If all members of your household work or learn full-time, you’ve probably created a chore schedule for everyone. Chores are a great way to teach children responsibility and cleanliness, but they aren’t always as fun as video games or television. If your children aren’t keen on drying dishes or making their beds, here are some tips to get them a bit more invested in housework.

Establish Rewards

This is by far the fastest and easiest way to entice children to help out around the house. Allowances, snacks, and extra computer or TV time are a few rewards that can inspire children to do their part. The right rewards can encourage children to complete their chores in a timely manner. However, you should always double-check and make sure that bigger chores, like cleaning a bedroom, aren’t simplified. The cartoon trope of shoving discarded items into an overstuffed closet had to have come from somewhere.

Set a Deadline

Hard deadlines are another useful trick to encourage the completion of chores. “Fold the laundry” comes off as vague and lackadaisical. To ensure your children understand the importance of chores, make sure assignments are clear, and set proper timelines for completion. For example, “please fold the laundry as soon as the dryer buzzes to avoid anything wrinkling. Then, bring the basket up to the living room so everyone can grab their items.” Notice the explanations given for actions you request, which establish the timeliness of the task. Clear instructions can also help eliminate the chance of chores being left half-finished.

Don’t Turn Chores into Punishments

If you want chores to become ordeals, assign them as punishments. That’s the fast-track to fostering animosity between children and their weekly duties. Chores should be built into schedules and considered part of home life, just like homework and family time. Avoid doling out extra chores when children misbehave. Chances are, this will create a negative opinion about all types of chores, not just the punishment. While children likely won’t grow to love cleaning, they can easily learn to loathe chores. 

Make Chores a Team Effort

Convert multi-faceted chores, such as dusting or collecting items for donation, into a family activity. Put on some music, split up in teams, and see who can complete their duties quickly and accurately. Make a whole day of deep-cleaning the house, and enjoy a fun night out on the town as a job well-done. Building chores into family time helps children feel less overwhelmed with their responsibilities and can save you plenty of time on those tricky tasks. Take a look at your chores list and see which ones could translate into games!