How to Negotiate a Chore Contract with a Child: 5 Steps
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You may feel like your words are falling on deaf ears.

If you’re sick of finding dirty socks wedged into the couch and are really irritated that your frustrated words are falling on deaf ears, it may be time to make a chore contract with your child. This agreement between the two of you will hopefully save you the headache from banging your head against the wall. Just don’t faint when he starts doing his chores on time and without being told.


  1. 1
    Sit down with your child and talk about what both of your expectations are for this chore contract. Let him know what chores you would like done. Allow him to add his two cents in on what you’ve listed. Negotiate the list and be flexible. If you want him to pick his toys immediately after playing but he wants to wait until before bedtime, that is do-able. By allowing him to be part of the rule-making, he will feel empowered and more likely to participate in the whole thing.
  2. 2
    Discuss rewards and consequences. If he doesn’t do the chores that he’s agreed to, he could lose his TV time for the day, for example. If he does all of his chores for the week, maybe he could choose a movie Sunday night and you could have a pizza carpet picnic. Make the rewards and consequences something that would motivate him to actually do his chores. If he loses his privileges for going to his aunt’s house that he dislikes anyway, there isn’t much weight in that and he wouldn’t mind missing that anyway.
  3. 3
    Write out the chore contract on paper. This way if he decides to say that he didn’t know he was suppose to pick up his dirty clothes, you can point it out in ink.
  4. 4
    Sign the contract, both of you. Tell him it’s a legal, binding contract after that. That’s right, tell him you can take it the judge and show her the contract.
  5. 5
    Follow through with the rewards and consequences every time. This step is important, otherwise the agreement holds no weight. If you told him he could have one candy bar for every chore and he did 10, well, hopefully he’ll stop after two and you’re know better when you rewrite that contract.


  • Renegotiate and revise the chore contract as needed. If it doesn't seem to be working, try something else, such as different rewards and consequences to add more motivation.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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