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How can I get my children to help out around the house?

I sit here with tears in my eyes. I look around my house and say to myself: I can't do this anymore. It's not fair. I am not the only one who lives here. You see I have four children. They range in age from 9-4. I have explained to them that I can't do this by myself. That I need help. All they do is say ok and then the next day it is back to the same ol same ol. The funny thing is, the mess isn't mine. You can walk around my house and probably see nothing of mine laying around. I have kitchen chairs full of my husbands clothing. He lays them where ever he wants. I try organizing to make it more simple for everybody to understand. But they don't and I am the only one who keeps up my great, simple ideas. I don't know what to do. I have tried, charts, awarding, house rules, no friends over until your room is clean or the house for that fact. Any different suggetsions would help.

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Asked by krishmommy at 8:29 PM on Nov. 10, 2008 in General Parenting

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Answers (9)
  • This is what works for my family:
    Let the kids have their rooms a mess...hang with me on this for a moment. Allow them the right to a messy room, but remember that you have a right to not have to go into that messy room or even look at it (shut the door). If you do the laundry then you would not want to step on something and break it so they will have to either put their dirty clothes in a hamper and remember to place it outside their door on laundry day or oh well, you have an unusually light workload that day.

    Answer by indigostone at 8:56 PM on Nov. 10, 2008

  • As for your common areas, that is not their personal dumping ground and anything left to lay is fair game for the garbage bin. If you don't want to be so drastic have a lost and found box that you keep in an inconspicuous space and anything left around the house goes into this, and when it gets full then it must be dumped to make room for new lost items.
    It should take no time to break this habit of polluting your common areas, especially if items which were not claimed are not replaced.

    Answer by indigostone at 8:56 PM on Nov. 10, 2008

  • Oh and stand by the no friends if your room is a mess rule, no exceptions. If they show up with a friend, then apologize to the friend that (name of offending party) is not allowed to have visitors currently, as it would be a breach of house rules.

    Answer by indigostone at 8:56 PM on Nov. 10, 2008

  • I agree..I remember packing up all of my girls' junk and putting out by the curb, ( they didn't know it wasn't trash day) and boy oh boy, Things went into their places and for the most part, stayed there. They were 5 and 12 then. Also, anything that "trickles" into my house out of their rooms was my property. I'm ashamed to tell you what I did because no one wanted to do dishes. ( I am a mean mommy)


    Answer by Star419 at 9:12 PM on Nov. 10, 2008

  • lol,my mom had 6 kids and no one wanted to do dishes,she put them all(dirty)M in a bag and threw em out.hmm,eat ice cream or something yummy in front of them and tell em they cant get none intil they do this or that.

    Answer by angelairelan at 9:16 PM on Nov. 10, 2008

  • My first thought was, when you know the answer let me know! But I like everything the othe posters were saying. I have a coworker with four boys and a husband who didn't help matters. So she went on strike. With me cheering her on the whole way. She refused to do their laundry (she did hers), she didn't cook, she didn't clean, she didn't try to fix it or scream and yell. She also refused to be the taxi driver and the grocery shoper. That got her husband's attention. And her kids's as well, it worked. Now she just mentions MOM ON STRIKE and they step to it. She did have to hang in there for a few weeks - her family was stubborn. If I were you, I would go on strike. But if that is too drastic for your taste then there were some great suggestions previously posted.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:39 AM on Nov. 11, 2008

  • cont...I am all for the "you don't pick it up" then it is trash. You don't actually trash items but you can pack it away, store it at a friend's house, trunk of your car...ect. Places not easily found. And same for your hubby. He can't find something...oh well, you are not his maid. You are his wife. Children who don't take care of their belongings do not get extras. What are extras? Gum at the grocery store, a special outfit, a new toy...even turn down toys when grandparents give them. Explain no child of mine gets new things when they can't take care of their old items. Look at it this way - it may save you money at Christmas. I'll bet you are the one who shops for the kids at Christmas time. Well let your spouse know that its his turn. Let him decide what his children are getting. And let him know that you are too tired to get him anything because

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:44 AM on Nov. 11, 2008

  • cont...all your energy is spent picking up after everyone. Even him. Tell him the only thing you want Santa to bring you is children and a husband who will help out. Another thought is taking away everything. Enlist friends with this. Have your children out of the house for the entire day. Then box up everything they own. I mean everything! Also the television goes. Game systems, dolls, even clothes. Only bedding, furniture, and enought of their clothes for a week are there. If they want to have their things back then they can earn them. By cleaning a tiolet, taking out the trash, putting away some dishes. And then give each child something back as they earn it. Toys and things are a privledge. Not a right. A right is that you should have a clean home to live in.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:48 AM on Nov. 11, 2008

  • cont...if they earn something back it can always be taken away again. If you choose this method you have to really stand behind it and not give in after a few days or weeks. Its an ongoing thing for years to come. Nothing new until you have earned that. To keep clutter down a house rule that you can enforce is: Something new in something old goes out. So the person getting a new item must choose an outgoing item. They don't choose, well you what to donate. Your husband is a little more tricky. You don't want to pack up all his things and treat him like a child. But you don't have to do his laundry, cook his dinner, or have sex with him. If he is too tired to help he must be too exhausted to have sex. We teach others how to treat us, teach them not to use you as a door mat.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:56 AM on Nov. 11, 2008

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