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Jan. 11, 2022

How To Get Your Kids Involved With Chores?


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Join today's episode as we speak with Freyja Troop, a working mother of 3 kids, and explore the best ways to encourage our children to help with tasks around the house. But more than being helpful, how chores help our kids become prepared for the real world. Connect with us on our Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/reallifemomz/ to continue discussing the topic of tasks or any other parenting topic.

Resources:

Book: The Secrets of Happy Families /Author: Bruce Feiler

Transcript

Welcome to Real Life Momz. I'm your host, Lisa Foster, and Real Life Momz is a podcast. That's all about real conversations and real-life issues that parents deal with every day. Our mission is to connect moms and talk about these topics and to continue this conversation through our real Life Momz, Facebook group, but we would love for you to become part of our community. Today I'll be talking with my kind friend Freya Troop on an issue that I personally have been struggling with my own family, which is getting our kids to do chores.

Hi Freya. I'm so thrilled you came to the show today. Yes. Hi Lisa, how are you? I'm excited too. This is my first podcast. And today's topic is chores. So, you know, for me, this has been a real struggle. I feel like I have tried all the things and everything for me really works temporarily. Like I'll have my kids do the dishes or clean their room, but they do it like once or twice, and then it totally fades. But I've noticed for your kids that they've been very independent and very helpful. And honestly, I think your daughter came over to our house and cleaned out our daughter's closet and organized it.

And it almost looked like she enjoyed it. Yeah. That actually, that, makes me feel happy. Do you feel that at home too, do you feel like your children are pretty helpful. Yeah, there are definitely helpful in the home. I've really set guidelines early for them and, you know, started with, um, my daughter, she, you know, just little things like, um, I would do the laundry and then I would put her clothes in a basket and say, can you fold your clothes up and put them away? And obviously, that takes time because one, she doesn't even know how to fold clothes. So that is a whole effort in itself. Um, and so then once she get to that point where I felt like she was doing a good job, and then I would introduce another chore. And so gradually over time, um, it's like they get upgraded with chores. So they moved from folding laundry to do the dishwasher. Yeah. Funny seeing how they actually get excited when they get something new to do. I think you bring up a really good point. You would wait and they have to figure it out or you would help them through it. I think what happens is I would say, okay, can you help do the laundry or fold the laundry or whatever it was. Um, and it was taking too much time or it wasn't exactly right,  it didn't look like it would if I did it or it was faster if I did it. And I honestly did not give that time. Um, I just want to add to that. A friend of mine gave me a really good tip as well. And she said like, for example, folding the laundry, you know, they may not do, it's going to take time for them to do it as well as what you do, but you, you praise them. Even if it's just a little bit of an improvement, you're like, that's great. You've done a good job. That's all I ask at this stage, rather than, you know, you didn't fold that properly. You got to do it this way. Try it again and try it again. It just, it's more each turn it around and makes it more of a positive.

