Do you ever feel like the responsibility of keeping your house running smoothly is entirely on your shoulders?
You know that if you ever stop to take a break, things are going to spiral out of control?
No matter how many times you have tried, it doesn’t seem like anyone else will help you out unless you beg…and plead… and nag?
Ugh! All the things that no mom wants to do!
Well in this post I’m going to walk you through how to get your family on board so that you can get some much needed downtime!
Sound too good to be true? Well try out the steps I outline in this post and see for yourself!
This post is Part 6 in our How to Easily Manage Your Home Series. The tips I discuss in the series build upon each other, so I do recommend starting at the beginning right here: How to Easily Manage Your Home Part 1. Then you can get your family on board in a way that will be sure to stick!
As we talk about How to Get Your Family to Help Out around the House, feel free grab a pen and that notebook that you have been using to organize your new routines and take notes.
Or, if you would like to have the same templates that I am using, feel free to grab the Autopilot Workbook. For this post we will be using the Chores by Age Sheet, the Regular Chores vs. Paid Chores Sheet, the Chores for Cash Sheet, the Family Meeting Agenda Sheets, and the Family Chore Calendar.
But if you don’t have the same templates that I do, you can make your own templates in a notebook!
And if you would prefer to watch the post, here is the video:
How to Get Your Family To Help Out Around the House
1) Get Your Spouse on Board
Now, if your spouse is already super helpful around the house and or you don’t have a spouse, you can skip ahead to the next section!
But if you want to get your spouse involved, sit down with them when the kids aren’t around and have an honest conversation with them.
Explain to them how you just can’t do every single thing by yourself.
Tell them about how you need help around the house from them and from the kids.
You aren’t the only person who makes the mess in the house so you shouldn’t be the only person cleaning it up.
Make sure that they are on the same page with you as far as getting everyone on board. Because what you don’t want to happen is for you to sit everyone down for your family meeting and have everyone rolling their eyes…including your spouse.
You want to show up to that family meeting united. Telling your kids, “Hey, this is something that we’re going to start doing as a family, and we’re really excited about the changes that are going to happen.”
Now as you start talking with your spouse, I want you to make a couple of assumptions. I know we aren’t supposed to assume, but stick with me here. I want you to assume that your spouse is not a jerk and that they wouldn’t mind helping if they knew how they could help.
A lot of guys don’t see things the way that we do. We see a messy kitchen and think, “Oh, this needs to be cleaned. I’d better do that.” And they see a messy kitchen and think “Huh. Somebody should clean that.”
Guys often have to be asked, and them needing to be asked doesn’t mean that they’re a jerk or that they don’t want to help us out. It just means that we need to ask.
Then once you and your spouse are on the same page, you can go through each of the steps I outline below and make these decisions together.
That way, when you do show up to your family meeting, the kids know that both parents are on the same page.
2) Assign Chores By Age
The next thing that you’re going to do is think about which chores you can give to each child and how many chores they should be doing each day.
If you have the Autopilot Workbook, the Chores by Age Sheet will tell you which chores each age group can do and how many chores each age group should do each day.
But essentially what you are doing with chores is slowly teaching them how to clean the entire house as they grow up.
Now, you obviously aren’t just going to start them with cleaning the entire house. But you want to be cycling them through all of the chores in the house so that by the time they are 18, they are at least familiar with and are able to do everything required for running a home.
Then when they are on their own, Easily Managing Their Own Home will be natural to them, which is pretty cool!
Something to keep in mind here is that once you assign chores, you want to re-evaluate them every few months to see if those chores are still a good fit for your child and your child’s age.
I’ve learned for my kids that it’s time to cycle through chores when they start to get bored and complain about the chores.
When that happens, try mixing up the chores and giving them some different responsibilities. They are usually excited to learn the new chore and they entertain themselves by setting stopwatches to see if they can shave off time week after week.
Example Chores for Two and Three Year Olds
So here are a couple of ideas for the two to three-year-olds.
They should be doing 1-2 chores per day.
And by “chores” at this age, I mean helping someone else who is doing a chore.
They can help spray cleaner when you are cleaning the bathroom. They can help wipe up spills. Basically, any chore that I was doing when my girls were this age, I was able to find some way that they could help me out with it.
They were learning life skills, getting used to helping the family, and *bonus*, they felt really important.
Example Chores for Four and Five Year Olds
Now four and five-year-olds are quite independent and they can do 2-3 chores per day, depending on the difficulty.
You don’t want your kid to feel like they’re doing chores all the time, but you want to give them enough that they feel like they are helping out.
