Turning Chores into Habits

If I choose to make my bed, it’s a habit. If I feel like I have to do it whether I choose to or not, it’s a chore.

If I agree with the logic behind the action, I can accept it and choose to do it. If I can’t agree with the logic, it becomes a chore. That’s why you may hear a kid ask why when a parent asks him to take out the trash or make his bed. While the right thing is probably to just do it, asking why is a way of trying to align logic sets. I want to know why you want me to do this, so I can do it by choice.

Habit acknowledges free will. Chore does not. From the requester’s perspective: habit is hope. Chore is expectation. Because if it’s my habit, you really don’t have any skin in the game. It doesn’t affect you one way or another if I do it or not. But if it’s a chore, you expect it from me. So not only do I have to do it even though I don’t necessarily agree with the logic behind it, and if I don’t, you have a chore-shaped hole in your heart.

So when you’re trying to get your kids to do something, I would first call them habits rather than chores. And to do that, you have to give them the free will whether to do them or not, while providing them with the logic behind the habit itself.