My daughter, Zoe, was 5 when I decided to give her a couple of chores: making her bed every morning and putting some of her clean clothes in drawers on laundry day. Let's just say she blew off these tasks for months. I was beyond frustrated that my sweet kid, who eagerly pitched in at school during cleanup time, couldn't care less about lending a hand at home.
Sound familiar? While chores are typically greeted with enthusiasm in the preschool years ("Look, I'm helping Mommy!"), by the time a child is 5 or 6 -- and genuinely ready for more responsibility -- her natural excitement wanes, says parenting expert Deborah Gilboa, M.D., the founder of Ask-DoctorG.com. Don't let your chore-dodger off the hook. To spur her on to action, enlist the help of these motivational tricks from the experts.
Pull Out the Big-Kid Card
If you've never specifically given chores to your kid before, he's going to wonder: Why is Mom making me empty the dishwasher or set the table now? So appeal to his desire to be more grown-up. "It can be as simple as saying, 'Now that you're 5, you're stronger, taller, and more careful. I bet you could put away the washed dinner plates,'" suggests Meg Akabas, founder of Parenting Solutions, a consulting firm.