Parents!  Raise your hand if you have been feeling guilty about barking, “Clean your room!” at your children now that the school year is in full swing.

Kids are up and out early, concentrating on doing their best all day.  They know how to complete the necessary work at home, yet you still find yourself nagging and nitpicking about homework and chores – especially at the end of a long day.  Do you wish you could create opportunities for your child to be responsible for homework and housework without the daily nagging, but aren’t sure how to go about it?

What if you start the good habits they already have?

Yes, sometimes it is difficult to identify the good habits when you are frustrated and focused on what your kiddos are NOT doing.  It is easier to walk around finding fault – especially if you are stepping on it!  Think for a moment and consider,  “What areas of the day are running smoothly?”

For example:

My child gets dressed for soccer practice and is ready to leave on time without additional reminders.

My daughter brushes her teeth in the morning without being asked.

We all sit down to dinner together on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the kids automatically set the table.

Perhaps completing homework is chaotic, but getting ready and out the door for soccer practice runs like clockwork.  Consider the reasons why.  Soccer practice is at a scheduled time.  Also, soccer requires a particular set of equipment that you organize and store for your child in an easy-to-access location.  Soccer is also an opportunity to engage in friendly competition, so your child is motivated to attend.

Now apply those ideas to homework and housework!

Set Time:

Schedule homework time each night – just like a coach schedules soccer practice! When homework is treated as an afterthought, it can be difficult to get started and stay focused. Try setting a time for homework (if that is working for soccer) and stick to it!

Housework often works well as an add-on to an already scheduled routine/habit.  Helping clean-up the kitchen after dinner or tidying up the bedroom floor EVERY NIGHT after brushing teeth are ways to add-on to an established household flow.  Over time, the chore is just another part of the routine.

Set the Environment:

Are you assisting your child with soccer equipment and that helps keep your child on track? Try the same thing with homework supplies!  Make sure the area is clear, have a snack ready, check to see if the pencils have erasers and if they need sharpening.  That little extra attention to detail can have a big impact when your child “arrives” at his/her scheduled homework time.

Housework can be challenging if the expectations are too vague.  Does your child have clear understanding of what a “clean room” should be?  Does he have what he needs to complete the chore?  Can you assist initially and fade the help in bits over time?  Starting with chores that are specific and manageable, makes it easier for kids to feel good about helping!


While homework isn’t always as fun and motivating and playing soccer, the challenge to do well certainly can be – so highlight those moments! Just the other night, my son looked up triumphantly from his algebra problem and commented how good he felt because he knew he had the answer right!  Goooooal!

Motivation for housework doesn’t always have to be sticker charts and allowance.  Feeling a sense of accomplishment and contributing to the family unit are motivators that build over time.  When everyone is contributing without the burden of a parent criticizing the quality of the work, or lack thereof, the mood lifts and motivation rises.

Set the expectations now for homework and housework, so they become a priority.  Look at ways your family works together and apply those systems in other areas.  Set a time and prepare the place.  No need to nag if the expectations are clear and outcomes are positive.  Homework and housework become part of the existing routine. Win! Win!


Thank you for sharing, Leslie!!

This post was contributed by Leslie Gail, M.Ed. of Declare Order Professional Organizing in Chicago, Illinois.

Leslie earned Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education, as well as a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Curriculum.  She likes to joke that she has an advanced degree in "Child's Play!"People have always told Leslie, owner of Declare Order Professional Organizing and consultant for Declare Order Kids, she is “so organized!” Always thinking ahead, Leslie enjoys solving problems and finding ways to simplify. She is passionate about helping others feel empowered and less stressed.  Leslie earned Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education, as well as a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Curriculum. She likes to joke that she has an advanced degree in “Child’s Play!”  One of Leslie’s favorite things about organizing is the instant relief order can bring. What makes her proudest is helping families discover solutions that work for their unique needs. On a personal level, she enjoys the health benefits provided by the physical nature of the job. Organizing makes her heart happy – from the inside out!