How Do I get My Children To Do Chores? Please Help

Hello Eya,
God bless you for giving us this forum to learn and become better women, wives and mothers. I have always left comments as an anonymous but today I think I've had it upto here and I need to ask for help before I break down in front of my children. I am a mother of 2 girls and a boy. The girls are older, my boy is still 5.

I had to relieve my house keeper of her duties when I discovered my 13 yr old could not
peel yam to boil. I felt its high time my girls 13 and 9 begin to learn to be women. We live in a small house ( 3 bedroom bungalow). I feel cleaning this house in the morning, mopping and doing dishes shouldn't be a big deal now that they are on holidays. I was wrong, completely wrong. Getting my girls to enjoy doing chores has become the hardest thing for me.

I resorted to making a duty/chores  timetable for them to follow but it's now working. They were involved in the creation of this timetable but getting them to do the chores they chose themselves is very difficult. There is no day I don't scream and yell to get things done. All they want to do is play I dress up games or stardoll games online. After computer, they want to watch Disney, and Nickelodeon all day. When I complain they tell me it's holiday and all they need is rest from the stress of School. Eya dear, if I don't teach them during holidays, if they use all the time having fun and resting, when are they going to learn to do basic things like girls. I am so tired. 

My plan was to teach them how to cook this holiday but its not easy since they don't even want to stay in the kitchen with me. Are there mothers or even a mother facing this kind of challenge or is it that I have failed as a mother?
The younger girl can cook a few dishes cos she used to love helping out, but these days I don't know if she is being influenced by her elder sister. She too is no more interested in helping out. I'm a very busy woman, I can't do all the chores in this house alone. Did I make a mistake relieving the house keeper cos I don't like the way my house looks. Most times, I look the other way and allow the whole place to get untidy so that they become uncomfortable but nooooo, the dirt doesn't affect them in any way.

Children of secondary school age, shouldn't they be the ones in charge of the cleanliness of their house? It is always that the dishes are too many, the pots are too big,  and complains and complains. As I'm writing you now, i'ts 11 am in the morning and they haven't yet had their bath because they are very slow with chores. When they eventually do the chores, it is so badly done just to discourage me from sending them the next time. Even though they can sweep, they sometimes sweep very badly and I have to do it all over again.

Eya, pls help me here. Is there anything I can do to make my children enjoy doing chores?
Tired Mom Roseline


  1. Anonymous4/06/2013

    Don't give up on them, you have to be very stern and assertive with them. And please don't do want oyinbo people do with their children and pay them to do it otherwise they will get the idea that nothing should be done unless it means they will get something in return. They won't learn that you have do things selflessly and I'm being serious. This is what usually happens with children who grew up this way.

    Talk to their father about it and have him talk to them, maybe they might listen to him. Continue to hammer on about it until it becomes natural for them to do it. And please don't excuse your son because he's five. A five year old can sweep as well. Better to get him involved now that he's young rather than when he's older and will tell you that these are 'women things'. Don't forget one day he will move out and have to take care of his home and cook for himself.

    I know of a woman who had countless househelps when she had grown children around. Today, her daughters who one is over 40 and the other two nearly 40 are still not married. These girls used to leave their dirty period underwear for housegirls to wash! Now all they've got is a degree with no family of their own which they want so bad right now. Get your daughters to do the work now. Don't stop pressuring them about it. Please! Not just the daughters, your son too! He's not too young at all!

  2. Madam it is your fault your girls turned out this way because you left the coaching too late, but all hope is not lost.
    First of all withdraw their priveledges from them like the computer games and tv. Then if that is does not work use your cane. Till they do their chores and do them well before you restore these priveledges.
    Recently i had to do a re-evaluation of this househelp issue. We just end up training and equipping other people's children with basic survival skills while leaving our own children ill- equipped. So after much wahala and drama from different househelps i made up my mind that i was done with them.
    My son will be 7 in Sept and my daughter will be 5 next month. They wash up after meals, they wash their baby sister's plates too. Although i tell them to leave the pots and pans. They can tidy up their room and the living room, pack their bags and are generally a big help to me. Long and short of this-no more househelps! Train your children madam and please dont forget the little boy.