And you've also like you just said, Lisa, you gotta be patient with yourself. I'm very OCD, very type. I like things being perfect, but I've got to take a step back and be like, they're not me. Um, and help them along the way. I wish I wish I talked to you earlier because as my daughter said, she's like, well, I'm not going to do what you did with chores. I'm going to start my kids much earlier. I knew that I was in trouble. And my answer to her was like, okay, we'll see. Because I feel like I did try, but everything was like a little bit of a fail for me. Let me ask you this. Did you pay your kids? Yes. So I pay them monthly. Like we have savings accounts set up for the kids and if money just automatically goes in there every month and they actually don't even know how much they're getting paid, which is sort of funny, but they just know that they're getting paid. And then how visually, like I'll show them the balance on their account. And I'm like, look at your account. It's growing. Their chores is correlating to their savings. And then when they want to buy something that they really desperately want, then you know, they've got that account there and I'm like, you know, you have this much money in your account and you can afford to get that skateboard. And you know, you've done a good job and you've answered. So that's why we park the funds, in an account so that we're helping them save. Yeah. Yeah. And you have a background in banking, I can see, how you're teaching them. Well, which is great. We do also have their own accounts. Um, but my kids are very different, but they see their money and they're like, yes, let's go shopping. Um, so that is another thing that we have to work on. Yes. Yeah. You know, it's funny you say that with my daughter. So I have twin boys, as you know, but they're not at that stage where they want to spend their money. They're happy their money to grow, but my daughter. She's at that stage where she wants to buy beauty products. I want to buy these clothes. And, and so then I've, I've had to transition a little bit. And so now she has a checking account. And so  I set her up with online banking and I have access to it too. So I see what's going on, but I'm trying to get her to visualize and see, okay, you want to buy, you know, that facial moisturizer, well, you got to move the money from your savings to your checking. You'll see the savings balance go down. Yes. You can go buy that product. But, um, you know, just to show that transition, like visualize what's going on. Cause kids these days, they get a credit card and they're gone bang, bang, bang, bang. They're not actually seeing how much they're spending. All they have is this card and it gives them free rein and so I'm trying to control that a little bit better. Yeah. Yeah. No, that is good. It's good for them to see, my kids have that as well. They don't always check their accounts. We got to get better at them checking it. But you know, going back to chores and money. Yeah. What I found is maybe make their bed once or, you know, do a dish once. And then I'm like, am I actually paying them for one time? But they still get their whole allowance, you know, it was kinda confusing. And then I try to switch it to well, okay. How about every time you do the dishes that's when you'll get paid. So then I had these checkmarks that whole chore chart became a chore. You know, for me it was so complex and it was just overwhelming that I think everything just kind of said, forget that it was also hard because of what chores should be paid. I agree. You hit the nail on the head like you're trying to encourage them to do chores. And then it becomes a chore and it's not the plan. The goal is,  you do this because you want them to be independent when they move out of home, you want them to have respect in their home and look after their stuff, you know? And that’s my goal is I want my children to respect things. They buy, the things they do, respect when people come around to their house, that their house is nice and tidy, you know? And it's, it's not about being lazy or not lazy. It's about being respectful, but you're right. We do have some chores that they don't get paid for. And, uh, you're right. It is a real balance to try. And I guess it's for me because I've got three kids. My daughter’s obviously going through at first and now the twins follow suit. So they see what she did. And so than they already have a lead-up to what's going on. So it's actually easier making the twins do chores because they know what they're in for. And we do it, we do drop the ball, they do drop the ball. I dropped the ball, my husband drops the ball, you know, and then we reset and it's, it's okay if they, you know, there's this role, like if you do it 80% of the time, then you're doing a good job. And so I try and say that to myself, you know, you know, one weekend my daughter had a soccer tournament. She was very tired in her chores right now is to do the laundry. Like she does laundry and then we're all assigned to put her own clothes away, but she was really tired and you know, you let it go. You're like, it's okay. There are times when you can't do it. I do have a funny story of a chore story that backfired. And, uh, so I was in Australia. Um, as you know, I had to go back to Australia, um, for family reasons. And so my husband was left as my three kids for three weeks, all on their own. And he would complain to me about how they're not doing this and they're not doing that. And he's really stressed. And he would never want to be a single dad and his whole life like it was just turned around for him. And so I had to talk to the kids and I was like, Hey, why don't you help dad out a little bit? I know you do all your chores, but why don't you just, try a little bit harder? And I said, you know, an example is, um, the laundry, like, why don't you go in the house, grab all the clothes that are in the laundry baskets, on the floor, wash all the clothes, fold them all up and get it all done so that when dad comes home, it's nice. Nice. And then he, you know, he'll feel that you're, you're trying, you know? And so they're like, yeah, we'll do that. No problems at all. And so, um, I was like, okay, this is perfect. It can't go wrong. So then my husband calls me and he's like, oh my goodness, our children, I can't believe what they did. I'm so frustrated. And I'm like, why, what did they do? And, and I didn't tell him that I worded the kids up to do the laundry. Right? He goes, well, they decided that they were going to do all the laundry. So they went around the whole house and I grabbed all the clothes. And, but what they did already had done some of the laundry. And so that mixed up the clean clothes with the dirty clothes. And there was a basket sitting there that they thought was clean. It was actually dirty and they've gone and put the clothes away. So I don't know what is clean and what is dirty. Now I have to pull everything out and start over Oh, oh. But there were some good intentions, good intentions. Right, right, right.  Did you. Tell him?

The other one's the dishwasher, you know, everyone likes to pack their dishwasher a special way. And you know, you want to get, you want to maximize the dishes in the dishwasher. So they all get cleaned and, and everyone packs that dishwasher differently.  I find it hard because again, you want to encourage the kids to pack the dishwasher, but you don't want to tell them how to do it. And you, you want to encourage them and go, you know, if you turn the cup this way, then it'll clean that up. But then you don't want to be a helicopter over in them, micromanaging them you know, rearrange everything that they've, they've spent, you know, five minutes, like packing this dishwashing and making it look the best that they can.

And then you come along and you rearrange it and you're like, okay, now do it this way. You know, I feel like that's a stab in the foot. Right? Yeah. You're giving them this empowerment to do it. And then you're like, okay, that's great. But you didn't do a very good job. Yeah. And I had a good friend. She, told me once, you know, give your kids the chores that you actually don't care about. You know? So the dog is a great one, right. But if the dog doesn't get fed, right. There's a big consequence. So do something, give them something that if it doesn't get done, you're not all over it. It doesn't really matter. So it gives them that like space and it gives you that space. So I thought that was a good idea. That's a great, that you're not going to be too stressed about it. If, if things don't go the way you want them. My kids also do their laundry. So we all do our own, you know, my husband and I do our laundry together. We figure it out. But each kid does their own. And when it's dirty, they bring it down. They put it in and they have to change it. And they put it away. I wouldn't say folding gets done, but once again, it's their laundry. So it doesn't affect me. The chores are the ones that they have to do. Right. Because otherwise they're naked or they smell, but it's not affecting me. And another one I don't do anymore is their room. So once again, it's not, it doesn't affect me. Um, it's their space. And inevitably what will happen is one of two things is either, you know, my daughter, her room will get so gross that she will just clean her whole room and organize it because it's at that point, which it's just too much for her. So she actually will go and do it, which is, which is great. She has learned that at some point it gets too much for her. And that's when she'll do it. My son, on the other hand, he'll ask me for help to clean his room. And my response is, well, I'll help you, but you'll have to pay me like $5 because you know, if I'm going to hire somebody to help me clean, I'm going to have to pay them so you can help. You can pay me to clean up, clean your room. Yeah. That, um, that, you know, it's funny, you talk about that. That is one area I'm struggling with right now with my daughter. She, her room is a complete mess. And I, I try to have this arrangement with her that she could keep her room the way she wanted it during the week. I wouldn't bother here, but on the weekend to clean that room up just once a week, you know? And, um, and so it's hit or miss some days she does it.

