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Who Does What
Photo: Ron Chapple
It's 6 p.m. and you’ve just walked in the door. The kids are hungry, and they have homework. They also need to practice music and take baths. The breakfast dishes are in the sink, and the dishwasher needs to be emptied. How can you keep up? You can’t, at least not by yourself. Why not work out a solution that benefits the entire family and encourages everyone to work together.

Talk Things Through
Families are a team, and in a team no one really wants to see one person suffer unfairly. Arrange a time where you can have an uninterrupted chat with the entire family about why it is important for everyone to take part in keeping the house neat and orderly.

Explain the connection between having a clean house and having a peaceful home.

Explain safety to your children, They could trip and hurt themselves if they got up in the night and there were toys or clothes lying in the middle of the floor. 

Explain how cleanliness is related to health.

Dividing Things Up
The division of labor in your home should be determined by two questions: “What can you do?” and “What do you want to do?” Not everyone has the capability of doing every task; however, everyone can do something. 

Write a list of all the tasks that need to be accomplished each week, then ask each family member to pick three they would be willing to do.

The leftovers should be assigned evenly. In other words, everyone should have the same number of tasks, and everyone should have tasks that require the same amount of time or are equally difficult.

Rotate schedules occasionally, to keep things fair for everyone.

Discuss the Rewards
Monetary compensation is appropriate for all age groups, even if it is just a dime or quarter. Explain to children that they will receive a reward for their hard work. 

Don’t forget to remind your family about the non-monetary rewards. Praise them for their hard work. Tell them how proud you are. On days they are NOT required to do any chores, remind them that their night off is due to their diligence throughout the week.

Make a Chore Chart
It’s a good idea to have a chart that details everyone’s responsibilities hanging in plain sight. You can use pictures or symbols for non-readers and words for readers. Divide your chart by days of the week. Make sure you put it low enough for everyone in the house to reach it, and make sure you have a place where they can mark off jobs that have been completed.

In this culture, with each family member being more involved in activities outside the home than ever before, maintaining a successful home requires the collective efforts of everyone involved. Sharing the responsibility between all family members is the sensible and fair way to keep your household functioning in a way that is practical and peaceful.

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By Diana Hardin. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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