Instilling a strong work ethic and gratefulness are two concepts I take seriously as a parent. I have found that the most effective way of shaping my little beings to incorporate these is to have them do chores. And a lot of chores! Enough to make them (at least slightly) affect their more pleasurable activities. Assigning the chores isn’t enough; I suggest that you follow up to make sure they’re done and more importantly, done well.
I have vivid memories of my mother announcing that “No, that floor is not clean. Do it again.” (Of course, she was right; I didn’t mop all the way to the wall.) I have to admit I enjoy declaring, “You can not leave the house/play a video game/watch TV until your chores are done.” The obvious and added benefit of chores is that it’s ultimately less work for me.
Pick your least favorite chores.
Is one of them laundry? Assign each child to do their own. I started my kids doing it in 4th grade. Do they do it perfectly? Heck, no. Often times it’s sitting in giant piles on our pool table. But I don’t have to do it, and they’re learning responsibility and consequences every day.
Unloading the dishwasher, feeding the animals, mopping the kitchen floor — all are fair game. Or if your aspirations run higher than that and you take pride in being *that* parent, go for it and assign them: the bathroom.
It’s very easy to get started with a new routine:
Use a chore chart notepad to assign and track the chores.
Pick a design that best suits your child.
Tear-off the weekly chore chart, and tape it up in a place that gets seen by all.
Tip: Tape the chore chart to the cabinet that holds snacks.
Be religious about using them weekly. The consistency will pay off, and for those few short years between mastery of chores and they fly the nest, you’ll hopefully be out of a housework job.