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House Rules for Lazy Kids

by Maggie McCormick

If they could, your kids might sit around all day doing nothing but watch TV. This is not good for their health or their intellectual development. While the standard "Be nice" and "Be safe" apply to any home, parents of lazy kids should choose some rules that motivate the kids to get things done.

Homework First

It's easy for kids to put off doing homework when there are so many other more interesting things to do, leaving them with a pile of work to do well after dinner time, and they may end up rushing through things. Set a house rule that your child has to do her homework before she can participate in other more relaxing activities. If she has a lot of work -- for example, if it will take more than an hour to complete everything -- it's fine for her to take a short break, but her focus should still be on getting her work done.

Clean Up After Yourself

Your lazy child might leave his items strewn about the house. It may not seem like a lot to him -- his jacket sitting on the chair by the door, a book on the coffee table and breakfast dishes still on the table -- but they really add up to a untidy home. Set a rule that he must always put his items back in the proper place. There may be a consequence for non-compliance, such as taking the item in question away or docking allowance if someone else has to clean up after him.

Do Your Chores

Chores build a sense of responsibility, but your child may see them as a drag. Similar to the homework rule, you want to set a rule that chores should come before recreational activities. Of course, some chores, such as doing the dishes after dinner or feeding the dog, may have a specific time your child needs to do them, but when it's time to do the chore, it's time to do the chore. If she's reluctant, set a timer and say that the chore has to be finished before it goes off, suggests Dr. Ruth Peters in an article on Today. This prompts her to get going and finish the task quickly rather than putting it off.

Limit Screen Time

When your child is watching TV or playing video games, he's not doing something else more active or creative. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should watch no more than one to two hours of educational, non-violent programming per day, with children under 2 not watching any at all. A house rule that limits the amount of TV and video games the child has access to will force the child to participate in other activities.

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