Games for Motivating Children to Do Chores

By Samantha Kemp
A game can help transform a mundane task into a motivating activity.
A game can help transform a mundane task into a motivating activity.

Household chores are piling up and your house looks more like the scene of a natural disaster than an organized oasis. You wish that you could convince your kid to help out, but he's too busy playing games or is glued to his cell phone. However, there's a quick cure to this problem: invent your own game. A competitive spirit and enjoyable atmosphere can help motivate your kid to clean up, whatever age he is.

Pick a Card, Any Card

Write down different job assignments that need to be completed on a daily basis. Include easy tasks and more difficult ones. Kids can then take turns picking cards. You can decide whether they get to read them first or pick at random. After the kids take a turn picking, parents can pick a card. This strategy shows that everyone plays a critical role in maintaining the home.

Hidden Treasures

Before chore time, hide a small amount of money or other token items in the locations where the kids will be cleaning. Some options include loose change, scratch-off lottery tickets or coupons that give kids more privileges or a later bedtime for a one-time use. These treasures could be hidden under furniture, under canisters or on shelves that need to be dusted.

Beat the Clock

Kids love a challenge, so setting a clock or sand timer can motivate your kids to clean an area as fast as possible. Or ask each child to clean for an amount of time that's based on her age -- one minute for every year of age.

Horse Race

Showing your child some tangible sign of his progress may help motivate him to get through the work week. Make a small track on cardboard with even spaces. For each day that your child does his chores, allow him to advance a certain number of spaces. If he reaches the finish line by the end of the week, give him a reward.

Musical Chores

Based off of the classical "Musical Chairs" game, Musical Chores offers a similar process that incorporates housecleaning tasks. Play some music and when the music stops, the kids move on to a new chore. Continue until all areas are cleaned up.

Dash for Trash

Give each child a waste basket or laundry basket. A timer provides a specific time in which kids will have to go through the home and remove items that are not where they are supposed to be. The person who gets more items back in their rightful location by the time the timer sounds wins.

About the Author

Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.