Topic | Keeping on task during chore time

This topic contains 6 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Sara B. 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • amwg2694

    I wake my 2 ds up at 8 am each morning.  They have one hour to do all of their morning chores.  This is nothing new.  We have been doing this for at least a year now.  However, every single morning they spend more of that hour fighting and goofing off than anything else.  For the longest time I spent that hour reminding them over and over and over what they were supposed to be doing.  I even tried standing them in the corner hoping that they would rather do their chores than stand in the corner.  Nothing seems to work!  I’m at my wits end with their fighting and pestering each other.  Please give me some suggestion on how I can get them to work during chore time instead of doing everything else under the sun! 🙂


    How old are your boys?  Do they have too many chores to get done, or too much time to get them done in?  I find when I assign a task (in different areas of the house so they aren’t fighting or bumping into each other) and set a challenge to get as much done in a specific time frame it works better.  Having several of these throughout the day helps, too.  They don’t have time to dawdle, and they aren’t near each other so they don’t fight.  If I give too much time they find all kinds of othere things to waste time on or wander into each other’s areas and there is bound to be arguing and complaining.  I usually only give 5 -10 mins at a time.  For example — in the morning seven minutes is more than lots for them each to get their beds made, laundry picked up & put away, and for one to do feed the pets while the other starts a load of wash or unloads the dishwasher.  A ten minute tidy after lunch is enough time to straigthen and vacuum the living room while the other helps clear up the kitchen.   A couple more of these through the day and most things can get accomplished without a whole lot of time for arguing and complaining.  I usually pair up with my younger ds for the more difficult tasks.  The older is able to work more independently (most of the time).



    I also would say for me the thing that works is when breakfast is ready they need to be done or they don’t eat in my house. Nothing like food to motivate. So for us they are up at 7. They have from 7-745 to get up, dressed, tidy bedrooms, do chores and be ready to eat. Breakfast is done at about 805-810 depending on what we are having. When we are done it’s gone. Take it or leave it. Missing breakfast once or twice will make them move faster at least for my boys. Just a suggestions for what it’s worth. Figure out how long you believe it should take, add a few extra for good measure and have breakfast ready. Good luck!


    I wise Mamma once told me, “Slow Obedience is disobedience!”  I definitely agree with the above suggestions.  My dd’s(7) motivation would be missing play time.  If it doesn’t get done in the time set aside for that purpose, she must do it during her play time.  The skill of doing a whole list of chores doesn’t come natural, there must be training time involved.  I have learned to give one task at a time with a time limit.  When she is done she comes to me for the next task.  If I have to come looking for you or if time is up and you have not made any progress than you have disobeyed.  The consequence should be equal to the degree of disobedience.  If she started and got halfway through and then got side tracked, this is when she might have to finish during her playtime.  If absolutely nothing got done then we consider it disobedience and the consequences would be a lot stronger.  The important thing is to make sure the time limit is enough to finish the job, but not to long.  Sometimes we make it a game of Beat the Clock.  I often will let her know of something fun we have scheduled already in the day to add extra motivation to make sure we have chores done so we don’t have to miss out on the fun stuff!!!!  Now that my dd is almost 8yrs. I am able to give her longer list (2-3 chores) at a time, but it is a constant growing process.  Not the easiest part of parenting for sure!!!!


    Ahhhhhhhh rabbit trails!  Must be the first sign of spring. It seems they are destracted and keeping you destracted. My boys are doing the same thing….LOL..:) so I have to remind them they are getting me on rabbit trails when they get off on theirs. I can’t finish my work if they havent’ finished theirs thus leading us all or rabbit trails…..

        Just tell them what a rabbit trail is and remind them when you see them getting off on one.

      I gave my boys a visual. It was breakfast time. I picked the one who rabbit trails the most and I told him about his simple chore and how it becomes a rabbit trail.   It was clearing the table. I said, ” Let’s pretend that it didn’t get done the night before…  So I ask you to clear the table. Then, you go to put the stuff away that belongs in the refrigerator. As you do you see the fridge needs to be cleaned. So you startt to clean it.  You then find bacon… mmmmm bacon sounds good.  I am going to make everyone bacon for breakfast. while making bacon you reach for a plate…. No plates because you didn’t clean off the table so the dishes didn’t get cleaned. So as you wash a few dishes and call everyone down for breakfast you realize you never cleared the table off…. 🙂   The one thing that should have been done so everyone else could eat.. But now you are exhausted because you had to do all the other work that wasn’t important or that was someone elses.  🙂  

      This works sometimes…. 🙂   You can try it what do you have to loose but a few feet…. 🙂


    And always being one to look for a way to get in a good book (Wink) I LOVE Yonie Wondernose by Marguerite de Angeli!  Now I’ll tell my boys not to be a wondernose and they (sometimes) get right back to it. 

    Sara B.

    My kids are 9, 7 1/2, and 5 (the almost-3yo doesn’t count yet).  Their alarm goes off at 7am, and they have until 9am to have everything done.  Get up, get dressed, clean up dirty clothes, make beds, wash face, brush teeth, comb hair, clean up the bathroom again, upstairs for breakfast, clean up, then chores.  If they are done by 8/8:15am, they get to go outside.  If not, they don’t, and they have to do some picking up with me.  “If you’re going to be inside, you need to pick up the house and help me.”  Usually gets them outside…  😉  We start school at 9am, so they technically have 2 hours to get all their work done, but if they want to go outside, they better get it done faster.

    I admit, this tactic does not work on my 5yo.  She dawdles and dawdles and dawdles so much, she has lost meals countless times.  She could care less.  She has lost outside time countless times.  Again, she doesn’t care.  I have not figured out what motivates her.  Argh…  Somehow, she almost always has everything before breakfast done by schooltime.  <rolling eyes>

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