They have actually done studies and found that children actually enjoy doing their chores when they feel challenged and feel like they’re actually making a difference in their family.
Kids, especially younger kids, really want to be challenged and want to feel like they’re making a big difference.
One thing that four and five year olds are quite capable of doing is cleaning a toilet.
This is still a big job for them and they are learning, so you’ll want to check their work after they are done and make sure they did it correctly.
Another thing they can do is clean the mirrors.
Basically, at this age, give them one piece of a larger chore! So instead of cleaning the entire bathroom, they can do any one part of the bathroom.
It works well to work on the rest of the chore with them so they can be learning all of the steps involved in that chore for when they are bigger.
Another thing I recommend for four and five-year-olds is to have them clean their own dish after each meal and put it into the dishwasher (or dry the dish and put it away if you don’t have a dishwasher).
Four to five year olds should also be able to make their beds on their own and tidy their own rooms.
Example Chores for Six and Seven Year Olds
Then six to seven-year-olds can really start to be a big help around the house.
They can learn to clean the bathroom all by themselves, assuming they’ve learned the little steps along the way.
If you are just starting out and your child is six or seven and they’ve never done chores before, don’t just point them to the bathroom and say, “go clean the bathroom.”
You’ll want to start by showing them the baby steps so they can learn the whole process.
At this point, they can dust the furniture, clear the table, clear the counters, and lots of truly helpful chores!
There is a huge amount of independence at this stage. If you give them a chore and expect them to do it, they will rise to the occasion and be a helper around the house.
Example Chores for Eight or Nine Year Olds
Now eight and nine year olds are able to do even bigger chores.
They should be able to clean the kitchen (with a normal mess in it, we aren’t talking about after Thanksgiving Dinner or anything like that).
And they can do any part of the laundry independently, and even vacuum by themselves.
Chores for Ten, Eleven, and Twelve Year Olds
Then ten, eleven, and twelve year olds can tidy part of the house if you need them to.
They also should start cooking some simple dinners by themselves. If you have kids in this age range, I highly recommend giving them one night a week that they cook so that they can learn this skill and practice it on a consistent basis.
Chores for Thirteen, Fourteen, and Fifteen Year Olds
Then the thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen year olds should be able to mow the lawn and tidy the yard, cook more complex dinners by themselves, and they should be able to do their own laundry from start to finish without any micromanaging.
I highly recommend you have them doing their own laundry by this age because it is such an important skill and it will take a huge burden off of you!
Chores for Sixteen, Seventeen, and Eighteen Year Olds
Then the sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen year olds should be able to do everything involved with running the home.
If you and your spouse both work outside of the home and you have a child between 16 and 18, you could even give them the chore of doing the laundry for the family for the week or a different complex chore. They will be able to keep track and go back and switch the laundry over as needed.
If you are having a child do the laundry though, you may want to make sure that each member is folding their own clothes because you don’t want to overwhelm any one person.
Older children can also teach a younger sibling how to do a chore for their chore.
They should be able to cook pretty much any dinner by themselves at this age, and you could even have them go grocery shopping for you or create a meal plan.
3) Write Down a List
So before you have your family meeting, write out a list of chores that you think each child in your family would be able to do.
You don’t have to decide which chores they will be assigned just yet.
But you should at least have a list of all of the chores that you would like to delegate to someone else.
4) Regular Chores Vs. Paid Chores
This is a question I get a lot: Should I pay my children to do chores or should they just do them?
And the answer is, “yes!”
You want them to have some chores that they do because doing chores is part of being in a family. But they should also have the opportunity to make money by doing extra chores that are above and beyond what is required to keep the house running.
My rule of thumb is that any chores that are required to keep the house running are just part of life and are not paid.
This is things like making the beds, cleaning the bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen, or doing the laundry.
No one pays you to clean your house, and kids have to learn that sometimes you just have to do things that you’d rather not do.
Anything that is extra or above and beyond a regular chore, they can get paid for.
This would be things like cleaning the baseboards, cleaning the windows, deep-cleaning the kitchen, raking the leaves, and cleaning door knobs, cleaning the light switches, or anything that isn’t required to keep the house running smoothly.
So with that in mind, decide on some chores that you are willing to pay for. Then decide how much you are willing to pay for each of those chores.
You want to be sure you decide on the amount you are willing to pay before the family meeting so you don’t end up overpaying for the chores!
Then after the meeting, you want to put this list of chores and how much you are willing to pay for each chore on the fridge.
