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Getting Cousins to Help With Chores During Vacation

By Jodie Lynn


My children, six and eight, are expected to do certain chores around the house. Their cousins, who are seven and nine, are not. They will be coming to stay with us for two weeks this summer while their parents go on a cruise. My kids are very excited. However, I would like to have them pitch in and also help with chores, meals, etc. How is the best way to try to motivate these two kids to help with our household during their visit without making them upset or angry?


Simply lay down the rules of your household, not only to them but also their parents. If everyone balks, suggest that they find somewhere else to stay. - R. B. in Oklahoma City, OK


While it is perfectly understandable that your children are excited that their cousins are coming for a two-week visit, for your family's sake as well as your own, bring it up before they get there. Although it seems like an awkward situation, begin by talking to the parents. Think about what you are going to discuss with them before doing so. Perhaps begin by asking how their kids have been doing and how excited the cousins are about seeing and spending time with your kids this summer. Ask for suggestions on what activities that they might enjoy the most on their visit. Then, talk a little about how much your own kids have grown and gotten more responsible at school and around the house this year. Mention the fact that they are given a decent amount of responsibility with their chores. Listen for what kind of response you get and go from there. If they do not bring anything up about their kids helping more at home, it will be up to you to ask. Your options at this point may be to tell them that you expect their kids to pull their own weight with chores while they are at your house, especially since there will be four kids total. You might also ask for their help in talking to their kids about the situation and how best to approach them. If you're uncomfortable with any of this then you'll have to muddle through the two weeks the best you can and bite your tongue.

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© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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