Siblings can learn to work together.

How to Encourage Siblings to Work Together With Chores

by Tammy Dray

Convincing siblings to get along can be a battle. For them to get along and work in chores together might require a lot of patience and practice. Rather than emphasizing the importance of working together, show the kids that working with their brother or sister has advantages. For example, they can complete the chores more quickly and easily that way, so they can go back to playing.

1 Set up a chores schedule and plan for them to share some of those chores. If the kids won't choose to work together, set it up so it happens anyway. With time, they might discover that working together has many advantages. Let the kids work out their own arrangement. For example, designate siblings to work together on setting up the table, and let them figure out who will set the plates and who will put the glasses out. This allows children to learn to share responsibility.

2 Set up a payment arrangement for chores. Rather than giving your children a set allowance, pay them for completing specific chores. Create a list of what each chore pays, and pay them more if they complete a chore together. For example, watering the garden pays $1 per child, but if the kids work together on it, they'll get $1.50 each. This teaches children to earn the money through work rather than expect a weekly allowance no matter how many tasks they complete.

3 Ask an older child to teach the younger one how to do something. For example, a 7-year-old should be able to make his own bed easily, but a 4-year-old might have trouble with it. Rather than you teaching him how to do it, let the responsibility fall on the older child, so they can work together on it.

Tip

  • Once the kids start working together on a chore, stay out of it. Don't interfere to tell one child to "do it like your brother" or to compare techniques and speeds. Let them figure out the best way to complete a task and praise them for doing it, even if the results are less than excellent. You don't want to encourage jealousy or sibling fights by making one child feel inadequate.

Warning

  • Some parents don't agree on paying children to do chores. If that's your position, find other ways to reward teamwork. For example, completing a chore alone is expected and carries no rewards, but completing it together gets the children an extra 15 minutes of computer or TV time.

About the Author

Aside from writing experience, I also have coaching/teaching experience, both as an writing coach (currently teaching three workshops at www.coffeehouseforwriters.com) and an ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language)teacher abroad. I'm a certified Nutrition Consultant and fitness trainer and a longtime contributor to health/wellness publications, from Self to Marie Claire. I am fluent in Spanish and have worked as a translator and a language instructor. I also have two books forthcoming in 2008.

Photo Credits

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