Start family chores tonight
Schedule a family meeting

Family chores can anchor an entire household system!

  • Are you doing more than your share of household work?
  • Do you resent picking up/cleaning after other members of the household?
  • Do your kids look to you to cook and clean for them?
  • Are your kids getting a little lazy and entitled?
Okay, so you want to involve the family in the household work. Great! How on earth do you get them to agree to doing more work around the house so that you can do less? Here's what I did:

I started by listing in my mind everything required to keep our household going, from big to small, and not just actual chores. Here is my household chores checklist:

  • pay the mortgage
  • pay for food
  • pay the gas
  • pay the electricity
  • pay the water
  • pay the phones
  • pay for fun stuff for us to do
  • pay for clothes
  • go to work to pay for these things
  • cook meals
  • wash dishes
  • go shopping
  • do the laundry
  • clean the bedrooms
  • clean the bathrooms
  • clean the living room
  • clean the kitchen
  • sweep the floors
  • vacuum carpets
  • dust occasionally
  • clean windows (yeah, right)
  • take out garbage
  • mow the lawn
  • straighten up

Holy cow! When you list each and every task, it's quite impressive. No wonder I was exhausted! Okay, with renewed determination and indignation, I was ready to make a change.

Next, I called a family meeting . I was armed with my list and I also took a piece of paper from my kids' drawing tablet and drew a large line drawing of a house.

Here is what I said:

    "Now that everyone in the family is getting older, I am so excited that you are each ready for a little more responsibility and start helping the family!

    I have mostly in charge of all the chores in the household up until now, but I wouldn't be a good mom if I didn't teach you some important things about how to take care of our home.

    I've made a drawing of all the things it takes to keep our house going, from bills to cleaning to cooking to shopping. A lot of those things I'll keep doing, but I wonder what jobs you think you can handle.

    I'm just going to read the list and if you'd be willing to do that job, let me know and we'll talk about it.

    Okay! Paying the mortgage! Did you know that we have to pay a lot of money every month just to stay here? It's true! So does anyone want to take over that job for Dad and me? No? Okay, we'll keep on doing that one."
Then I put my initials next to Pay the Mortgage on my little house drawing. The bills part continued like that, so when I got to something my kids could do, like clean up, they were eager to chip in:
    “Okay, how about Take Out the Trash?”
One hand went up! Woo hoo! So they wrote their initial on that line. And so it went. I didn't have this problem, but if no one agreed willingly to take on more jobs, I would have said:
    “Hmm well, that's okay. I have already decided that I'm not going to do it all and I expected you guys to pitch in since these are family chores, but we could just hire someone to come in and do it for $20 an hour and I'll take it out of your allowance.”

Once you get started, be sure to take the time to actually teach your kids how to clean , how to do laundry , how to cook , and also remember to modify your expectations . In the beginning, it will probably be more work, but in the long run, your kids will be an integral part of your household maintenance team!

When the everyone works together to do family chores, it's a win-win. I take every opportunity to remind them that when I don't have to do all the work, I have more time free to hang out with my kids and read or play games. Good luck with your family meeting to get underway with family chores!

Go to Chores from Family Chores