Getting kids involved in chores

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Getting kids involved in chores

There comes a point in every parent's life when we have to get our kids to do something very boring but very necessary. It helps to have some tips and tricks in your bag so that you're not offering bribes and rewards which can really backfire in the long run. The first thing that I always recommend parents do is to see if there isn't a way they can make whatever the activity is more play-like. In our family when we're having to do some cleanup, we always put music on really loud and kind of make it more of a dance party. This makes it more fun. The more play-like it is, the less like work it seems to be. Another trick is to make a boring task more challenging because a lot of times kids don't want to do something because it's boring; right? But you can do something to make it more challenging. So the classic thing that parents kind of do innately is that they say, okay, I'll race you to that or I'll time you, because you're making it harder by making it faster. We can make things harder in a lot of different ways. When my kids were starting to resist emptying the dishwasher, I told them that they were now old enough to put all the dishes away including the wine glasses that go up really high. Now they think that this is very thrilling to stand on the counters and hand each other the glasses. I made the task a lot more difficult for them and they argue about who is going to get to put the wine glasses away. The last thing to keep in mind is really to give kids more autonomy. Kids, adults, nobody really likes to be told exactly what to do and when to do it. It creates that sort of resistance in kids. And so to think about ways to give kids more choice and more autonomy around tasks. So I need you to do X. You can do it any way you want. Or I need to empty the dishwasher and take a shower tonight but you get to decide when you do those things.

View Christine Carter, PhD's video on Getting kids involved in chores...


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Christine Carter, PhD

Sociologist & Happiness Expert

A sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Christine Carter, PhD is the author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. Dr. Carter also writes an award-winning blog for Greater Good, which is syndicated on the Huffington Post and Carter has helped thousands of parents find more joy in their parenting while raising happy, successful and resilient kids. Known for her parenting and relationship advice, Carter draws on psychology, sociology, neuroscience, and uses her own chaotic and often hilarious real-world adventures to demonstrate the do’s and don’ts in action.

After receiving her B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she was a Senior Fellow, Dr. Carter worked in marketing management and school administration, going on to receive her PhD. in sociology from UC Berkeley. Dr. Carter has been quoted in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle and dozens of other publications. She has appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” the “TODAY” show, the “Rachael Ray Morning Show,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” and NPR.

Carter has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of events and professional groups. In 2010, she received an award from the Council on Contemporary Families for her outstanding science-based reporting on family issues. In 2011 she won Red Tricycle’s award for the “Most Awesome Parent Education,” and so far in 2012 she has been nominated for a Bammy Award and for an award from the American Sociological Association for public sociology.

Dr. Carter teaches parenting classes online throughout the year to a global audience on She lives with her family in Berkeley, CA.

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