No Need To Nag!

by | Sep 7, 2021 | Family, Tips

Please share!

are you nagging too much? 


Man nagging girl sitting at desk

Do you feel like you ask or tell your child to do something and they don’t do it?  Do you feel like you’re nagging your child? What does nag mean anyway? Well, I know that there are days that I feel like a nag. This is because I ask my child to wash the dishes, put their laundry away, get their homework done, or many other things. They do not seem to hear or care that I am asking or really telling them to do something.

The cycle of nagging

In this cycle of nagging, I end up feeling awful. It isn’t something I like to do or want to do, but ultimately, I just want help with items around the house. I don’t ask any of my children to do things they are not capable of doing. I am doing this because, when we work together to get things done we will have more time to be together.

So, I have come to realize that nagging is not the answer. I need to figure out how to help them understand why I would like their help and how to change my way of asking.


Nagging is telling your child repeatedly to do something they may not want to do. It is usually a chore or something they need to do, but they have procrastinated. Sometimes the nagging goes on a few days or a few hours, but it doesn’t feel good for you as the parent or your child. It is frustrating for everyone, including the other family members. And it has more to do with the parent taking on the role and responsibility of the activity or chore that needs to be completed. Ultimately, we want our children to take on the responsibility and learn how to be independent.


father and son brushing teeth
  • Brushing their teeth.
  • Combing their hair.
  • Putting their toys away.
  • Getting homework done.
  • Making their bed.
  • Doing the dishes.
  • Putting their dishes away.
  • Putting their phone/device away.


1.  Nagging doesn’t feel good for anyone. It creates resentment for both you and your child.

2.  Your child will tune you out, which is even more frustrating. The more you ask the more they tune you out. They just stop listening to everything you say.

3.  Nagging focuses on what is not being done instead of the good things your child is doing.

4.  It creates a negative environment in your household. It affects everyone.

5.  It takes the responsibility from your child to you as the parent. Instead of helping your child to become independent, it tells them you do not trust them to complete the task at hand.

Girl with arms folded, parents nagging arms showing


Make sure the task or chore is something that is developmentally appropriate. Does your child have the skills necessary for the chore? If not, it’s helpful for you to show them how to complete the task together. Over time you can gradually step away and they will be successful with completing the task well.

Why is this something you want them to do?  How does it benefit them or the family? We all like to know why we are doing things. When you explain to your child why they are asked to complete household tasks, they are more willing and see purpose in the job.

The ultimate goal is for your child to become independent.

Is there a different way they can accomplish the same task? Sometimes, tasks are accomplished in different ways. I like to sweep the floor, but my husband prefers to use a vacuum. Let your kids have choice in how to get the job done.

Model what it is so they have clear directions of what and how to do it. Teaching your kids how to do chores takes time, but it is time well spent. When you show them how to finish the task correctly, they will be more confident doing it on their own.

When would you like the task or chore to be completed by? Some chores can be put off until later. Are you willing to let your child choose the time frame? If so, they may help them to be more cooperative.


The ultimate goal is for your child to learn to be independent. How can you do that?

Better communication is key. Take time to sit down with your child or family and talk about what needs to be done for everyone to be successful. More importantly, for everyone in the family to feel good about themselves.

Write down what chores need to be done and how often. Make sure everyone has access to them. This can be by using a calendar or having visuals posted where they are seen daily.

Decide who will do what. Have a system of how that is decided. Are you going to draw names out of a jar? Are you going to rotate based on birthdays or activities during the week? Make sure it is clear for everyone.

Gradual Release of Responsibility

Model what is expected. In school we call that the Gradual Release of Responsibility. It consists of the I Do, We Do, You Do model. For example, if I want my son to do his own laundry I need to model this for him. So, I do it with him and talk about each step first. I talk about why it is important with him watching me.

Father and Daughter drawing
Gradual Release Method

I use my laundry first and then do another load with his laundry. The next day we do it together. I might start and then he helps along the way. We do it together. Depending on how this goes it might take a few times to do this together before he is ready to do it on his own. Next, I watch him do it without my help a few times. Then when he shows he is ready I let him do it alone. I create visuals so he has the tools he needs if he forgets some of the steps.

Then decide on a time line for when chores need to be done. Give each other time to complete the chores for each person in the family. Some chores are done daily. Others are done weekly. Some are done monthly. Decide the timeline and write it down. Visuals are very important for everyone.

Last, but not least, how do you know when something has been completed? Are you going to have a visual calendar for your kids to check it off when the chore is completed? Decide as a family how that will look.


Being proactive in what needs to be done, by whom and when will help everyone in the household feel successful. It will also help build independence. This communication will help your family to have more time together doing the things that are fun. Such as, playing games, going for walks, or just hanging out. More importantly, you will feel better as a parent. It is not fun nagging your child. It is frustrating for everyone. 

As parents we want to spend more time with our children. Using this system will help create that positive environment for your entire family.

by Dr. Kim Grengs, Ed.D., Parent Coach

No Need to Nag!

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