Kids and “Chores” – Change the Language
Using the word “chores” makes it sound like work – like something Cinderella would have to do for her mean step-sisters! It sounds hard, grueling, and yucky.
I prefer to give kids “responsibilities” based on their age and capability. Everyone contributes to the household, and everyone has responsibilities. Parents have responsibilities around the house, too, and do them cheerfully and proudly. This sets the example and helps to clarify the expectations that everyone participates gladly.
Start off right away. Younger kids can bring their own dishes to the sink. As they get older, they can set the table. Later, they can load and unload the dishwasher. Just make it a routine. Kids get into the routine and don’t think twice about it. They start to see how the family is connected, and how they are needed. One thing can’t get done without another getting done first, everyone has to help out. Kids like the analogy that the family is a team; and we all have our positions to play.
Other family responsibilities might be: getting the paper in the morning, feeding the dog, picking up after the dog, raking leaves, bringing in the mail, or putting the groceries away. For older kids, it might be washing the car, babysitting the younger kids, vacuuming the carpets, or running errands
This is separate from PERSONAL responsibilities, which everyone does for himself: doing homework, making your own bed, brushing your teeth, etc.