She doesn't, I don't want to be that nagging mom again, having a cleaner room, but you know, so I'm a little bit torn because I walked past her room several times a day. And I see, and I'm like, come on, please clean your room. So maybe I have to do, Lisa is, say, do you want to pay me? And I'll clean your room. The other good thing is to invite a friend over her friend because what I find for my daughter, it's embarrassing. Cause they will say stuff like that sometimes triggers the cleaning because their friend will come and they'll be like, oh my, it's really gross. And she'll be embarrassed. And I'm like, yep, there we go. That works too. So I've resorted to ignoring the room till it like really becomes a hazard. Um, and like making them feel shameful and guilty. Yeah. This is great. I'm sure there are better modes.

You know, it's funny. 

 

One, one thing I did way back when, and it did work, but it faded, there was this book I read it. I'm like trying to remember the name. They kind of ran their family as, as a business. Right. It was this, this book and it sounds like crazy, but we tried it and it worked. You would have a family meeting at dinner. So you would make sure you have dinners together at least once or twice a week or whatever it was. And you would have a family meeting around and you said, okay, what's working. What's not. And everybody had a say, you know, like, I don't like when you nag need to pick up my stuff in the room or I'll say, well, I need the house this certain way before we leave. You know? And so together we made almost like a list of what needed to be done before we all left the house in the morning. And it was really great. We had this list up and we decided we were a team. And in order to get out of the house as a team at the time we all needed to check off at least three things from the list things and the faster you did, you know, your three things, the then you would get the ones that you wanted, I guess. Right. And then what you would do is you have another meeting like a week or so later and say, Hey, how are things going? And, and that really worked well. It didn't correlate to any sort of money. And it was more like things getting out the door at the time. I actually cared that the beds were made. Like I wanted the house to look good. So when I came home from work, I could feel like I could relax. Like nowadays I just close everybody's door.  I have to say it was, it was actually pretty amazing that having a team approach to the family dynamics, but it was really good and worked for a while. And that was, that was an interesting approach to yeah. It's definitely teamwork, you know, my husband and I definitely worked together like one nonnegotiable with all three kids is when they come home from school, they have to unpack their bags, take out their lunch boxes, put their shoes in their bedroom, you know, not negotiable. They don't get paid to do that. That is something they have to do. And so, but in order for them to do that, my husband and I have to be on the same page and be consistent and, and you know, back each other up. And so it's taken time, but now it's, they do it without even thinking. It's it's nice. So like you said, like when I come home from work, then our lounge room is not full of school bags and books and lunchboxes and shoes and socks, and it's all nice and clean. So yeah.

So just to add like a side note onto it. Yeah. Definitely working as a team helps them, you know, and I liked that meeting scenario because we, we all know what we have to do in the house and we all keep each other accountable and even the kids will keep my husband and me accountable, you know, mom, the cat's hungry. You're supposed to feed the cat. Oh yeah. I'll get to it or no, you need to do it now. You know, you just maybe think of a story. I, um, this is on the other, on the flip side of, um, so as you know, my husband's a coach, he had an athlete come from Japan and she was staying here for a couple of months in, so she basically, she was meant to stay with this host family, but it all fell through And so than at the last minute, we're trying to find a friend that would take her in and so a friend of ours is like, yep. Um, she can come to stay with me. Uh, and so anyway, the first day she, she asked, you know, what he was going to cook her for dinner. And he's like, uh, yeah, I'm not cooking you dinner, take you to the supermarket and I'll show you around the supermarket and you can buy whatever you need to buy it, but I'm not cooking for you. And, she then went on to ask about chores. And basically, she'd been grown up in this environment where she had seven that did everything for her. She did nothing for herself. So then she comes to the US to stay for a couple of months and she expects the same. Like she expects the same thing to happen to her. And so she started crying. She was so upset that he wouldn't do what she wanted, that she was crying. And he's like, listen, you're in the big world now. And the reason why I remember that is I'm like, I don't want my kids being like that, where they go out in the big world. And then someone's like, Hey, can you cook dinner? And they're going to be like, yeah, I don't even know how to cook toast. That's not, yeah. That's not good. I feel like my kids, they both can cook enough. Yes. They both now know how to do laundry. And they both know if they're messy, they can pick up now, do they want to do that on a regular basis? No, but I do know they can. Right. This is important because they are going to go into the real world and they are going to need those skills. 

