How to Effectively Assign Chores Between Your Household Members

In today’s world, everyone is busy. Dividing household labor has never been more important, not only for creating balance, but also for making sure your children learn important life skills that could easily be skimmed over for lack of time.

Developing Fundamental Life Skills

In developing societies, children contribute to chores from an extremely early age. The function of a village depends on the participation of all of its citizens, and helping one’s mother and father is not seen as an imposition on a young person’s innocence, but rather an important way to develop fundamental life skills while learning the importance of contributing to society.

Getting Kids to Contribute Early On

Many families believe that involving children, especially young ones, in household clean up can be counterproductive, with too much time spent correcting the details. But actually, the earlier kids begin, the easier it is for them to acclimate to doing household chores throughout their lives.

Pride in Accomplishment

Giving your children chores helps them feel a sense of pride in accomplishment, which in turn builds self-esteem. Cooperation helps them develop the right skills for ultimately living on their own, creating a solid work ethic, understanding about delayed gratification, and enhancing their ability to plan and make decisions. In young children, participating in household chores helps develop their motor skills as they pick things up and put them away.

Let Everyone Know You Need Help

One of the best ways to effectively assign chores between your household members is to let everyone know that you need help. Make a list of all the things that need to be done, and show where the imbalances are if you are doing too much and the others too little. Make it clear to everyone what is involved in keeping a house clean and organized. This is a great way to get everyone on board to do his or her part in creating a balance.

Identifying Chores for Everyone

Identify the chores that each person can do according to their age and abilities. Define all the tasks in terms of their difficulty and assign them accordingly. If someone is resolutely against doing a specific chore, let him or her choose the ones that are more compatible. The important thing is that everyone gets involved. Down the line, this person might change his or her mind and surprise you.

Kids Want to Help

Very young children usually want to help around the house. It’s not unusual to find an 18-month baby picking up dropped things or wanting to help put the dishes in the washer. Let your little one help you, even through it might take longer. Encouraging him or her now creates an enduring sense of pleasure in accomplishing tasks.

Assigning Age-Appropriate Tasks

Making sure you assign chores that are age appropriate is key. When your kids are able to accomplish tasks easily, they take to them with greater enthusiasm. Assign small tasks to your smallest child, like putting toys, crayons, and books back in their places after they’re used. Share chores with your kids, making it fun as you do them together, maybe to the beat of some motivating music. Appreciate what they do. They won’t be perfect, but through time they’ll get better. Praise them and thank them after the chore is done, perhaps making gentle suggestions for next time, but always in the spirit of gratitude for their contribution to the home.

Getting Your Partner to Contribute

When it comes to your partner, sit down and talk about what you need, preferably over a glass of wine or in a moment where things are peaceful and quiet. Find out how much he or she can help out and provide a list of tasks to choose from. Explain that helping more with household chores will allow you keep your energy level up and create more time for everyone to ultimately enjoy down time. Make sure you clarify how much you appreciate what he or she already is doing to contribute. And then remember that when chores are allotted and tackled, he or she may not do them in the same way that you do. Try not to be critical or judgmental. Here again, you can gently suggest alternative ways of doing things if you see that it is really critical to do so.

Creating Teamwork

Creating teamwork when it comes to chores is a great way to get the job done. Maybe Saturday mornings can be the time when you all do the larger cleanup for the week, with one vacuuming, one mopping, one emptying the waste baskets, and one taking out the garbage. Daily tasks should become routine, such as everyone making their own bed, putting away clothing, and keeping their room tidy. Assign who cleans up after dinner, rotating chores when you can so everyone is learning how to do everything in harmony and in service to creating a shared environment that is organized and clean.

Be Patient

Remember to stay flexible and patient. New routines take time to gel, and everyone will have their own rhythm. The important thing is to create habits through consistency.

Assigning Chores

Here’s a little list of age-appropriate tasks that you can think about when it comes to assigning chores to your household members:

•    Age 3 – 4: Help make their own beds, put dirty clothes in laundry, pick up toys
•    Age 5 – 6: Set and help clear the table after meals, fill pet water and food dishes, sort washed laundry, water indoor plants
•    Age 7 – 8: Clean off dirty plates and then load dishwasher, dust furniture, empty waste baskets, fold laundry, keep their rooms ordered and clean
•    Age 9 – 12: Weed the lawn or garden, rake leaves, wash the car, fold laundry, help to prepare meals
•    Age 13 – 16: Clean bathrooms, load and unload the dishwasher, clean the refrigerator, mop and vacuum the floors

Keeping Things on Track

By providing your household members with a schedule for doing specific chores, you create a good system for keeping things on track. Delineate the tasks that should be done monthly, weekly, and daily and make sure everyone sticks with the program After a while it will become routine, and with the right encouragement, it can even become a pleasure as everyone realizes it is due to his or her part that the home functions so well.

Laying Down the Law

Don’t be afraid to lay down the law at first. You can do it with kindness and humor. When your family understands what is needed, chances are they will be willing to dedicate some elbow grease to keep the wheels rolling and everyone satisfied.

Contact Us

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