Getting Help From The Kids

By Contel Bradford

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series on how to get your children more involved at home. Part 2 addressed expectations and what kids can get out of helping with chores.

So it’s late October and we all have had some time to adjust to the back to school schedule. I don’t know about some of you divorced dads, but dealing with homework, keeping the house presentable for guests, catering to clients and various other factors have made it somewhat difficult for me to adapt.

Desperate to get a better grip on the situation and maintain my sanity during the grueling school season, I turned to the only place I could for help – the little ones.

Not only can your kids lend a big hand in terms of helping out around the house, but they can make the entire household flow much smoother. In this article, I will go over a few ways you can get them to pitch in with as little hassle as possible.


The Chore Chart

First thing’s first – chores. Dads, if you have not assigned chores to your children, now would be a good time to start. Don’t be like me if you can help it – the fool who waited to lay down the law until he was left with no other choice.

One part of this had to do with me not wanting to come off as the drill sergeant my mother used to play. The other was related to the screwed up mentality I developed from being ruler of my domain. It’s my house. I pay the bills. I call the shots. I should be the one who handles all the maintenance, right? Wrong. This type of mentality could have you graying or balding far too early.

Although it may seem like a rather simple concept, the chore chart is a valuable tool that can bring order to a chaotic household. Determine all chores that need to be completed and allocate them accordingly on the chart.

I have an old school chalkboard attached to a couple of magnets on the fridge, but more comprehensive versions can be easily downloaded, printed out, and displayed how you see fit. Get your kids in on the action and it may even result in a little fun, at least before the chores actually start!

We didn’t have a chore board when I was growing up, but it seems to have worked very well for my younger sisters. Back in my day, I was forced to remember everything and suffer the consequences if I forgot. Lucky for them, my sisters grew up in mom’s lenient reign of parenting.


Sibling Harmony

Some fathers need help that extends far beyond chores. For example, maybe the new work schedule makes it difficult to pick up your youngest child from school. Perhaps some days just leave you too physically drained to check over homework with a keen eye.

If you have kids with a nice age distance between them, the older siblings can help fill the gap. Let big brother or sister know how much you and the younger sibling would appreciate their help. Use your authority as a parent or even give them a light guilt trip if you have to.

If you guys already have a good relationship, getting older kids to help out with siblings (without groaning too much) should be considerably easy. Rivalries will always exist in some form or another, but deep down, most siblings will take a bullet for each other, even in their childhood years. At least you’ve got that on your side.

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series on how to get your children more involved at home. Part 2 addressed expectations and what kids can get out of helping with chores.


Contel Bradford is a professional freelance writer, journalist, and published author of multiple books. He specializes in many areas, including legal, divorce, and family-related topics. You can learn more about his services by visiting

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