 

Yeah. That's exactly right. I'm going back to chores. The one thing I will say is I know we all do it out there, but if, if, uh, one of your kids doesn't do what they're supposed to do, and you've asked them three times and they still don't do it, then, you know, there are repercussions of that. And that is, um, the twins love tablet time. Like, it's, you're like, sorry, you can't play your tablet today. I asked you three times. I asked you nicely, you still haven't done it. And you know, that's the end of the, it's the end of that. And, um, I've never taken their money away from them. Um, but I have taken other, um, you know, other things that they really, really love and appreciate, um, just to, just to drive it home that, Hey, you know, you have the stuff to do. Um, you're part of the family, everyone else is pulling their weight. You need to pull your weight too. So, um, I don't know. Do you do that? You know, I always felt like the consequence needed to fit the crime. And I guess for me, like taking away their tablet, even though that's what they loved or whatever it was, I didn't know if it really fit, did it fit the chore? They were supposed to do their room. They didn't do the room. So I'm taking away their tablets. So to me, it didn't match the listeners to tell us what their thoughts are. Um, my son had some spiders in his room and he's like, mom got to get rid of that. And I'm like, well, it's probably because some dirty dishes in there that you see, and that is going to attract bugs

So, you know, I think you should just grab that shoe or do what you gotta do to get that spider out of your room. You know, there's your consequences or my daughter not cleaning her room and our friend is coming over and literally says, oh my God, your room is disgusting. You know? And I feel like, well, that's a true consequence. Now you feel bad because your friend thinks you're really a slob and that works right. That is true. I feel like, I don't know if the consequences always had to come from me, you know, versus even something else. I don't know. Like a good example would be for me, you know, the boys are to put their clothes away and, and it's sitting there in the basket ready to go. And then, um, you know, they, we allocate tablet time over the weekend. Like there's certain times of the day that they have free time to play their tablets. And so like, it happened the other day. I was like, all right, I'm going out to do the grocery shopping when I come back, can you make sure all the clothes are put away? And so I go grocery shopping, I come home and the basket sitting there hasn't moved. And, what had happened was they were playing the tablets and they weren't paying attention to the time and they forgot about the basket with the clothes in it. And so, you know, so what I'm trying to teach them is, well, I'm going to take your tablet away because the tablets, the reason why I didn't do your chores. Yeah. I think that's right. That's different. That's directly related to what happened. Yeah. And I also think, I also think it's okay to say, you can have you have your tablet time, but you can have it as soon as you're done with your chores, then, then it makes sense as well, if you don't get your tablet time and you still haven't finished your chores, once again, I feel like it's a direct correlation to what you're asking. So I think that's, yeah, that, that totally works. Yeah.

Yeah. When you said that and I was like, yeah, you're right. It's got to be a direct correlation. Yeah, yeah, no, you're right there. And there are times where I've done that. You are right. Like, it probably doesn't relate. And you know, that's something that's a takeaway for me today is to make sure that if there's going to be some sort of consequences that, that it relates to the situation There really isn't any real right wrong. I just think there are so many ways to try to get your kids to do chores between paying, not paying, you know, making it as a family team effort. Um, there's really no real right and wrong are different strategies. It seems like you have implemented more of, you know, having this respectfulness for their family, their things that have been working for you. But I think that's the biggest takeaway really is it doesn't have to be perfect, being patient. Right. I, I love that. You said that at least for the younger kids, maybe for my teens is too old for this, but for the younger kids, almost giving them the next level. Right. So if they achieved a small part, almost like a bonus that they got the next level. And I think that is something I missed. And I wish I knew back then. Cause I think that is it, there is something that makes them feel, wow. I feel I'm, I'm ready for it. You know, that's exciting. You know, like with the boys, they go from picking up dog poo to doing the dishwasher. Sorry. I, the only other thing I was going to add to what you just listed was consistency. Like whatever strategy you decide to do to keep it consistent and make sure everyone's on the same page, you know? Yeah. I think that consistency is really important. And I think the other thing is maybe communication. The other thing about chores is if we find the things that they actually, and I'm not going to say enjoy is a good word for this because nobody enjoys chores, but there are definitely things they don't mind more than others compared to the other stuff. And I think that's okay, maybe your kid isn't doing dishes. And that would be super helpful. But if they are doing, you know, picking up the poo, you know, some boys do like that. I have to say, maybe not ours, but I've seen kids that maybe they really want to pick up the poo and that's exciting for them. Then that's okay to have that as their chore versus knowing that they hate that specific chore. Then, then, then it's always going to be a nag and a fight, you know, but either, that it's important to them like if they do their laundry, they need their clothes.

So it's important to them, right. Or it's something that they don't mind doing as much, I think, and that doesn't affect us if it's not, doesn't affect the household, and doesn't affect my day-to-day. And you know, it can wait a week if it needs to. I think also that's a good one too. Yeah. So, those are good points. And then, yeah, I think we should invite the listeners to come on that Facebook group page and really help us out because obviously we still need help. I think everyone does. So like, if everyone can just post, you know, one or two things that really have worked really well to help all other parents out there would be really, really be helpful. Yes. I would definitely be looking. There's always will. Um, love to hear new strategies.

Well, Freyja, thank you so much for sharing your stories today on what has worked, what has not worked and our, our failures and our successes.

I feel like we have more successes than failures. This was fun. I really enjoyed it. It's good. You know, I'm actually just doing this podcast is making me think. Maybe I need to, you know, shuffle a few things around.

