I have helped raise more than 50 children, some of my own, and some on loan to me, and as any parent knows, getting them to do their chores is often a source of much wailing and gnashing of teeth!
One day inspiration struck, and when I made their lists for the day, I sprinkled in some things I knew they loved to do — a sort of interval training, if you will.
It went something like this:
Wash a load of laundry.
Design a hovercraft.
Put the load of laundry in the dryer.
Play a magic trick on your choice of family members.
Fold the laundry.
Play a game on the computer.
Make your bed.
Read one chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Put your clean clothes away.
Go out into the back yard and sing "Happy Birthday to Me" at the top of your lungs.
Scour the bathroom.
Do cartwheels around the house.
Vacuum the living room.
Play the piano for 15 minutes.
Lay out your clothes for tomorrow morning.
Play with the dog in the yard.
Put your toys away.
Color a picture of your favorite thing to do.
Eric (45), the biggest kid
Fix the leak in the master bath sink.
Kiss your wife.
Change the oil in the van.
Eat the last piece of cake I squirreled away for you in the back of the third shelf of the refrigerator.
Make an appointment to get the dog her shots.
Read a chapter of your favorite book.
You get the idea. If you give them jobs mingled with silliness or fun, they are eager to check things off, and once they are finished with their lists, they are free to do the things they want.
My guys loved this method and couldn't wait to get their lists to see what ridiculous thing I might have asked them to do.
For little ones who can't read, pictures do the trick. Simple stick figures that show them what they need to and get to do make them feel accomplished and grown-up. It is vital for family members to feel as though they are contributing to the good of the household.