How to Make Chores More Fun

As parents, one of our most fundamental jobs is to ensure that our kids grow up to be happy, healthy and responsible adults. And that means enforcing sometimes-challenging life lessons and habits, including regularly cleaning and doing chores. And when you want to create good habits of any kind, you have to start by building positive associations. When kids associate tasks and chores with positivity and fun, they’re much more likely to do them now and, even better, keep doing them later. Here are some great ways to make chores more fun.

  • Start with Toy Versions of Cleaning Tools — Help your kids associate cleaning with fun by starting them out with toy cleaning supplies, including vacuums and spray bottles, so they associate cleaning with fun and enjoyment. This strategy also works for bathing and hygiene. For example, you can swap out the boring grown-up version of your toothbrush for an interactive toothbrush for kids or a fun hands-free toothbrush that actually makes brushing an exciting activity rather than a dreadful bedtime task.
  • Blast the Music — Music can make anything way more fun, especially chores and other “mindless” tasks that must be done around the house. Depending on your little one’s age, you can blast kids’ songs or keep it fun with upbeat pop music, hip-hop or classic rock. The key is to make sure you pick something with a happy, joyful tempo, not only to keep the pace up and encourage efficiency, but also to help lighten the mood and infuse a little fun into the routine. Oh yeah, and we probably don’t have to say it, but go ahead and dance, too!
  • Spin the Chore Wheel — Keep it classic but never dull with the OG chore-enhancer: the chore wheel! This one is especially ideal for pre-teens and teens because it encourages independent work and also helps them divvy up the assignments among themselves. What we love about the classic wheel is that it assumes that every family member can do every task and rotate instead of having each family member do one or two of the same tasks each week. This helps kids master many different household chores. You don’t need to go out and buy a fancy game show wheel, either. Making your own chore wheel is half the fun, and it’s perfect for an afternoon craft to keep the kids busy.
  • Give Incentives — Incentives are key to helping parents yield positive behavioral results from their kids. By rewarding kids with a measurable or material item — say, a sticker, money, screen time or a sleepover with friends — you’re helping to forge positive associations. Give incentives routinely over a period of time to ensure that they start to associate these positive feelings not only with the physical reward but also with the feeling of accomplishment and pride.
  • Have Big Kids Teach Little Kids — If you’ve got more than one kid, consider appointing the older one as the Professor of Chores and helping guide the little one through the process. This helps your older children assume some responsibility and ownership over their chores while also encouraging them to get excited about chore time. For the little ones, it makes housework a fun, team effort that they will actually enjoy alongside their sibling.
  • Listen to Stories and Podcasts — Keeping something entertaining playing in the background can take the monotony out of any task, but you don’t want it to be something so entertaining or distracting that your kids get nothing done. That’s why we vote for podcasts or audiobooks over keeping the TV on. Check out this great list of kids’ podcasts that will keep kids and parents entertained on chore day.
  • Turn It into a Competition (and Bring on the Prizes) — Why is it that kids are way more engaged in activities when there’s an element of competition involved? We aren’t sure, but we just know it works. One fun way to switch up chore time is to pit your team — kids vs. kids or parents vs. kids — against one another to see who can do their chores the fastest or the best. Bonus points should be awarded to those who start their chores first! Competition on its own definitely makes the job go faster, but adding in rewards and prizes truly does wonders.
  • Switch Things Up Each Week — Try to remember that, while routine is good, it can also get boring if your kids are forced to do the exact same list of chores every week. Keep track of who did what one week and then make sure to swap the tasks the following week. This is another smart way to ensure that all your kids know how to do all the housework, which can help them keep their own lives neat and tidy when they grow up and have their own space.
  • Hide Treats and Treasures Around the House — Why not turn your Saturday morning chore routine into a fun treasure hunt? This is hands-down one of the best ways to get kids motivated at any age. For little kids, stash small toys or pieces of candy throughout the house. Older kids are easy to motivate with hidden one, five and ten dollar bills. Some fun places to hide treasures include at the bottom of the clean laundry basket (a reward for folding and putting away its contents), in the cleaning supply closet or under something that needs to be put away. Consider hidden cash their allowance!

It’s All About Positive Connections

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to encourage your kids to eat better, exercise more or clean their rooms on a routine basis, if you can make it fun, you can count on a higher likelihood of success. By turning the act of doing chores into an exciting activity or including some unique incentives in the process, you’re building strong, positive associations that will help them forge beneficial lifelong habits.