 

Welcome to Real Life Momz. I'm your host, Lisa Foster, and Real Life Momz is a podcast. That's all about real conversations and real-life issues that parents deal with every day. Our mission is to connect moms and talk about these topics and to continue this conversation through our real Life Momz, Facebook group, but we would love for you to become part of our community. Today I'll be talking with my kind friend Freya Troop on an issue that I personally have been struggling with my own family, which is getting our kids to do chores.

Hi Freya. I'm so thrilled you came to the show today. Yes. Hi Lisa, how are you? I'm excited too. This is my first podcast. And today's topic is chores. So, you know, for me, this has been a real struggle. I feel like I have tried all the things and everything for me really works temporarily. Like I'll have my kids do the dishes or clean their room, but they do it like once or twice, and then it totally fades. But I've noticed for your kids that they've been very independent and very helpful. And honestly, I think your daughter came over to our house and cleaned out our daughter's closet and organized it.

And it almost looked like she enjoyed it. Yeah. That actually, that, makes me feel happy. Do you feel that at home too, do you feel like your children are pretty helpful. Yeah, there are definitely helpful in the home. I've really set guidelines early for them and, you know, started with, um, my daughter, she, you know, just little things like, um, I would do the laundry and then I would put her clothes in a basket and say, can you fold your clothes up and put them away? And obviously, that takes time because one, she doesn't even know how to fold clothes. So that is a whole effort in itself. Um, and so then once she get to that point where I felt like she was doing a good job, and then I would introduce another chore. And so gradually over time, um, it's like they get upgraded with chores. So they moved from folding laundry to do the dishwasher. Yeah. Funny seeing how they actually get excited when they get something new to do. I think you bring up a really good point. You would wait and they have to figure it out or you would help them through it. I think what happens is I would say, okay, can you help do the laundry or fold the laundry or whatever it was. Um, and it was taking too much time or it wasn't exactly right,  it didn't look like it would if I did it or it was faster if I did it. And I honestly did not give that time. Um, I just want to add to that. A friend of mine gave me a really good tip as well. And she said like, for example, folding the laundry, you know, they may not do, it's going to take time for them to do it as well as what you do, but you, you praise them. Even if it's just a little bit of an improvement, you're like, that's great. You've done a good job. That's all I ask at this stage, rather than, you know, you didn't fold that properly. You got to do it this way. Try it again and try it again. It just, it's more each turn it around and makes it more of a positive.

And you've also like you just said, Lisa, you gotta be patient with yourself. I'm very OCD, very type. I like things being perfect, but I've got to take a step back and be like, they're not me. Um, and help them along the way. I wish I wish I talked to you earlier because as my daughter said, she's like, well, I'm not going to do what you did with chores. I'm going to start my kids much earlier. I knew that I was in trouble. And my answer to her was like, okay, we'll see. Because I feel like I did try, but everything was like a little bit of a fail for me. Let me ask you this. Did you pay your kids? Yes. So I pay them monthly. Like we have savings accounts set up for the kids and if money just automatically goes in there every month and they actually don't even know how much they're getting paid, which is sort of funny, but they just know that they're getting paid. And then how visually, like I'll show them the balance on their account. And I'm like, look at your account. It's growing. Their chores is correlating to their savings. And then when they want to buy something that they really desperately want, then you know, they've got that account there and I'm like, you know, you have this much money in your account and you can afford to get that skateboard. And you know, you've done a good job and you've answered. So that's why we park the funds, in an account so that we're helping them save. Yeah. Yeah. And you have a background in banking, I can see, how you're teaching them. Well, which is great. We do also have their own accounts. Um, but my kids are very different, but they see their money and they're like, yes, let's go shopping. Um, so that is another thing that we have to work on. Yes. Yeah. You know, it's funny you say that with my daughter. So I have twin boys, as you know, but they're not at that stage where they want to spend their money. They're happy their money to grow, but my daughter. She's at that stage where she wants to buy beauty products. I want to buy these clothes. And, and so then I've, I've had to transition a little bit. And so now she has a checking account. And so  I set her up with online banking and I have access to it too. So I see what's going on, but I'm trying to get her to visualize and see, okay, you want to buy, you know, that facial moisturizer, well, you got to move the money from your savings to your checking. You'll see the savings balance go down. Yes. You can go buy that product. But, um, you know, just to show that transition, like visualize what's going on. Cause kids these days, they get a credit card and they're gone bang, bang, bang, bang. They're not actually seeing how much they're spending. All they have is this card and it gives them free rein and so I'm trying to control that a little bit better. Yeah. Yeah. No, that is good. It's good for them to see, my kids have that as well. They don't always check their accounts. We got to get better at them checking it. But you know, going back to chores and money. Yeah. What I found is maybe make their bed once or, you know, do a dish once. And then I'm like, am I actually paying them for one time? But they still get their whole allowance, you know, it was kinda confusing. And then I try to switch it to well, okay. How about every time you do the dishes that's when you'll get paid. So then I had these checkmarks that whole chore chart became a chore. You know, for me it was so complex and it was just overwhelming that I think everything just kind of said, forget that it was also hard because of what chores should be paid. I agree. You hit the nail on the head like you're trying to encourage them to do chores. And then it becomes a chore and it's not the plan. The goal is,  you do this because you want them to be independent when they move out of home, you want them to have respect in their home and look after their stuff, you know? And that’s my goal is I want my children to respect things. They buy, the things they do, respect when people come around to their house, that their house is nice and tidy, you know? And it's, it's not about being lazy or not lazy. It's about being respectful, but you're right. We do have some chores that they don't get paid for. And, uh, you're right. It is a real balance to try. And I guess it's for me because I've got three kids. My daughter’s obviously going through at first and now the twins follow suit. So they see what she did. And so than they already have a lead-up to what's going on. So it's actually easier making the twins do chores because they know what they're in for. And we do it, we do drop the ball, they do drop the ball. I dropped the ball, my husband drops the ball, you know, and then we reset and it's, it's okay if they, you know, there's this role, like if you do it 80% of the time, then you're doing a good job. And so I try and say that to myself, you know, you know, one weekend my daughter had a soccer tournament. She was very tired in her chores right now is to do the laundry. Like she does laundry and then we're all assigned to put her own clothes away, but she was really tired and you know, you let it go. You're like, it's okay. There are times when you can't do it. I do have a funny story of a chore story that backfired. And, uh, so I was in Australia. Um, as you know, I had to go back to Australia, um, for family reasons. And so my husband was left as my three kids for three weeks, all on their own. And he would complain to me about how they're not doing this and they're not doing that. And he's really stressed. And he would never want to be a single dad and his whole life like it was just turned around for him. And so I had to talk to the kids and I was like, Hey, why don't you help dad out a little bit? I know you do all your chores, but why don't you just, try a little bit harder? And I said, you know, an example is, um, the laundry, like, why don't you go in the house, grab all the clothes that are in the laundry baskets, on the floor, wash all the clothes, fold them all up and get it all done so that when dad comes home, it's nice. Nice. And then he, you know, he'll feel that you're, you're trying, you know? And so they're like, yeah, we'll do that. No problems at all. And so, um, I was like, okay, this is perfect. It can't go wrong. So then my husband calls me and he's like, oh my goodness, our children, I can't believe what they did. I'm so frustrated. And I'm like, why, what did they do? And, and I didn't tell him that I worded the kids up to do the laundry. Right? He goes, well, they decided that they were going to do all the laundry. So they went around the whole house and I grabbed all the clothes. And, but what they did already had done some of the laundry. And so that mixed up the clean clothes with the dirty clothes. And there was a basket sitting there that they thought was clean. It was actually dirty and they've gone and put the clothes away. So I don't know what is clean and what is dirty. Now I have to pull everything out and start over Oh, oh. But there were some good intentions, good intentions. Right, right, right.  Did you. Tell him?

