Parents Fighting "Chore Wars": Survey Shows Half of US Kids Will Do "Anything" to Avoid Cleaning

Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:00am EDT

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Parents Fighting "Chore Wars": Survey Shows Half of US Kids Will Do "Anything" to Avoid Cleaning

Child psychologist Dr. Michele Borba offers families practical, solution-based strategies to strengthen communication and cooperation when tackling household chores

PR Newswire

SKOKIE, Ill., July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Do you feel like the only person in the house that tackles the housework? According to the CLR Chore Wars Survey, nearly half of kids admit they'll do anything to get out of doing chores, despite parents' best efforts to encourage the entire family to help around the house.  Plus, half of parents admit they spend just as much time arguing with their children about chores as they spend doing them.

To help parents avoid these battles, CLR is partnering with parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba to turn some of the conventional wisdom about chores on its head and provide families with practical, solution-based strategies to strengthen communication and cooperation when tackling household chores.

Chores Are Not Punishments

More than forty percent of kids reported that parents have "taken away a valued possession" as a strategy to getting them to help with chores. Kids were also three times as likely as parents to say that parents have used chores as a form of punishment (37 percent verses 13 percent).  Contrary to how most parents present chores, Borba says to make cleaning less of a "chore" or punishment and more of a family activity.

"Assign a room, hand out cleaning supplies, set a buzzer for five minutes and then dash to your designated area to clean things 'spick and span' before the timer goes off," said child psychologist Dr. Michele Borba. "Kids love to try and 'beat the clock' and you'll have the house back in order in minutes!"

No one knows this better than Alison Gutterman, president of Jelmar, LLC, the company that created the CLR brand of cleaners. As the third generation to run the family business, Gutterman has seen firsthand the struggles that parents encounter. Gutterman, a firm believer in listening to consumers through extensive research, created CLR Chore Wars as a way to make a parent's life just a little easier.

"As a mom and woman business owner, I understand how maintaining a home can be a strain on a family," says Alison Gutterman, president of Jelmar, LLC. "That's why we teamed up with Dr. Borba to shed national spotlight on the issues surrounding chores and offer simple solutions to keep parents and children happy and their homes spick and span! "

"Part of a 60-year-old family business dedicated to clean, CLR Cleaners help families with their toughest cleaning needs – from making kitchens sparkle to convincing children to help with chores," adds Gutterman.

Start Early

Dr. Borba also tells parents that the earlier you expect your kids to take an active role in helping around the house, the easier you'll find it is to get them to lend a hand. Borba states, "Even kids as young as three can help out! Though it's never too late for basic training, it's sure easier to begin earlier."

Assign Responsibilities

Kids admit that they aren't as helpful as they could be around the house, with six in 10 kids admitting they don't typically help with chores unless their parents ask them to.

"It's important to regulate chore requirements for younger kids so they're not overwhelmed," says Borba.  "Distribute chores so little kids and bigger family members are assigned responsibilities aimed at their ability and everyone is contributing their fair share."  

One study found if kids weren't taught how to do the chore by a parent they usually gave up in frustration. (1) Introducing each task by using three steps is simple but important. Teach: Go through the task as you explain each step so your child knows what to do; Supervise: Now watch him to ensure he can handle the job. Inspect: Your child does the chore independently, but knows to anticipate a surprise inspection from you to ensure he's succeeding at the level you expect.  

Additional survey highlights include:

  • No matter who you are, everyone agrees that cleaning bathrooms is the worst!
    • Cleaning the bathroom tops the list of chores both parents (49 percent) and kids (28 percent) dislike doing the most. Although, kids are twice as likely as parents to say that washing dishes is the chore that they dislike the most (27 percent vs. 12 percent).
  • And the MVP Cleaning Award goes to…Mom!
    • On average, parents report spending 8.6 hours each week doing household chores while children report spending only 4.9 hours on chores weekly. Not surprisingly, mothers report spending significantly more time than fathers on household chores each week (9.9 hours vs. 7.0 hours).

Visit and take the CLR Chore War "Alert Level" quiz to better understand your and your child's cleaning personalities and how they interact, and find all of Dr. Borba's tips on avoiding a Chore War at home.

(1)  Study on chores from Pick Up Your Socks...and Other Skills Growing Children Need, by Elizabeth Crary (Parenting Press).

About Jelmar

JELMAR is a vibrant and growing manufacturing company with a broad household cleaning product line including CLR® and Tarn-X® brands of products. Flagship CLR products include CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover, CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner and CLR Septic Treatment and Drain Care. With its unique formula, the CLR brand gets the cleaning job done in virtually every area of the home. New products recently introduced include CLR Stone Cleaners and CLR Stainless Cleaner, designed with the modern kitchen in mind.

CLR Chore Wars Survey Methodology

The CLR Chore Wars Survey was conducted among a national sample of 2,500 American adults ages 18 and older, of which 297 are parents of children ages 12 to 17 years old. Fielding was carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS Global) and the survey has a margin of error of +/- 5.7% at the 95% confidence level.

For children, an online survey was conducted using the field services of Opinion Research Corporation (ORC). It reached a national sample of 253 American children ages 12 to 17 years old. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 6.2% at the 95% confidence level.  


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