  3. All hope is not lost yet Ma,now is the time u stitch in time to save nine. And like the verse in the bible "Train up a child in the way he should grow and when he's old he'll not depart from it.
    While growingup we had not one,not two but like four househelps. And each assigned a specific duty. Even the househelp that ensured we had our siesta. My dad is a strict disciplinarian but then we never experienced his wrath coz then we played little or no part in the affairs at home.
    Then suddenly ma dad decided to let go all the househelps,that was when the whole wahala started for me,,I had to make sure none of us went downstairs after school,we had our siesta dis I always achieved then by telling my siblings see Ojuju Calabar and out of fear they'll sleepoff. I started doing house chores at a very early age,at age ten I cook moi-moi for the whole family.
    How was I able to learn all these,when the househelps left my dad focus was on me,I was always reprimanded for failing to do any chore,my mum was always screaming u must be a pace setter,and one of my aunty dat always visited then just like her brother (my dad) was also a disciplinarian. I learnt how to sweep and wash plates from I had no option than to buckleup.
    Then couple of holidays at aunty Lizzy's house influenced me in no small measure, With time I started enjoyng the chores I do, and just like my mum was hammering then,my younger ones took a cue from me and doing chores at homee seemed somewhat a competition,who will outdo the other. Coz of the encomiums and sometimes materiel rewards that comes with doing ur chores.
    Its no rocket science,stop feeling helpless in some situations,is ur duty as a parent to instill discipline in them. They're just like everyother kid they learn once u teach and persuade them.

    ~BONARIO~says so via NOKIA3310

  4. KNOCK 'EM OUT!!! Lol. Ah, if my mum should see this post, she will get angry and shout at the computer. She says mothers of today are busy looking for friends in their children. They want to be so close to their children that they forget to be parents.

    See, it's not too late but it's remaining small. If they dnt learn now, only the grace of God can help them. On who's tv do they watch the Nick? Who bought the games and computer for them? Take everything away including their favorite clothes. This is not the time to 'reason' with them cos kids can be very 'unreasonable'. Let them cry, beg, get angry, just remain firm! They need some shock therapy.

    I cooked my first meal, rice and stew at age 7. Yes the rice was undone but I cooked it for a family friend, a pastor, who came to see my parents but they werent around. While he waited I decided to play 'mummy'. Till today he always talks about it when I see him and how he had to smile and eat undone rice so that I wnt be offended.

    So Aunty, ur kids are even old sef. Shock them. Involve their Dad, your relatives and even their school and church teachers. When they get scolded all round, they'll sit up. They'll be mad at you now but they'll thank you in future. I'm sure Bonario did not like the training when he was younger but now, he is thankful for it. Dnt let your children insult you later cos people who did not learn this things always blame their mothers later.

    All the best Ma. Remember to always pray for them and declare to their faces that they are hard working children who will never bring shame to you.

  5. Anonymous4/06/2013

    Let me tell u a story. Wen I was younger I hated my mum she would send u on countless errands n wen u frown ull get a slap or more chores I tot I wasn't her child that's y she hated I'm 28 n ill be getting married in may n I knw how to cook n clean n washing is even my best chore. I wake up everyday n thank my mum we r very close now n sometimes I tell her how wicked she was to me and we would laugh about it but I thank her cos wen I cooked our local soup 4 my moda in law she couldn't believe so pls pls pls mk those children hate u now and love u later mich

