How to teach your kids to do chores without constantly nagging them


My son constantly wants to help me clean. He even has his own spray bottle filled with “cleaner”, which is really just water. At four years old, he doesn’t let an opportunity pass while I am cleaning to ask if he can help. It’s pretty spectacular, and also not always to norm.

While some kids were just born with the innate need to be tidy, organized and clean, there is also certain level of nature and nurture going on. We can be taught to enjoy things, or at the very least tolerate them and house cleaning is no different.

In my business, I come across moms all the time who ask, “But how can I get my kids to do their chores. It is always such a process and I feel like I am nagging them.” The answer, for the most part, lies within the question. The nagging will get you very little in the long run.

Remind and equip. Equip and remind. It is a circle, a process that will continue until the days when they leave for college, or for their first internship, or to galavant across the world to find themselves. We have to remind our children of what needs to be done and equip them with the skills and tools to do it. Whether it is brushing their teeth, combing their hair, changing their underwear, finishing their homework or completing their chores, children need to be reminded to do things and also equip them with what they need to get it done. We can’t tell them to brush their teeth once, without showing them or giving them the proper toothbrush and expect a thumbs-up at their first dentist visit. Children are tiny, beautiful little sponges absorbing everything around them. Sometimes, they just need a nudge.

Lead by example: If you live in a messy house, your children with ultimately learn to leave in a messy house. It’s as simple as that. Now, this doesn’t mean that the only way to get your children to clean their own rooms and spaces is to live in an immaculate home. This isn’t about perfection, but it is about modeling. If you model that when you make a mess, you clean it up, they will learn.

Teach them: This seems obvious, but it isn’t. We don't expect our kiddos to know how to do things like tie their shoes or ride a bike without being taught first, but somehow we have the expectation that they will just pick up on how to complete household chores without much effort on our part. No ma'am. 

Set up reminders: This could be in the form of a chore chart, a chore wheel or a checklist. There are so many ways to do this. Gentle reminders, whether verbal, written or in writing can really help your kiddos to do what needs to be done without reminders. If you need help figuring out how to design your chart, check out one of my video posts about how to create your own printable with Canva here

Create systems and routines that set them up for success: Maybe they have the same chores every morning or evening, or every Tuesday and Thursday. Systems are just a way that things get done the same way each time. Children thrive on routines if you spend enough time establishing them. If your son knows that the garbage needs to be taken out every Thursday, set up a routine to put it out Wednesday. After a few times forgetting (and having to wake up at 5am to put it out Thursday morning) he will remember to stick to the routine. This works well with those reminders from up above. Kids won't remember to do everything, all the time. Adults needs reminders, too so don't be too expecting of perfection. 

Use timers: I don't know that there are many problems in my life that timers don't solve. My kids love timers. It also helps give an end to the task that when you are young, can seem endless. Heck, household chores can seem endless when you're 33. Timers can also help with dawdling. "These toys need to be cleaned up in 20 minutes." It is really easy for kids to grumble and dilly-dally if there is no end time in sight. Make it a game. Make it fun. 

Avoid using chores as a punishment. There is one aspect of chore setting that I am a pretty firm believer in. I don’t use chores as a punishment. In my experience, this sets children up to believe that cleaning is a negative aspect of life and should only be done under duress. How many people, perhaps yourself included, do you know that hate cleaning as adults because they were forced to do it when they were kids after being bad. I don’t give chores or tasks as punishment. They are not a form of discipline. Rather, chores in our house are a regular part of being in a family. We act as a community, where each person contributes

Your ready to hand off some of the chores to your kiddos and you're trying to decide what to do with all that extra time. But how do you even know where to start with dishing out cleaning tasks? Download your free Everything and the Kitchen Sink cleaning list in the Vault and take the confusion out of what needs to be cleaned and when. Print an extra copy to give to your newly hired professional cleaner so everyone is on the same page. 




How to embrace simplicity in homemaking: A guest post by Kelsey Van Kirk

Homemaking is one of those things that all of us have to do, too often we let running our household get more complicated than it has to be.

With so much that could be done, it's easy to feel like you should be doing something at all times.

There’s laundry to wash and put away, floors to be swept, dishes to be cleaned, bills to be paid, voicemails to return, doctor’s appointments to make, and the list goes on, and on, and on….

But what kind of life would it be to spend all your precious moments cooking, cleaning and taking care of business, without ever taking time to stop and savor the reasons you do all these things in the first place?!

