Step 1: Assess what needs to be done around the house. Unless you want to be relegated to the status of family maid, understand that running a household is a group endeavor. Be sure to explain this fact to everyone under your roof. Persist, even if moaning ensues.
Step 2: Make a chart for each family member, listing his chores down the side and the days of the week across the top.
Step 3: Be realistic. When assigning chores, consider which tasks your child will be able to complete successfully and may also, possibly, maybe, even just a little bit, actually enjoy. If necessary, demonstrate the proper way to perform the duty and observe your child’s first attempt, offering plenty of encouragement along the way.
Step 4: Give a check mark (or star or smiley face) for each completed task.
Step 5: Review the chart at the end of each week to determine who has done their work.
Step 6: Establish consequences. Reward those who’ve successfully completed their tasks and eliminate privileges for those who haven’t. And stick to it, despite any and all fits and wails. If you don’t, the entire system will fall apart.
- Start early. Even children as young as three or four can learn to contribute in simple ways by, say, picking up their toys, feeding the dog, or carrying cups to the sink.
- Reward your children with praise, not money, for pitching in, lest they consider taking care of themselves, and their family, an optional task. Gold stars? Fine. Gold bars? Not so much.
- Rotate chores on a weekly or monthly basis to help eliminate boredom and also to teach your child multiple skills.