Getting Preteens to Do Their Chores


Set a Time Limit
• "I have had a bit of success by assigning times for chore completion. My 13-year-old daughter must complete her daily chores by 8 p.m. so that I have time to check them and not leave it until bedtime. When she has to do something outside of her regular chores, and gives me the 'I'll do it later,' I ask her when. I make her assign a time, such as 'I'll start my math homework at 6 p.m.' That way, I can go about my business and just check at 6:01 to be sure she has started. She seems to stick to the times she names."

Pick an Appropriate Consequence
• "We really need to be creative and strong to get through these times. The hardest thing for me is to stay calm and not get pulled into a fight. The next hardest thing is to not just do it myself, which seems easier in the short term but isn't giving them the training I believe I'm supposed to do. I think you have to pick an appropriate solution to any potential battles. When my daughter was into slamming her door when she didn't get her way, I told her, 'Next time I will remove door from hinges for a week.' I try to think of realistic consequences and warn them what it is. It is very hard not to give in, but eventually they realize you're serious and they can't away with it. It is always something..."

How to Ease Off the Nagging
• "If you want to retire your nagging badge, first understand what's normal for 10- to 15-year-olds. They all bristle at orders (at this age they get many orders: get up, go to school, do your chores). They want some control over their lives and are battling for independence. This is all normal. They also have energy swings as well as mood swings. Sometimes they really are too tired to do chores! Now this doesn't mean you can't get what you want from your young adolescent. Be consistent. Praise your son when he cooperates. Continue telling him you need his help in a calm voice. Choose your battles. Be patient. Be understanding. Keep your sense of humor because these are the good old days. We don't want to lose sight of the good side of preteens, which is easy to do sometimes. Our children can be managed if we are careful, smart, and kind."

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