The other one's the dishwasher, you know, everyone likes to pack their dishwasher a special way. And you know, you want to get, you want to maximize the dishes in the dishwasher. So they all get cleaned and, and everyone packs that dishwasher differently.  I find it hard because again, you want to encourage the kids to pack the dishwasher, but you don't want to tell them how to do it. And you, you want to encourage them and go, you know, if you turn the cup this way, then it'll clean that up. But then you don't want to be a helicopter over in them, micromanaging them you know, rearrange everything that they've, they've spent, you know, five minutes, like packing this dishwashing and making it look the best that they can.

And then you come along and you rearrange it and you're like, okay, now do it this way. You know, I feel like that's a stab in the foot. Right? Yeah. You're giving them this empowerment to do it. And then you're like, okay, that's great. But you didn't do a very good job. Yeah. And I had a good friend. She, told me once, you know, give your kids the chores that you actually don't care about. You know? So the dog is a great one, right. But if the dog doesn't get fed, right. There's a big consequence. So do something, give them something that if it doesn't get done, you're not all over it. It doesn't really matter. So it gives them that like space and it gives you that space. So I thought that was a good idea. That's a great, that you're not going to be too stressed about it. If, if things don't go the way you want them. My kids also do their laundry. So we all do our own, you know, my husband and I do our laundry together. We figure it out. But each kid does their own. And when it's dirty, they bring it down. They put it in and they have to change it. And they put it away. I wouldn't say folding gets done, but once again, it's their laundry. So it doesn't affect me. The chores are the ones that they have to do. Right. Because otherwise they're naked or they smell, but it's not affecting me. And another one I don't do anymore is their room. So once again, it's not, it doesn't affect me. Um, it's their space. And inevitably what will happen is one of two things is either, you know, my daughter, her room will get so gross that she will just clean her whole room and organize it because it's at that point, which it's just too much for her. So she actually will go and do it, which is, which is great. She has learned that at some point it gets too much for her. And that's when she'll do it. My son, on the other hand, he'll ask me for help to clean his room. And my response is, well, I'll help you, but you'll have to pay me like $5 because you know, if I'm going to hire somebody to help me clean, I'm going to have to pay them so you can help. You can pay me to clean up, clean your room. Yeah. That, um, that, you know, it's funny, you talk about that. That is one area I'm struggling with right now with my daughter. She, her room is a complete mess. And I, I try to have this arrangement with her that she could keep her room the way she wanted it during the week. I wouldn't bother here, but on the weekend to clean that room up just once a week, you know? And, um, and so it's hit or miss some days she does it.

