As a mom of three, our home has been down the chore path many times. It starts with frustration that I am always cleaning up after the kids with no help, so I develop this elaborate chore chart to hang on the refrigerator for the kids to follow. But I’ll be honest; it always ends with the conclusion that it’s easier if I do the chores myself. I can complete the tasks much quicker, the way I like them done, and without my constant nagging. Anyone else?
This summer, I decided to trudge down the chore path again with a different mindset. To my surprise, it worked. Now, I’m not saying that what worked for my family will absolutely work for yours, but I do think there may be power in the relaxed approach I have found when it comes to chores. And since it truly takes a village, I’m here to share my tips with my fellow mama tribe!
Choose Second Tier Jobs
Do not, I repeat, do not give your children chores that will make or break the cleanliness of your home. That is an immediate setup for failure! Like it or not, those jobs belong to the grown-ups and maybe older teenagers. Instead, give your little ones the tasks that are always on your to-do list but get put on the back burner when there’s simply no time to do them. Then, when they do complete them (even if the job isn’t to your standards), it’s better than nothing! This brings me to my next tip…
Lower Your Standards
My kids are 8, 5, and 3. They try their best (most of the time), but I have accepted that their idea of clean is just not the same as mine. I used to get so frustrated over that, but over time I have learned that I am not willing to fight that battle until they are a little older. However, one question I always ask when they are finished is, “Do you think you did your best on that chore?” and if the answer is yes, then I consider the task completed.
Assign Age-Appropriate Chores
Even with lowered standards, my youngest is not up to the same tasks as my oldest child. Make sure you choose jobs that are achievable for your kids and safe to do independently. For example, my eight-year-old can do tasks like wiping the bathroom sinks and mirrors. On the other hand, my five-year-old is too little to reach the bathroom mirrors safely, so her duty is to refill the toilet paper stash in each bathroom.
Incentives Over Punishment
When I decided to introduce chores to my kids, it was never meant to be viewed as a form of punishment. The purpose has always been to give the kids an opportunity to contribute to our tasks as a family and teach them the responsibility of being a good helper. They understand what their responsibilities are each day and the importance their job is to our family. But let’s face it, life gets busy. There are days when I don’t even have the time to do my own chores, so on the evenings when there is homework, soccer practice, etc. I certainly do not also pile chores on their plate. Chores are not a requirement, so my kids are rewarded with screen time or occasionally money when they are completed.
I hope these tips are helpful in creating a chore routine in your household. No matter how you decide to approach chores, though, just remember the point is to help shorten your own to-do list and not add more to it. If managing your children’s chores starts to feel like a task in itself, go back to the drawing board and try a different approach! Eventually, you will find what works for you and your family.