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How to Get Everyone To Do One's Chores

Maintaining a household is a key to any long term relationship. The classic battle over chores can be avoided by taking some simple precautions.


1. Discuss and divide the chores. Every household has certain chores that need to be done. The first step to making sure they are all done on a regular basis is to identify them all. Sit down with all the members of your family who are old enough to do chores and work it out. Letting everyone have a say in their chores and getting them all to agree on their chores will help you get everyone to do them.

1-A. Make a list of every chore that has to be done and how often it should be done.

1-B. Divide the chores up amongst all members of the family.

- Do not get caught up on old fashioned gender roles. If he does not mind washing dishes and she hates it, then he can do the dishes. By the same token there is no reason why a woman could not clean out the garage or mow the lawn. Try to make everyone happy, or least minimize their unhappiness. These are chores after all.

- Make sure that everyone gets at least one chore they do not mind or even like. Try to make sure no one gets too many chores they hate.

2. Make a schedule. Now that you know who does what chore you can get a separate chore calendar and fill in who will do what chores, when. Make sure everyone who does chores knows where the calendar is.

3. Do your own chores. You can never get anyone else to do their chores if you are not doing your own. Make sure that your behavior is a model of how everyone else should be when it comes to housework.

4. Remind anyone who forgets. Gently remind people who forget what their chores are and when they are supposed to do them. Avoid criticism and nagging because they only create resentment.

5. Renegotiate if things do not work out. Sometimes your first arrangement will not work well, so try again. Finding just the right balance might be very difficult. Just keep your mind focused on the harmony you will have once everything is settled.


- Consider other time requirements that everyone has. Children should focus on school and homework, for example. It also may be that one spouse has a job outside the home and the other does not. If this is the case an uneven distribution of chores may be more equitable.

- Use different colored markers for different people on your new chore calendar.

- You may have to have different schedules for different seasons because some housework is weather dependent.

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