By the time our kids hit their teens, they were dividing most of the housework between them. We didn't have yard work, but we assigned our 3 sons and one daughter four weekly inside chores (besides caring for their rooms):
- dust the house, including picture frames and door moldings
- vacuum the house
- clean bathrooms (2 1/2)
- wash down kitchen appliances, cupboards, and counters
They also cooked sometimes, messing up a clean kitchen or experimenting on us with strange food combinations. Our rule, which acted as incentive for learning to cook? If you cooked for the family, someone else would clean up. When they cooked or baked on their own, they cleaned up their own mess unless someone pitched in - which the other kids often did. I bought groceries or let them forage the pantry and fridge. Today, they're creative cooks and bakers and know how to keep house.
When parents get too impatient or fussy to let their children help out, we prevent them from learning how to work with others and contribute to a family.
A lack of skill when tackling a new job is a given, no matter what the chore - or future employment, for that matter! Training can be boring and repetitious. It can also be good fun to hang out together and admire what you've done.
- Significance - I'm important and my family depends on my contribution.
- Cooperation - my good work and yours make a difference. Working together, we make a positive contribution to our group.
- Usefulness - what I do is necessary work. Maintaining what we have is resourcefulness that is good for the planet and good for our family.