  6. Anonymous4/06/2013

    Pls don't be tired,it's not yet over. Get their father involved cos child training is for both parents. I remember my younger brother was like dat claiming he's d only boy in d house and all d girls r suppose to worship him and do everything for him. My mum tried her best to no avail but d day my dad showed seriousness, forcefully took him to d kitchen and ordered him to help in preparing d dishes and even flogging him intermittently wen there's a mistake and correcting afterwards,i tell u after dat day since he now see dat nobody is supporting him he succumbed. Up till now as i write he lives off campus and there's no type of food he can't prepare, when he comes home for holiday he does all i mean all the cooking. He'll tell everybody to leave d kitchen cos he wants to pampered us. So Ma,don't relent. Also pray for them,speak positive words into their life. Tell them u can make it,u all cn be good cook and good children. Trust God cos he gave them to u.
    Ahdaisy, i just love d way u put ur comments,so specific. Keep it up.
    Aunty Eya, I've learnt alot from ur blog both cooking and relationship wise. My husband will have nothing to regret cos u've garnished my cooking knowledge big time. U are a blessing. God bless u all. ANI

  7. Kids of today are enjoying!my mother just hated seeing u idle,she would find work for u and u would do it!There was a clear definition of who was the parent and who the child was.
    Methinks parents are just lazy at raising kids nowadays!my neighbor's 12yr old girl isn't even allowed to carry her backpack from the car to their apartment,'mummydear' would carry it and still carry her own stuff,while the girl prattles away.The son who's 13 would sit in the car for the mum to open the gate &come back to drive off.Even washing of their undergarments,a laundry man does it for them!kids aged 17,13 &12!what kind of upbringing is that?
    I get soo angry thinking about it but I'm no busy body so I keep my opinion to myself.
    However when my mum visits,she can't hold it in.hehehe

    1. anonymous3/23/2014

      Na wa o. Even to carry school bag again? Na work be that??? I used to tell my kids that God forbid that I will be picking up after them when they have hands. My dota started washing her undies at 8, and she sweeps and scrubs bathroom too now shes 10.. Cooking she hasnt really started except for frying pancakes and indomie cos she's quite nervous with matches/fire so I'm not so comfortable leaving her before she sets d house on fire. But I call her to d kitchen when ever I'm cooking and she loves to learn. Its my 7 yr old that is a bit spoilt since she's the last. But I'm on her case now too and she must comply. My son too must start washing bathroom too, he only dresses his bed and tidy his room, wash his plate at 8. Im learning o. I can't shout.

  8. Anonymous4/06/2013

    Mummy mummy pls ground them- collect all their favourite toys and password all their favourite channels by giving them condition. That ws d trick my mum used on me cos I ws soooo naughty n it worked. God bless me if I wake up n dnt lay my bed or if I dnt wash dishes or clean up. I hated her back then but nw dat am abt 2 get married I bless her every day.

    Let me share somethin dat happend wen I ws 16. My mum knew that I hate pounding yam n I run frm it, so one day on holiday, she brought out a whole yam and looked straight into my eye sternly saying 'boil d yam b4 I come back and hmmm may God bless u if u dnt' I knw she ws been sarcastic it ws nt easy but I did it n it taught me a lesson that there is nothing like 'I CAN'T'. Nw I can boast 2 say that no one beats my pounded yam lol. Training children 2 do chores also comes wit a life lesson pls take it seriously.

  9. Anonymous4/06/2013

    Am a mother of 3 girls and I can proudly say my girls 10, 8 and 2 are loving doing house work. My 10yr old cleans her room and washes her bathrm too. My 8yr old hates work but who cares; she gat no choice but to work and clean. The ist 2 can cook indomie and prepare a breakfast of eggs and tea for us all. One thing u shd never do is alow ur help do all the work. I make my kids work and my help watchs TV wen its their turn to work. Things like ironing their clothes and washing plates shd be easy for any kid whom the mum is serious to do. Pls maam, don't fail ur kids. They are too precious

    1. FaBuLoUsItY4/07/2013

      yimuuuu @ the last 2 yrs old can cook breakfast of indomie and eggs.. liff story for tortoise

    2. @fabulousity..she said the first 2 can cook. Na wa oo, always looking for errors

  10. The 1st and most important step has been achieved, laying off the help(s).

    Also realize that you can't rush them, it's just like a baby starting school you can't just start boring him or her with times table.