Not a very good one, let me tell you!

But this begs the question….how are you supposed to keep up with all the things that need to be done without spending every waking moment of your life being a slave to your homemaking??

The answer: simplify!

I'm a big fan of figuring out ways to simplify the necessary parts of life - the tasks and responsibilities that are a part of maintaining a home and family - in order to create more time and space for what matters most.

Simplifying doesn't necessarily make everything easier, but it does make things less complicated (which means less stress for everyone!)

Here are a few basic ways to begin embracing simplicity in your homemaking so you can begin enjoying life more without getting completely overwhelmed by keeping up with your household tasks and responsibilities.

1. Get rid of the excess

This is by far one of my favorite ways to simplify and reduce the burden and stress of keeping up with everything in your life.

The less you have to keep up with, the simpler and better life is!

Pick somewhere to start that will produce the highest impact, whether that’s minimizing your family’s wardrobe to just the essentials so there’s less laundry to deal with, or clearing your schedule of any inessential activities that are sucking up your time and energy.

Learning how to ruthlessly edit what you allow to take up space in your life will make a huge difference - all you have to do is start!

2. Adjust your expectations

I decided against using the phrase “lower your expectations” because I don’t love that it seems to convey the idea that we should settle for less.

However, I am a big advocate of adjusting and reframing expectations to have a lower bar, for the sake of both ourselves and others.

When we set the bar of our expectations from a place of grace, we’re much more likely to be consistently satisfied with what we have, what we accomplish and with the other people in our lives.

Acknowledging the season you’re in is also super important when setting expectations for what your home and life should look like.

If you set standards that aren't appropriate for the season you're in you'll constantly feel overwhelmed, frustrated and discouraged (which will get you absolutely nowhere!)

Learning how to decide what really matters and what doesn’t will help you know where to set the bar of your expectations, freeing you up to focus the best of your energy on the things that DO matter, while letting go of everything else.

3. Streamline with systems

Anyone that knows me know that I am a big sucker for a good rhythm, process or system….and for good reason!

Implementing rhythms and systems in my life, my home and my business has been a total gamechanger for me and my family.

My biggest suggestions when it comes to getting rhythms and systems in place are: keep it simple and use technology to your advantage!

We don’t have big, complicated chore charts, cleaning schedules, meal plans or task lists. Instead we’ve identified what the most important things are that need to be done each day and created daily morning and evening routines that help our family stay on track and get the important things done.

We also have a list of favorite go-to recipes that makes meal planning a breeze, eliminating the 5pm middle-of-the-kitchen meltdowns over having no idea what to make for dinner, nothing in the fridge and a bunch of crazy kids screaming at you because they’re hungry.

My personal favorite tool for managing our family’s rhythms, routines and responsibilities is Trello.

This free, digital management tool has completely revolutionized the way I plan, organize and manage #allthethings in my very full life….so much so, that I created a free training to help other busy wives and mamas experience the amazingness that is Trello for themselves!

At the end of the day, there are probably a million different things you could to simplify and streamline your busy life, but the basic underlying idea is this: focus on what is truly essential, eliminate anything that isn’t, and prioritize creating rhythms and routines that work for you and your family.

The less you have to do and think about each day, the happier and more peaceful you will feel - guaranteed!

If you are ready to conquer the chaos and overcome the overwhelm by embracing simplicity in your busy life, I would love to invite you to join me and thousands of other mamas for a free 21-day challenge called #Get Simplified: 21 Days to a Simpler Life, beginning on August 1st.

Each day we will be taking baby steps toward simplifying all.the.things. in our everyday lives, and it is going to be a great way to prepare for entering the busy fall season which is sure to bring with it many new demands on our time, energy and resources.

To join us just visit www.kelseyvankirk.com/challenge and sign up today (you can jump in anytime, even if it’s after August 1st!)

What are some of your favorite ways to simplify and streamlining your homemaking? I’d love to hear your tips, tricks and experiences in the comments below!


Kelsey Van Kirk is a blessed wife, mama to four beauties, writer, podcaster, and joy-seeker on a mission to help women embrace purposeful simplicity in everyday living. She is the Founder of Simply, Life on Purpose, Co-Host of The Purposeful Home Podcast, and a lover of good books, good wine, and salty sea breeze. You can connect with Kelsey more on Facebook, Instagram or in her online community, The Simply Life on Purpose Sisterhood.