Sometimes household chores become a stand-off between all parties concerned. Whoever becomes the most aggravated and irritated with the mounting clutter, chaos, and confusion is the one who ultimately loses and does the job.
Someone’s got to do it!
Mothers for centuries have racked their brains trying to come up with some solutions on the best way to do chores. The Equal Rights Amendment should have addressed this problem, but it didn’t. To this day, the job falls mainly to women. Probably our sensibilities to the aesthetics of our environment are higher than most of our male counterparts. So we pray the prayer of serenity and take control of that which we can, and try to give up worrying about those things we can’t control, i.e. other members of the family recognising and doing chores without being asked.
Many hands make light work
Ideally, the best way to do chores is by dividing up the labour. Simple algebra will show that many hands make light work. So, the strategy is to assign duties to each member of the family at the beginning of the week. Someone will be required to oversee the completion of the listed tasks. The failure of this system occurs when the overseer becomes frustrated and does the tasks that are not completed or redoes tasks not done to acceptable standards.
When composing the list of chores, certain categories need to be addressed: daily chores, weekly chores, and incidental chores that need doing every few months or once a year.
What are the capabilities of each member of the family? Are there some skills that need to be learned to do a chore?
What is the length of time required for each task? Family members’ schedule restrictions must be taken into account.
Will children be paid to do some tasks and required to do others?
What is the deadline for chores to be completed?
Will there be a punishment, denial of privilege, or consequence for not completing the chore by the deadline?
Which tasks are the most important and which are the least? Every family will have their own priorities.
Draw up charts
Once these questions have been answered, charts should be made listing the tasks, the person to whom this task is delegated, and other information such as deadline, rewards for completion, any necessary details about the quality of work, and so forth. This may seem too complicated, but this is the type of system a well-run business would use. So it should apply to a family household, too.
The chart should be placed in a prominent place where it serves as a reminder to all members of the household. For easy identification, each person can be assigned a colour to be used on the chart. For instance, all tasks assigned to Dad could be blue, all tasks for Mom could be pink, and so forth.
Family meetings are just as important as office meetings or board meetings. On Sunday evening before homework or television, the family should hold a meeting to review such things as the Chore List. Those who have done their chores could get a medal or reward such as a pass on a duty for the next week. Those who didn’t do theirs could be penalized by being assigned an extra duty for the next week. Families can have some fun with this, too. For instance, the ones who didn’t do their jobs could get the Dirty Socks Award.
No task too small
This system will evolve and change as children become more able to do more difficult chores. However, even small children can complete simple chores such as setting and clearing the table, emptying wastebaskets and putting dirty clothes in the hamper. The earlier parents start implementing a system such as this, the earlier the children will learn good habits and do their chores as a course of the normal routine.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Doing chores teaches each member of the family that they are part of a team. Every member’s contribution is important and every member’s failure to do their part hurts the team. This is a valuable life lesson. Also, doing chores teaches children survival skills which will help them live independently someday. They will also learn about accountability.
Household chores should never fall on just one member of the family because that does not build family unity. Many families could learn by observing how farm families work. In farm families, everyone gets involved because it is an economic need as well as a general family need.
The best way to do chores is to treat it as a joint team effort and get everyone involved. Doing so will build family pride, individual self-esteem, and family bonding.