She doesn't, I don't want to be that nagging mom again, having a cleaner room, but you know, so I'm a little bit torn because I walked past her room several times a day. And I see, and I'm like, come on, please clean your room. So maybe I have to do, Lisa is, say, do you want to pay me? And I'll clean your room. The other good thing is to invite a friend over her friend because what I find for my daughter, it's embarrassing. Cause they will say stuff like that sometimes triggers the cleaning because their friend will come and they'll be like, oh my, it's really gross. And she'll be embarrassed. And I'm like, yep, there we go. That works too. So I've resorted to ignoring the room till it like really becomes a hazard. Um, and like making them feel shameful and guilty. Yeah. This is great. I'm sure there are better modes.

You know, it's funny. 

 

One, one thing I did way back when, and it did work, but it faded, there was this book I read it. I'm like trying to remember the name. They kind of ran their family as, as a business. Right. It was this, this book and it sounds like crazy, but we tried it and it worked. You would have a family meeting at dinner. So you would make sure you have dinners together at least once or twice a week or whatever it was. And you would have a family meeting around and you said, okay, what's working. What's not. And everybody had a say, you know, like, I don't like when you nag need to pick up my stuff in the room or I'll say, well, I need the house this certain way before we leave. You know? And so together we made almost like a list of what needed to be done before we all left the house in the morning. And it was really great. We had this list up and we decided we were a team. And in order to get out of the house as a team at the time we all needed to check off at least three things from the list things and the faster you did, you know, your three things, the then you would get the ones that you wanted, I guess. Right. And then what you would do is you have another meeting like a week or so later and say, Hey, how are things going? And, and that really worked well. It didn't correlate to any sort of money. And it was more like things getting out the door at the time. I actually cared that the beds were made. Like I wanted the house to look good. So when I came home from work, I could feel like I could relax. Like nowadays I just close everybody's door.  I have to say it was, it was actually pretty amazing that having a team approach to the family dynamics, but it was really good and worked for a while. And that was, that was an interesting approach to yeah. It's definitely teamwork, you know, my husband and I definitely worked together like one nonnegotiable with all three kids is when they come home from school, they have to unpack their bags, take out their lunch boxes, put their shoes in their bedroom, you know, not negotiable. They don't get paid to do that. That is something they have to do. And so, but in order for them to do that, my husband and I have to be on the same page and be consistent and, and you know, back each other up. And so it's taken time, but now it's, they do it without even thinking. It's it's nice. So like you said, like when I come home from work, then our lounge room is not full of school bags and books and lunchboxes and shoes and socks, and it's all nice and clean. So yeah.

So just to add like a side note onto it. Yeah. Definitely working as a team helps them, you know, and I liked that meeting scenario because we, we all know what we have to do in the house and we all keep each other accountable and even the kids will keep my husband and me accountable, you know, mom, the cat's hungry. You're supposed to feed the cat. Oh yeah. I'll get to it or no, you need to do it now. You know, you just maybe think of a story. I, um, this is on the other, on the flip side of, um, so as you know, my husband's a coach, he had an athlete come from Japan and she was staying here for a couple of months in, so she basically, she was meant to stay with this host family, but it all fell through And so than at the last minute, we're trying to find a friend that would take her in and so a friend of ours is like, yep. Um, she can come to stay with me. Uh, and so anyway, the first day she, she asked, you know, what he was going to cook her for dinner. And he's like, uh, yeah, I'm not cooking you dinner, take you to the supermarket and I'll show you around the supermarket and you can buy whatever you need to buy it, but I'm not cooking for you. And, she then went on to ask about chores. And basically, she'd been grown up in this environment where she had seven that did everything for her. She did nothing for herself. So then she comes to the US to stay for a couple of months and she expects the same. Like she expects the same thing to happen to her. And so she started crying. She was so upset that he wouldn't do what she wanted, that she was crying. And he's like, listen, you're in the big world now. And the reason why I remember that is I'm like, I don't want my kids being like that, where they go out in the big world. And then someone's like, Hey, can you cook dinner? And they're going to be like, yeah, I don't even know how to cook toast. That's not, yeah. That's not good. I feel like my kids, they both can cook enough. Yes. They both now know how to do laundry. And they both know if they're messy, they can pick up now, do they want to do that on a regular basis? No, but I do know they can. Right. This is important because they are going to go into the real world and they are going to need those skills. 

 

Yeah. That's exactly right. I'm going back to chores. The one thing I will say is I know we all do it out there, but if, if, uh, one of your kids doesn't do what they're supposed to do, and you've asked them three times and they still don't do it, then, you know, there are repercussions of that. And that is, um, the twins love tablet time. Like, it's, you're like, sorry, you can't play your tablet today. I asked you three times. I asked you nicely, you still haven't done it. And you know, that's the end of the, it's the end of that. And, um, I've never taken their money away from them. Um, but I have taken other, um, you know, other things that they really, really love and appreciate, um, just to, just to drive it home that, Hey, you know, you have the stuff to do. Um, you're part of the family, everyone else is pulling their weight. You need to pull your weight too. So, um, I don't know. Do you do that? You know, I always felt like the consequence needed to fit the crime. And I guess for me, like taking away their tablet, even though that's what they loved or whatever it was, I didn't know if it really fit, did it fit the chore? They were supposed to do their room. They didn't do the room. So I'm taking away their tablets. So to me, it didn't match the listeners to tell us what their thoughts are. Um, my son had some spiders in his room and he's like, mom got to get rid of that. And I'm like, well, it's probably because some dirty dishes in there that you see, and that is going to attract bugs

