Enlisting Help For Household Chores
Below is a sample of a "Chore List" for family chores. Just write in the chores to fit your home and family. Review the list occasionally -- make sure it keeps working for you. Keep it on a clipboard in a place that everyone knows where to find it.
Say you have twenty chores to do every Saturday. There are five in your family. So each person chooses four chores. Some of the chores can only be done by a parent. Some of the chores are always picked by the same family members. (Parents might like to clean the rooms that guests use, especially if the kids’ standards are not up to the parents’.)
This system works with kids of any age. It also works very well as a new system – even if your kids have not had regular chore responsibilities in the past. BUT, you must be consistent in three things:
- Chores must be done every week (whichever day you choose). This is important because the first time you allow the weekly chore list to go undone, your kids will expect that you will let it go again. They will drag their feet until the struggle becomes too hard for you, and you eventually give up on the chore list. (Kids have a good instinct about how to psych out their parents.)
- You must decide how well you want each chore done. The older the child, the higher you can raise your standards – although it’s unusual for teenagers to rise to your standards without going back to finish a least once. So you should expect the job to be finished, but don’t expect perfection. (Your satisfaction will come after your children have a family and use a chore list with their own kids.) If you see that the chores are consistently being done in a sloppy manner, make a more detailed checklist for each chore, and make the child check it off as he or she does the chore. The chore is not done until you check off the main list -- after you inspect the room.
- Don’t excuse the kids from the chores very often. Otherwise, they will have excuses every week. When you don’t allow them to do what they want to because their chores are not finished, they learn that they better finish their chores in order to do what they want to do. It’s logical, and very easy for them to understand -- even though they will complain that they don’t understand what the big deal is. (Actually, it only takes a few times for them to miss out on fun to learn that the big deal is to follow the rule.)
Making kids do chores isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it is important. Your home and family will run smoother, and your children will grow up as happier and more responsible adults. Good luck with these tips.
Reprinted with the permission of the Heartland Family Service. © 2008 Heartland Family Service
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