Now that I have returned to the work force after being a stay at home mom for 10 years, my house tends to look like a bomb was detonated inside of it. This is especially true around the laundry room and common areas like the living room/dining room areas. Toys, clothes and dirty dishes multiply and spread like weeds while I am at work.  Time to enlist the smallest of soldiers into my housekeeping army and delegate duties, as a good general would in this war against the household chores.

It’s never too early to start having your children pitch in and help around the house. I am really good about setting up schedules and charts but really bad about sticking to them.  I have three children, a preschooler, a tween and a teen. So all my bases are covered in the world of “help with the chores” right? In a perfect world yes, in reality no. My kids have never been properly trained in the fine art of household chores and I have always felt it is easier to do it myself than to nag them to do it only to have them do a poor job and then have to redo it myself. Now that I am back to work, this is not doing them or myself any favors, I now realize. So starting this school year I am initiating a chore schedule for all of them. I will enlist them in chore boot camp and train my kiddos to become productive and responsible members of our household.

My preschooler can help with feeding the dog, picking up his toys, sorting silverware, throwing his dirty clothes in the hamper and setting the table. It’s hard not to help him when he whines he can’t do it alone but if I praise his efforts and encourage him he will eventually feel more confident in his abilities. This is a great age because they actually want to help and enjoy any activity that is new and involves time spent with mom or dad.

My tween can take out the trash, cut the lawn, wash the car, change the beds, load and empty the dishwasher, put groceries away, vacuum and sweep the floors. This is the age when an allowance for chores can really help motivate your children to do their chores with less complaints. This age craves independence and welcomes any activity that can prove they can do it themselves.

My teen who is totally anti-chore, is my biggest asset, yet my toughest recruit. She can do almost any chore in the house that needs to be done. Laundry, washing floors, cleaning the bathroom, cooking, preparing grocery lists, washing dishes and windows. Now, convincing her to help without complaint is a rare event and getting a job done with 100% effort is mission impossible. To sweeten the deal with this age you need to hit em’ where it hurts. For most teens that is in the social and technology arenas. No computer time until your chores are done and done correctly usually does the trick. Allowance can help with this age as well if they enjoy spending money on clothes, movies, video games etc.  

Although you are training them for the future they can be a huge help today and the sooner you start the easier it is in the future to increase the complexity of the chores. For a custom downloadable chore chart for kids go to http://www.dltk-cards.com/chart/ . Remember to keep it EZ! Truly, Kristin