So, you know, I think you should just grab that shoe or do what you gotta do to get that spider out of your room. You know, there's your consequences or my daughter not cleaning her room and our friend is coming over and literally says, oh my God, your room is disgusting. You know? And I feel like, well, that's a true consequence. Now you feel bad because your friend thinks you're really a slob and that works right. That is true. I feel like, I don't know if the consequences always had to come from me, you know, versus even something else. I don't know. Like a good example would be for me, you know, the boys are to put their clothes away and, and it's sitting there in the basket ready to go. And then, um, you know, they, we allocate tablet time over the weekend. Like there's certain times of the day that they have free time to play their tablets. And so like, it happened the other day. I was like, all right, I'm going out to do the grocery shopping when I come back, can you make sure all the clothes are put away? And so I go grocery shopping, I come home and the basket sitting there hasn't moved. And, what had happened was they were playing the tablets and they weren't paying attention to the time and they forgot about the basket with the clothes in it. And so, you know, so what I'm trying to teach them is, well, I'm going to take your tablet away because the tablets, the reason why I didn't do your chores. Yeah. I think that's right. That's different. That's directly related to what happened. Yeah. And I also think, I also think it's okay to say, you can have you have your tablet time, but you can have it as soon as you're done with your chores, then, then it makes sense as well, if you don't get your tablet time and you still haven't finished your chores, once again, I feel like it's a direct correlation to what you're asking. So I think that's, yeah, that, that totally works. Yeah.

Yeah. When you said that and I was like, yeah, you're right. It's got to be a direct correlation. Yeah, yeah, no, you're right there. And there are times where I've done that. You are right. Like, it probably doesn't relate. And you know, that's something that's a takeaway for me today is to make sure that if there's going to be some sort of consequences that, that it relates to the situation There really isn't any real right wrong. I just think there are so many ways to try to get your kids to do chores between paying, not paying, you know, making it as a family team effort. Um, there's really no real right and wrong are different strategies. It seems like you have implemented more of, you know, having this respectfulness for their family, their things that have been working for you. But I think that's the biggest takeaway really is it doesn't have to be perfect, being patient. Right. I, I love that. You said that at least for the younger kids, maybe for my teens is too old for this, but for the younger kids, almost giving them the next level. Right. So if they achieved a small part, almost like a bonus that they got the next level. And I think that is something I missed. And I wish I knew back then. Cause I think that is it, there is something that makes them feel, wow. I feel I'm, I'm ready for it. You know, that's exciting. You know, like with the boys, they go from picking up dog poo to doing the dishwasher. Sorry. I, the only other thing I was going to add to what you just listed was consistency. Like whatever strategy you decide to do to keep it consistent and make sure everyone's on the same page, you know? Yeah. I think that consistency is really important. And I think the other thing is maybe communication. The other thing about chores is if we find the things that they actually, and I'm not going to say enjoy is a good word for this because nobody enjoys chores, but there are definitely things they don't mind more than others compared to the other stuff. And I think that's okay, maybe your kid isn't doing dishes. And that would be super helpful. But if they are doing, you know, picking up the poo, you know, some boys do like that. I have to say, maybe not ours, but I've seen kids that maybe they really want to pick up the poo and that's exciting for them. Then that's okay to have that as their chore versus knowing that they hate that specific chore. Then, then, then it's always going to be a nag and a fight, you know, but either, that it's important to them like if they do their laundry, they need their clothes.

So it's important to them, right. Or it's something that they don't mind doing as much, I think, and that doesn't affect us if it's not, doesn't affect the household, and doesn't affect my day-to-day. And you know, it can wait a week if it needs to. I think also that's a good one too. Yeah. So, those are good points. And then, yeah, I think we should invite the listeners to come on that Facebook group page and really help us out because obviously we still need help. I think everyone does. So like, if everyone can just post, you know, one or two things that really have worked really well to help all other parents out there would be really, really be helpful. Yes. I would definitely be looking. There's always will. Um, love to hear new strategies.

Well, Freyja, thank you so much for sharing your stories today on what has worked, what has not worked and our, our failures and our successes. I feel like we have more successes than failures. This was fun. I really enjoyed it. It's good. You know, I'm actually just doing this podcast is making me think. Maybe I need to, you know, shuffle a few things around.

Thank you so much for coming and listening to our show today. I know I have gotten some great new strategies and ideas to help encourage my family to do chores and help me out around the house. I hope you did too. And I do hope that you join us on our Facebook group and tell us your ideas and your successes. We really could use some more support on this topic. So we'd love to hear from you and don't forget to follow real-life moms. So you don't miss an episode.












Freyja Troop Profile Photo

Freyja Troop

Mother/Banker

I am a full time working mother, of 3 kids. I have a 15 year old daughter and 11 year old twin boys. In 2009 we moved to the United States from Australia and have been here ever since. I have been in the banking industry for over 25 years and love that I can work and be a mum at the same time.