Daily expectations for your child

5 Smart Chores for Kids With Focus Issues

By Erica Patino

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If your child is easily distracted, it’s best to give him household chores that are specific and that don’t involve a bunch of steps. Here are some chores that can be good for kids with focus issues.

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Young boy feeding his dog outdoors
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Feeding Pets

If your child has trouble staying focused, it may be best to ask him to do chores that involve one step. Feeding family pets is a simple and straightforward household chore. Ask your child to put food in the cat’s bowl or to give the dog a fresh bowl of water. This kind of chore is quick and reduces the likelihood that he’ll get distracted or confused about what he’s supposed to do midway through the task.

Young boy in winter coat and checking the mailbox
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Getting the Mail

Getting the mail is a specific task. You can ask your child to bring in the mail and put it in a specific place, like a mail tray. Taking out the garbage or the recycling is another simple task that has a clear beginning and end so your child can stay focused.

Close up of a girl  in a raincoat and pink leggings walking her cute dog
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Walking the Dog

Kids who have trouble focusing may not have an “internal clock” that helps them keep track of time. That’s why it’s a good idea to specify which route to take. Instead of telling your child to be back in 15 minutes, say where to go: “Please walk Buster down our street until you get to the baseball field. Then turn around and come home.” You may also want to set an alarm on his phone or wristwatch so that it chimes halfway through the walk.

Young boy working the switching on the vacuum
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Vacuuming is another straightforward chore. Show your child how to vacuum. Point out how you get in hard-to-reach corners and other spots. Be specific about where you want him to vacuum. Rather than asking him to “vacuum the house,” ask him to “vacuum the family room, your bedroom and my bedroom.” Making a checklist can also help your child stay focused and know when he’s finished.

Father and son setting the table together
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Setting the Table

Structured tasks are good for kids who have trouble staying focused. If you want your child to be in charge of setting the table, start by showing him how you do it and break the chore into a series of short, single-step tasks like “Get out four plates.” Posting a picture of what the table should look like can help him stay on track and finish the task.

Finding ways to help your child feel like a valued member of the household can be good for his self-esteem. Learn more about the value of asking kids to do chores.

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About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Molly Algermissen

Molly Algermissen, Ph.D., is an associate professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and clinical director of PROMISE.

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