We’ll start with the good news. The United States is tied for number one with Norway for equal division of household chores between men and women. According to the Journal of Marriage and Family, men contribute 46 percent of the United State’s household chores. The bad news is that housework never ends. Here’s a list of eight ways to enroll your family into helping more around the house. First, however, here is a small list of ways to not get your family to help around the house: nagging, yelling, coercion, and anger. And while these are often our natural inclinations and it might get you what you want in the present, it isn’t effective in the end.
- Routine. If your family knows what to expect and when to expect it, the family will have less to complain about. If, every week, Saturday afternoons are for cleaning, these cleaning sessions become just another family tradition like going to church on Sundays or going to school during the week.
- Set a timer. People operate more effectively when they have endpoints in mind. Kids—and husbands—will be more willing to clean if they know they only have to do if for an hour, or whatever amount of time you agree upon.
- Make it a game. Kids like to play. Make cleaning synonymous with playing. If you have more than one child, you can make it a contest to see who finishes their duties first.
- Give the kids options. Ask your child if they would, for example, rather sweep the floors or wipe the counters. Kids like choices and having one will make them feel like more of the process instead of an employee that must do what they are told.
- Create a reward system. What this looks like is different for every family but it could include a candy for every chore completed or a once a week movie night if they do all of their weekly chores. This can also include an allowance or privileges like going to their friends’ house.
- Set a good example. Don’t just let the house fall apart and, on a whim, ask everyone to pitch in and clean up. Be the person you want your kids to be. Keep your promises, do what you say you will do, create the environment and make your family get used to it, motivate them to maintain it as you would.
- Invite friends or family over. This is a great excuse to get your family to chip in with the cleaning. Everyone cleans up before the guests arrive.
- Reciprocity. Make it a part of your family culture that one good turn deserves another. Be helpful to the family members whose help you want in return. Don’t expect willing assistance if you are not prepared to assist others.
Mia Redrick, Mom Strategist is a mom of three, author and speaker empowering one million mothers to practice better self-care. Redrick is the author of Time for mom-Me: 5 Essential Strategies for A Mother’s Self-Care. For tips from The Mom Strategist visit www.findingdefinitions.com