Parenting Tips: 5-7 Years

You tell your child to clean up the LegosĀ®. She refuses. After repeating yourself, it’s still not done. What next?


  1. Don’t nag. Your child will tune out and you’ll become more frustrated.
  2. Don’t label your child “lazy” or “bad.” This may lead to low self-esteem.
  3. Don’t do the chore yourself. This rewards the misbehavior.
  4. Don’t overreact and threaten severe consequences, then fail to follow through.


  1. Calmly and clearly specify what the task is. For example: “You need to pick up all the Legos and put them in their box.”
  2. Set a time limit for doing the task and state the consequences of not doing it. For example: “This needs to be done by lunchtime, or we won’t be able to have your friends over to play.”
  3. Ensure that the consequence is fair and that the child cares about it. After one warning, but no repeated threats, follow through with the consequences if the child hasn’t completed the task to your satisfaction.

At this age, children are aware of the rules of good behavior, but they still have trouble consistently following through with their responsibilities. They’re concerned with “fairness” and they’ll let you know when they think the rules of games, chores, or rewards and punishments aren’t fair. It’s important that you give kids this age lots of praise, while still being firm with your expectations.

  1. Divide chores fairly among family members, according to their ages.
  2. Be clear about what the task is and what the consequences are.
  3. Praise and reward the child for doing his or her chores. For example: “Because you’ve done such a good job clearing the table, we’ll have time for a special story or game together!”

From “Good Kids, Bad Behavior” by Jonathan Brush, PhD, MD