Chores & Cleaning Up

Parents Share: Getting a Child to Help With Housework

How do you get your child to help out around the house? Real parents share their ADHD-friendly tricks and tips.

Housework and ADHD child washing dishes
Housework and ADHD child washing dishes

ADDitude asked: How do you get your child to do a chore?

I remind them several times of the privileges they will earn when they are finished. Having ADHD myself, I know how distractions can throw me off course. My oldest child now does his chores without being asked or reminded.
-Annette, Texas

I say, “If you want others to help you, you need to help others. That’s what families do.” Then I throw in, “Do you want me to make supper for you tonight? What would you like?”
-Lisa, Canada

I make a list of chores for my nine-year-old daughter, and she crosses them off as she completes them. The chore chart helps her stay on top of things.
-Kristen, South Carolina

I usually use “when-then” statements: “When you do ______, then we can do ______.”
-An ADDitude Reader

[The Messy Bedroom Cure for Kids with ADHD]

I give him a choice between two things that I need done. One is a nightmare, like cleaning the toilet, and one he doesn’t mind doing, like taking out the trash. I’m happy about whichever chore he chooses.
-An ADDitude Reader

I write each chore on a popsicle stick and put the stick in a “What’s Next?” jar. Each morning my child eagerly takes a stick out of the jar. When the chore is done, he places the stick in the “Done” cup.
-Laurie, California

The one thing that really works is requiring my daughter to complete a big job before going on a nice outing. For example, she has to pick up her room before going on a trip with her grandmother.
-Joy, Connecticut

I do chores at the same time as my son. This lets him see that he isn’t the only one working.
-Denise, Louisiana

[End the Chore Wars!]

I find creative ways to keep him engaged. This means turning sorting laundry into a color-matching game and cleaning his room into a memory game.
-S.K., Wisconsin