Every mother wants to know how to teach children to do chores. She soon discovers that she has to go through certain phases when teaching children how to pick up after themselves . This starts with asking the child nicely, followed by repeating oneself continuously. Unfortunately mothers soon progress to raise their voices and getting frustrated. I’ve been there and know it all too well.

I’ve discovered that for my teenager and tween twins, the best thing is to make them in charge of their own tasks . This ensures that all my children do chores. Easily said than done, right?

The technique I use is simple enough with two key items. A pen and a paper. Often times I would use a post-it rather than a paper. Though I must admit that the bee in me is attracted to the post-its. My current favorites are available at this link.

The idea is to create a list! A list with clear instructions and reasonable amount of chores. Clarify to the child that upon completing the list, they will be rewarded with the choice to spend time without chores. This is often the best motivator. So how to make it a success?

1. Start by asking the child what needs to be done?

I have seen that asking my child what chores have to be done, allows the list to be a mix of her favorite tasks and what needs to be done. So the list builds quickly and easily.

2. Make sure everyone is part of the process.

One thing to make sure is to include everyone! So in our house, the father, the kids and even I get a list. This sets clear direction and a sense of fairness among all.

3. Review the list upon completion.

Make sure you follow up! Otherwise the lists are just a paper with writing. I tend to set a time at which the list holder has to check in with me. This makes the child think that it also as a game.

Living in Canada, everyone in the family needs to pitch in and make the housework part of their responsibility. The mother is the best person to set the tone and to get this done.

Do you make lists for the kids? Or use another method?

Do you want to read more on how I balance work and family? Read more here.

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