in your household. 

    Make Household Chores Fun With Joon

    There are children's household chore apps on the market you could use to manage tasks and reward them.

    Joon is the best way to make household chores fun for children.

    Designed specifically for kids aged 6-12 with ADHD and their parents, Joon lets parents customize a list of age-appropriate tasks, also called "quests," for their child to finish in real life. For example, putting the dishes away, taking the garbage out, or doing homework. Once kids finish their assigned tasks, parents approve them, and the child gets rewards in the game that allow them to take care of a virtual pet.

    Joon motivates kids and encourages independence, and 90% of children who use Joon complete all of the activities their parents assign. The app has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, and many parents say that Joon has improved their parent-child relationship. Click here to try Joon for free.

    Try Other Rewards

    Creating a sustainable reward system is an excellent way to motivate kids to do chores. However, you must be mindful of the rewards you use. Experts generally recommend against paying kids to do routine chores, so aim for rewards that aren't monetary* in nature. Positive rewards you can use for motivating kids to do chores include:

    • Stickers (you can use a sticker chart if you want).
    • Screen time/time to play games or watch TV.
    • Experiences (e.g., going to the park).

    If you tell your child they'll get a reward for completing a task, ensure that you follow through. Similar to money as an incentive, food should not act as a reward. 

    *This does not mean that you shouldn’t give kids an allowance, as allowances can be helpful in teaching money management. 

    Create A Plan Or Structure

    One of the best ways to help children learn responsibility and stay consistent with chores is to create a daily routine that involves regular chores. It will become a natural pattern if children expect to complete certain chores as a part of their daily life. For example, it will become habitual if they know that they should always put dirty laundry in the laundry room instead of leaving it on the floor.

    Not all chores can be completed daily, but rather on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, which is where chore charts and similar tools come in. A chore chart or chore list can help your kids keep track of the chores they've done and what they have left to do by serving as a visual reminder. For many kids, it feels good to mark chores as complete on a chore list or chart. 

    Refrain From Punishing Kids With Chores

    Everyday chores for children should be approached in a way that makes them a fundamental part of life. You should not punish children by giving them chores because it will create a negative association in their minds. What parents can do instead is create negative consequences for kids who refuse to do chores. For example, you might let kids know that if they don't complete their chores, they will not be allowed screen time later on.

    Don't Do Your Child's Chores For Them

    If your child does not do their chores, do not finish the task for them. This is a mistake that many families of kids who refuse to do chores around the house make, regardless of if they have young children or teenagers. Don't beat yourself up if you've done it before; you want things done to get around the house, and it makes sense if your initial reaction is, "I'll just do it myself." 

    With that said, remember that when you do your kid's chores for them, you teach them not to take you (or their responsibilities) seriously. Even if that's not your intention, it creates a pattern. Instead of finishing a child's chore for them, talk to your kids directly and remind them that you expect them to complete the task. Be firm, and offer support or encouragement, but do not fold.

    Reduce Distractions

    Distractions such as music, podcasts, and TV, or having electronic items (such as a handheld game or smartphone) readily available, can make it harder for children to focus on tasks and compete for household chores. For kids with ADHD who might already have trouble paying attention or following through with tasks, this is particularly important. It isn't uncommon for parents to have the TV on throughout the day without thinking about it, so this is something to be mindful of. Consider what potential distractions might exist in your house, and ensure that you limit them when your child completes chores. 

    Involve Other Family Members

    In addition to limiting distractions for your kid, it is vital to set an example for children regarding chores. To do this, make chores a part of standard family life. Household tasks that involve the whole family are one way to do this, and they encourage teamwork, too. Large tasks are great for this because you can give every family member a "job."

    It's not to say that all of the chores on your children's chore plan need to involve another family member. However, it can be very beneficial to use this parenting tip if your child is in refusal to complete chores, especially if they cite that they feel singled out as the reason why.

    Similarly, your kid should see you completing your own household tasks. Even if you're not focused on the same task, you may consider completing some of your own household chores when your kid is working on theirs. 

    Note: Joon is here to make household chores and similar activities easier for families of kids with ADHD. The app motivates kids to complete daily tasks on their own so that parents don't have to nag. Joon is backed by child psychologists, occupational therapists, and teachers. Click here to download Joon and get started.

    Provide Clear Expectations

    Whether you have younger kids or older children, you must provide both clear instructions and expectations for your child's chores. Be very specific about the tasks you want your child to do, how to complete the job in question, when it should be finished, and what the consequences will be for your child if they do not meet the task. 

    Assign Age-Appropriate Chores

    Make sure that you assign age-appropriate chores to your children. Older kids often have a different skill level than kids in their early years and may be able to complete tasks that young kids can't. Be mindful of your child's development and the stage they're in. If your family has a teenager, for example, they'll likely be able to learn how to do the dishes or do laundry independently. On the other hand, you may instruct young children to help out with these activities under your supervision. Families should also be cognizant that the chores they assign to kids around the house don't brush up against a child's other responsibilities, such as school and school assignments.

    Set A Time Limit

    Having a "race against the clock" can make chores more fun. For example, if the task in question is to pick clothing or toys off the floor, you can set a timer and ask your kid to "race" against it to find out how much they can get done before the alarm goes off. While this doesn't work for all tasks, it's a parenting tip many families use when applicable. Regardless, all the chores you expect a child to do should have a timeframe, as we briefly touched on when discussing the importance of setting clear expectations. If it's too vague, getting kids to do chores in a timely manner could be more challenging.


    Many parents struggle with getting their children to do chores. Chore time may historically come with arguments or even angry outbursts. However, chores are essential for kids, as they teach responsibility, work ethic, and life skills.

    Using these tips can help you get your child to complete chores without arguing. One of the most important things you can do is to remain consistent and give your child clear expectations. You also want to assign age-appropriate chores, limit distractions, and remain realistic. When you can, try to involve the whole family, and ensure you don't punish kids with chores. Using the Joon app is a simple yet effective way to reward kids for completing chores. Even better, you can try Joon for free, and after your free trial is up, you can switch to a monthly or annual plan. 

    If you found this article helpful, visit our blog for additional information on topics such as building a reward system, using chore charts, or a comprehensive guide on assigning kids chores based on age.


    Dr. Brittany Ferri, PhD

    Brittany is a registered and licensed occupational therapist who holds a PhD in Integrative Mental Health. She is the owner of a writing and consulting company called Simplicity of Health. She has direct experience in program development, behavioral health, pediatrics, and telehealth. She has published five books, lectured at 20+ OT/OTA programs, and has been quoted as a health expert by NBC News, WebMD, CNN, and other outlets.


    Dr. Brittany Ferri, PhD

    Brittany is a registered and licensed occupational therapist who holds a PhD in Integrative Mental Health. She is the owner of a writing and consulting company called Simplicity of Health. She has direct experience in program development, behavioral health, pediatrics, and telehealth. She has published five books, lectured at 20+ OT/OTA programs, and has been quoted as a health expert by NBC News, WebMD, CNN, and other outlets.