Divide the Household Chores
Solving the Endless Division of Duties Fight Between Husband, Wife and Kids
By: Kelby Carr on: Sat 23 of Jun, 2007 [02:19 UTC] (13260 reads)
If you're fighting with your husband, wife or kids constantly over household chores, it's time to take control of the situation. You can have a cleaner house, and fewer fights, by establishing a fair division of duties between everyone in the family. Here are tips on dividing household chores fairly.
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It can be a constant complaint that everyone in the household feels they are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to chores. Maintaining a household is hard, and the first thing you need to do is think hard about what others are in fact doing around the house. Then thank them for any help with household chores they currently contribute.
Prioritize Household Chores
The first step to establishing a division of duties for household chores is to make a complete list of the core chores. This doesn't mean all the little extras, but these are the chores that must be done daily or the chores that must be done weekly for the house to be livable.
You will probably quickly notice something: there are a lot of chores to do! You might even also be surprised when you realize you aren't doing some of these at all, and someone else is. Or other family members could get enlightened as to how much you do. This is a big achievement in itself.
You will also quickly realize it can't all be done in any sort of realistic realm of the universe. So that means it's time for everyone to discuss what is most important, like doing dishes, doing laundry and picking up the living room.
Get Organized About Household Chores
Go buy a posterboard of even a large wipe board. You will want something large enough to write down each day of the week and each chore. You may even want a second section to organize the chores by family member. Be sure you get markers with one color per family member for ease of use.
Who Does What Household Chores?
This is where it really gets interesting. Now that you have a list of all the chores, first let everyone volunteer for the one chore they want the most. Often times, one person hates doing dishes while they don't mind laundry. Another might hate setting the table, but not mind doing dishes.
Continue this method as you work down the list. When you get to the undesirable chores, give each person one item from that list with things like changing the cat's litter box or taking out the trash. If no one volunteers, take all the items and put them in a hat and choose randomly.
Set bigger, more time-consuming chores for the weekend when everyone can pitch in and make those group chores. Each person will have a color from the markers, and your board will have a breakdown of each day and what must be done.
Family members' personal schedules also should be taken into account. The parent who works and commutes and only has a couple waking hours at home,or the kid with lots of after-school activities and homework, could get more weekend chores.
Accountability of the Household Chores List
You should come up with a method for dealing with the times when someone feels he or she is doing more than the fair share.
This can involve a rotation, in which people change chore board colors weekly. The nice part of that is it helps establish empathy so that people who think a particular chore is easy will see otherwise.
Another option is to have an on-demand switch. If one person doesn't like his or her chores or feels overworked, that family member can switch with any other family member. Since you should have a fair division of chores, this should never be a big issue. You should keep it to a maximum of one switch per week to keep things under control.
You can also use allowances to motivate kids to keep to the list, and punishments for not completing chores. The same must go for adults as well, though, with rewards for completing chores and punishment for failing.
Have a Hard Discussion About Household Chores
What is more important to you, your spouse, or your kids? Having an immaculate house or having playtime and movie nights? Is your spouse obsessed with cleanliness, while you are not too concerned about it?
This is a common source of marriage disputes, so find a common ground. This is also a common source of nagging and fights with the kids, so compromise is in order.
By establishing a list of must-do core household chores, you will set the level in writing. Beyond that, you can establish some fun incentives for extra chores. You could even create a fun extra credit list of chores that will yield uber-cool rewards. Or you could consider hiring a housekeeper to come in even just once a month for all those extras.