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    Dividing Chores: A Dirty Job, But Somebody Has to Do It

    By Sara Richmond Walls     

    Chores, those daily tasks that get a bad rap of being boring and tedious, are commonplace in households everywhere. They range from trash duty to pet feeding, and everyone in the family is supposed to take part. Often, dividing chores among members of the family can be the biggest chore of all. So where does one begin?

    The most practical place to begin when setting up a chore schedule is defining appropriateness. This is the best place to start regardless of the number of members in the family. Things to consider include age and ability. Obviously, it is not appropriate for a two year old to take out the trash. Nor is it appropriate for a soon-to-be-mother to clean the litter box, as it is not healthy for the pregnancy.

    The next area to consider is preference. This may seem like a selfish thing, but often, giving family members chores that they actually enjoy will help with the entire situation. For example, three chores that I hate are taking out the trash, cleaning the litter box, and cleaning the dishes. My husband takes care of those, while I do the laundry and the “house cleaning,” things such as cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming etc.

    In addition to defining appropriateness and preference, it is important to establish a routine or schedule. Certain chores, such as the dishes and taking out the trash, need completed on a daily basis. Other areas, such as laundry and cutting the grass, may be a weekly chore.

    One thing to avoid when dividing chores is establishing “gender roles.” In other words, there is no law that dictates that the female, be it wife or little sister, should have to scrub the floors, while the male, be it husband or brother, mows the grass. This goes back to the previous paragraph of preference.

    Another important trick to establishing chores in the family is starting at a young age. When your two-year-old is playing with a toy and wants to switch to another toy, ensure that your child puts the first toy away before moving on to the next. This establishes two things: tidiness, and the motivation for your child to finish what he or she began before moving on to something else.

    The last aspect of establishing household chores is avoiding stuck-in-a-rut syndrome. Mix things up once in a while. Keeping the tasks fresh and new will help the family learn, grow, and avoid boredom. Also, you must understand that the established chores may not always be set in stone. If one member of the family is overwhelmed, the rest of the members need to pitch in to take up the slack.

    Now get to work!

    Written by Sara Richmond WallsRate this article:

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