5 ways to stop nagging kids to do chores


I never wanted to be a nagging mother. I planned to set clear expectations, and my kids were just going… I don’t know…Listen? They picked up their toys when asked. They would make their bed in the morning. They brushed their teeth at bedtime. LOL forever, right? Because I’m out there nagging my kids to do their chores. And let’s just say I don’t like it.

I feel like the teacher for those old Charlie Brown specials. Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah. I’m sick of reminding my kids five times to put their bowl of cereal in the sink. I’m sick of reminding them to hang up their coats. I’m tired of telling them a dozen times to pick up their wet towels. And I have no doubt, they are fed up too. I mean, at this point, I’m sick of my own voice.

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Not only is it boring and frustrating, but nagging makes me feel like a failure. It makes me feel like a bad mother. As if I had to do something wrong.

If you too feel like your kids aren’t listening, you’re not alone. If you also want to wah-wah-wah-wah-wah teacher on charlie brown sometimes i feel you.

I don’t have any magic tricks or tricks to get our kids to listen every time we say something. I am not a parenting expert; I’m just a mom, like you, trying her best to make it right. It’s not always the case, but I try. Here are a few things that have worked for me and my family.

Find your child’s listening sweet spot.

Maybe they listen best after a nap or right after dinner. Maybe they are more likely to do their chores first thing in the morning or just before bed. Maybe they need lists; maybe they need verbal cues. Whatever the case, finding your child’s preferred method of communication is key.

Say it with one word or no words at all.

I can talk all I want, and my voice is white noise for my children. But if I touch them gently on the shoulder, they focus more on what I’m saying. Often the touch will be enough to get their attention and they’ll do what I ask right away instead of telling me they’ll do it “shortly”. Likewise, experts suggest using a single word, like “towel” instead of “Honey, did you pick up your towel? Please pick up your towel.” (I’m totally guilty of the latter.)

Keep your expectations under control.

It was one of the biggest changes in my parenting. By understanding what is realistic, we have all become happier. That doesn’t mean I let my kids get away with leaving messes all over the house or following them around cleaning up after them. That means expecting my eldest son to do chores first thing in the morning is a recipe for nagging and frustrating. But when I change my expectations and believe he’ll get them done before the day is out, we’re all happier (and the chores are usually done).

Let them have a messy bedroom.

This one may be the most controversial on the list, but hear me out. I hate clutter with a passion. My children, on the other hand, are completely immune to it. As a result, the state of their room (my children share a room) was the bane of my existence. Just one look would make me physically uncomfortable. That is, until I read the advice of Marilyn Oduenyia cognitive behavioral therapist and parenting coach known as The Peaceful Black Mama on social media.

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She urges parents (like me!) to resist the urge to micromanage their children’s rooms so that they can be a refuge for them. As long as there are no safety or health concerns, she recommends “closing the door and minding our own business.”

Let me tell you, it’s easier said than done, but it is truly life changing. We recently got rid of some unnecessary furniture in their bedroom, and since then I’ve tried to have a more passive approach to my kids’ bedroom.

Cut yourself some slack.

I never thought motherhood would involve so much harassment. But you know what? Motherhood is not something like I imagined. I am a work in progress, I learn as I go. And my children too. I still do a few more “friendly reminders” than I would like, but I nag a lot less these days. And we are all happier for it.

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