    Now that they have a time-table, be patient but persistent in enforcing it cos they are at a juvenile age, that's the period they want to be stubborn and adventrous...

    Try to give them incentives for cooking or doing chores, create some sort of lively competition in cooking, and be fast to compliment whatever they've attempted either good or bad, remember parents are too regimental and it affect how the kids process issues.

    Lastly, be less hasty, give them time!

  11. Anonymous4/07/2013

    She said the ist 2 can cook and not the 2yr old. Did u read upside down?

  12. Am sure each comment here all boils down to one thing: Discipline.
    Truthfully U even started out late. At 13 you should be able to cross your leg and watch as they cook. At 9yrs I couldn't even remember how many mortars of fufu(akpu) I'd pounded. My parents were relatively ok but mum's a no nonsense taker.
    Like Jayde said, Prayer. I think Prayer first to ask God for wisdom on what/how to do and courage to stand coz it ain't gon be easy. I suggest U get "THE POWER OF A PRAYING PARENT" by Stormie Omartian. Its nice.
    WITHDRAW Computer and TV access until all chores are finished. When you wake up 5 or 6am pick your cain and head to their rooms, time to sweep and clean.
    They will cry but don't be moved, they might even say to your face that you are wicked coz of how you've pampered them but any such comment should be followed by a lash and a chore as punishment. They Must Learn.

  13. I suggest that if they don't do the chores well make them do it repeatedly even if its up to 10tyms or more until u r satisfied nd wit tym am sure they would rather do it well at once dan repeatedly!

  14. Anonymous4/07/2013

    They have acess to Computer and playing games online. Dear,hope you keep a check on what they do online. As for doing chores,keep drumming and forcing them,they will learn. If they don't do it well,don't even do it for them...leave it like that and ask them again to do it again next time. GREATNESS

  15. Anonymous4/08/2013

    I lik dat word( mothers ar lukin 4 frds in their children) ad is very correct u ll see a mother try 2 pleas their children all in d name of not 2 get advice frm bad friend.. 2 much of very tin is bad.... Gettin close 2 dem is nt a bad idea at all(especially d female ones)wen u mak it very obivous 2 dem, they ll start misbehavin.. D true of d matter is dat involve their father.. Bcos u cannot bring dem up alone... Kids do fear their father very well they feel u being d mother cannot do any harm 2 dem but wen u carry their father alone they ll sit up... Ad those of u that ar up 2 28_35 sayin in my time, can u use ur time 2 compare children of ur time did u smoke or club @ d age of 12 but nw it is happenin. Abeg let save d story 4 another day

  16. funky.4/08/2013

    Like some have said you left it a bit late ( though all hope is not lost yet) but you have to bear the pain now for what would have been a lot easier if you had started earlier. It will take more time and has to be gradual, even me that started chores at around 6years of age, I still hate to do them. My first child is six years old now and i get him and his 4 years old brother to do some chores no matter how little which of course will increase as they grow older.

  17. I don't know, I don't think I had much of a say in these matters when I was young. I remember one fine day after I turned 9, life changed for what my mother thought was the better and what I considered the absolute worst.... I started chores, everyday and every weekend especially.

    I don't think anyone ever gets to like them but you get used to them that they become natural

  18. I think it's great to be concerned about teaching children basic skills but I don't understand why "teaching them to be women" or preparing them for marriage is the motivation behind it. Shouldn't every human being be self-sufficient? Knowing how to do chores is one of the basic things you need to be independent because you can feed yourself and maintain your life anywhere you are instead of relying on others to cook/clean. Comments linking the importance of girls' cooking skills to being good wives are just backward. I love the comment about a son and daughter BOTH learning chores. The point should be about raising well-rounded and responsible children, irrespective of gender, not manufacturing the perfect wife as if we run a marriage factory.


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