Let them know that they can put their name next to each chore they would like to claim. Then they have one week to complete the chore, have it approved (make sure you check the chore and approve it after it is done), and get paid.
If they haven’t completed the chore within a week after they claimed it, someone else can claim it!
Now, one rule I like to have with this is that they have to do their regular chores before they can do any paid chores that day.
And this is just an extra incentive for them to get those regular chores done and not skip over them to do extra paid chores.
5) How to Have a Family Meeting
So the next thing you want to do is create a family meeting agenda.
If you have a spouse or significant other, I recommend figuring this out together so that you are both ready at the family meeting to explain the new rules to your kids.
1. Tell the Kids You Need Their Help
Let them know that you can’t do it all. You’re only human after all!
Explain that this will be a huge help for you. Let them know that you want them to be involved and learn how to run the house.
It is important for kids to feel that they are needed.
Don’t be surprised though if your children are less than enthusiastic about this change, they will get used to it!
2. Explain Any New Rules
This is something you and your spouse will want to decide on ahead of time as well.
Will there be any consequences if they don’t do their chores? Will there be rewards if they do complete their chores?
I recommend doing both because some kids are more motivated by rewards, and some are more motivated by consequences. So it’s really a good idea to have both set up and in place.
3. Read the Full List of Weekly Chores
If you aren’t sure how to create this list, check out How to Create the Best Cleaning Routine Ever which is Part 5 in this series.
4. Let Your Children Choose
Then you go around the room and let each child pick one chore at a time that they would like to be responsible for.
The reason you want to let them pick is that there may be some chores that kids like doing more than others, so why not let each person do the chores they prefer!
You will also have a lot less resistance if you can get some buy-in from them by giving them some choice in the matter.
Then you keep going around and letting them choose chores until everyone has enough (remember younger children shouldn’t have as many as older children).
Now, some kids, especially if they’re really young, won’t have any idea what they’re actually capable of and they’ll just want to help out. So that’s when you’ll want to show them the list that you made of age-appropriate chores for each of them, and let them pick from that list.
But older children should definitely know what they’re capable of and what they aren’t.
5. Divide the Rest of the Chores
Then once the children have all the chores that they need, divide the rest of the chores between yourself and any other adults in the house.
I recommend doing it this way because you want the kids to have the first pick.
They aren’t going to like doing chores, but they’re kids. So you want to kind of give them a break and let them pick first.
And when it comes to dividing up the chores among the adults, I also recommend that you let the other adults choose first.
I do this because I know I would rather have some help even if I’m stuck with doing the things that I would rather not do, than to have no help at all.
It just is easiest to get other people’s buy-in when you are letting them choose first.
6. Create a family chore chart.
Then, once you’ve assigned the chores to everyone, create a family chore chart together.
On your family chore chart you will write down which chores are getting done on which day by which person. This keeps everyone accountable to completing their chore every week.
7. Add chores to the morning and evening routines.
Then add the chores to the morning and/or evening routine for each child.
Putting the chores into the routines makes doing chores a habit so that you don’t have to constantly nag people to get their chores done.
Now you may be thinking, why not just do a chore checklist? Well, you can, but I actually prefer to put it on the morning and/or evening routine.
This way the chores become automatic and the kids won’t have to think about when they should do their chores, they will just do them!
We want the house to feel like it is running itself, and the way to make that happen is by creating routines that set us up for success.
8. Discuss rewards and consequences
Again, look at this ahead of time, but don’t have anything set in stone before your family meeting.
We want to get that buy-in from everyone involved. So ask the kids what would be some good rewards if they get their chores done without being reminded.
An idea for this would be if they get their chores done all week long without having to be reminded, then they get to stay up for an extra hour or two on the weekend.
Take into account each child’s personality, and each child’s love language when you are deciding on rewards and consequences. If you don’t know your children’s love languages, check out The Five Love Languages of Children. But I recommend trying to figure out their love languages as you set up these rewards and consequences.
I actually think it’s a good idea to have specific rewards and consequences for each child in your family, because if a reward or a consequence isn’t motivating, it’s not going to work.
It makes much more sense to spend a little bit of time figuring out exactly what would be motivating and what would not be motivating to each person.
9. Explain the chores for cash
Then once you have the rewards and consequences in place, you can explain the chores for cash.
Explain that if they are doing all of their regular chores, they have the opportunity to do some extra chores to make some money.
I hope you found this post helpful for getting your family involved with helping out around the house!
Ready to Start Easily Managing Your Home?
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- A Daily Block Schedule
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- An Evening Routine for Mom
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- A Chore Routine for Each Kid
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