Teamwork Makes The Dream Work: How To Share Housework

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work: How To Share Housework

Imagine your home is clean and organized! It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Everyone benefits. And, everyone needs to share the work. Everyone. (Well, we’ll let toddlers and babies off the hook but everyone else should pitch in.)

Setting Expectations

Communication is ALWAYS key when you’re working with others. Families are no exception. Whether your kids are young or old, start with a family meeting to discuss the importance of everyone contributing to the household. From youngest to oldest, every member’s efforts contribute to the comfort and peace of your home.

Let everyone know what the expectations are. All family members should clearly understand:

  • What chores need to be done?
  • Who is responsible for each chore?
  • Will chores be rotated or does the family member ‘own it for life’?
  • How often will the chore be performed and when does it need to be completed?
  • What quality level is expected?
Mother, father, teenage son, and younger daughter sitting at kitchen table having a family meeting

Who Does What

Children (Ages 3-10)

Young children can’t handle complex tasks, but they can still contribute in helpful ways such as toy cleanup and simple chores. Click here for ideas on which chores children 10 and under can do and how many chores they should be assigned each week.

Teens (Ages 11-17)

Teens should take on more significant responsibilities to help around the house AND develop life skills. At a minimum, they should maintain their room. But don’t neglect to assign chores, in addition. If they don’t learn by this stage in life that they play a role in helping others, they will struggle to learn it later in life. (Click here to read 6 reasons that hold teens back from keeping their room organized.) Keep in mind that household responsibilities include in-home work as well as yard work such as mowing the lawn, weeding, and watering plants.

Hands screwing a lightbulb into a kitchen light fixture

Adults (18 and above)

Adults bear a significant share of the responsibilities in a household. Chores include cooking, cleaning, yard work, and even maintenance tasks. Not every adult in the household can fix a leak but everyone can change light bulbs, replace batteries in smoke detectors, and do other simple chores.

Doing Quality Work

“If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” is attributed to the 4th Earl of Chesterfield. The Earl is right! Perfection shouldn’t be the goal (it’s not attainable!) but doing one’s best should always be the goal. Allowing young children and teens to do less than their best does them an unkindness, because it contributes to establishing bad habits they’ll carry forward in life.

Play to Strengths

Recognize and utilize each family member’s strengths, weaknesses, and preferences when assigning chores. This helps make sure that tasks are completed efficiently and with greater satisfaction. For example, if someone enjoys cooking, assign them more kitchen-related tasks. If another excels in organizing, let them take charge of decluttering common spaces.

Expect Quality Work

Encourage family members to take their time and pay attention to detail, ensuring that chores are not rushed or haphazard but completed thoroughly. For young children and teens, this means that you should ‘expect to inspect’ periodically. Typically, the younger the child, the more often you need to inspect their work. If a family member consistently falls short in delivering age-appropriate quality work, approach the situation with understanding. Communicate openly, discuss expectations, and find ways to support improvement. You may want to consider rotating chores to keep tasks fresh and prevent burnout.

A well-maintained home is a collective effort, and every family member has a role to play. By establishing clear expectations, recognizing individual strengths, and fostering a culture of quality work, families build a peaceful, respectful, and loving home for every family member.

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