Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Am I right? I'm right. Right?
They're the worst, and if you're a parent, your dream is to have your kids help you with them, without complaint, and without assistance. In reality, it takes a lot of work to get there, and at the end of the day, sometimes it's easier to just do it yourself.
There are many, many chore strategies that you can find online. I will outline the few that we use, but at the end of the day, their success rate is based on one thing: consistency. Whichever method you choose, you have to stick with it. Always. Even when they throw a fit (and they will), and even when the last thing you want to deal with is complaining because you've had a long day. It's hard, and some days it's extra hard, but once you get your kids over the shock that you are consistently asking them to do chores every day, the fits and complaining happen less and less, until they don't at all (unless they're hangry, because all bets are off then).
In our house, we have daily chores and weekend chores. The only time chores are skipped is when someone is sick (or has a broken shoulder, like Taylor right now) or we are not home due to weekend soccer tournaments, day trips, vacations, etc.
Daily chores are simple:
Put away any clean clothes
Place their dirty dishes in the dishwasher
Clean up and put away any items taken out (this includes clothing, toys, school supplies, etc)
Clean your room
Simple, right? And, they get easier and easier as your kids get into a routine. For example, cleaning their room, once it's being done every day, should be easier. It gets even easier when they realize the dolls they took out and played with for a few minutes this morning, will need to be cleaned up with everything else at the end of the day, so they put them away before they bring out the Shopkins. Consistency and encouragement goes such a long way - something it took me a while to learn.
Weekend chores are a little more intense:
You may have read somewhere about zone chores. This is my version. The key word is "my." At the end of the day, as with all parenting methods, what works for one family is not going to work for another. So once you start a chore method in your house, and you've stuck with it for a while, if it's not working as well for you as you hoped, switch it up! Pinpoint what's not working and what you think will work better. I've gone through many iterations in my chore journey, and for the first time in years, I feel like our current setup is the best fit for us.
Zone chores work by splitting up your home to into "zones" and assigning a zone to each person. We have four people, so I sat down and divided up the home into four equal regions, based on the level of work required. Whatever zone you are assigned, you are entirely responsible for - dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, mopping, etc. We do a deep clean on the weekends and the zones rotate the next weekend, so you are never doing the same zone two weeks in a row. Here's how we break it down:
Kitchen Dining Nook Pantry
Your Bedroom (change your sheets)
Family Room Playroom
Hallway Guest Bedroom Your Bedroom (change your sheets) Zone 3:
Dining Room Living Room Stairs Office Your Bedroom (change your sheets) Zone 4:
Bathrooms (we have three of them) Your Bedroom (change your sheets)
After I determined what my zones were, I made a checklist of what needs to be done in each zone. My kids are asked to refer to it and checks things off as they go. This helps to ensure they've done everything they needed to do before they call it quits. I've turned that checklist into a customizable form for both weekly and daily chores that you can get your hands on here, in addition to a worksheet that will help you sort and assign your zones.
It's also important to keep in mind what your child is capable of. A five year old is not going to be able to do the level of cleaning you will be able to do, or a ten year old will be able to do. In our house, I have an 11 year old and an 8 year old. At this point in their lives, they can easily handle all the tasks required by each zone, except the kitchen. As of now, the kitchen bounces back and forth between me and my husband, and the girls only have to do zones 2-4. Taylor, my oldest, is about a year or so away from being added to the kitchen rotation. I am sure she's thrilled.
If you have younger children in your home that would not be capable of completing all the tasks for any zone in your home, you can easily introduce the idea of zones, and have them complete the tasks they are able to do (dusting, putting items away in the appropriate area, and so on are all very simple chores for young kids). Honestly, the younger you start with chores, the easier it will be as they get older. Believe me, I've been there.
Allowance & Chores:
This is a hot topic, and there are very, very different schools of thought on this. There's the children should receive allowance based on whether or not they complete their chores school and the children should do chores because it's a part of contributing to the family so they should not be paid for it school.
Both schools are passionate and have varying facts to back up their opinion. Whatever. You do you, boo.
In our house, my children get allowance for completing their zone chores, but their daily chores are simply their part in keeping the house clean. It works for us and that's really the only school of thought I care about.
Have you tried chores in your house? What worked? What didn't?
If you need a little help getting started, don't forgot to get your hands on our chore tip, tricks, zone worksheet and chore checklist here.