It’s not always easy to get your family to help more around the house. My stance is, you live in a house. It’s your responsibility to help keep it clean. It’s not any one person’s job and then the others simply “help out”.
But sometimes there’s an imbalance. One person cares more about the cleanliness of the house than the other. That person jumps in and takes care of it and then resents being the only one doing it.
So, I’ve come up with a list of tips for spreading the work around a bit. These are the things I’ve found over the years to be the most helpful but I warn you. There is no miracle cure. I have found, though, that these can open up the lines of communication and get things headed in the right direction.
How to Get Your Family to Help More Around the House
Ask for help.
If it seems like you’re always the one trying to do it all, you might be feeling bitter about it. But have you actually discussed this with your family? Sometimes those around us are blissfully unaware of what needs to be done. Perhaps you might even call them oblivious. 😉 A simple request for help can, at times, make all the difference.
Let go of expectations.
Okay, well maybe only to a degree. When my daughter would help fold laundry as a little girl, it wasn’t done perfectly. Now, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t teach your kids the right way to do household chores but sometimes we have to relax our expectations just a little bit. A little appreciation for the job that IS done can go a long way.
That leads me into this – express your gratitude.
“I really appreciate you pitching in to clean the living room so we could get it done quickly.” “Thank you so much for doing the dishes.” It makes us feel good to be appreciated for our efforts!
Pick your time (and battles) carefully.
My daughter came home from school every day completely exhausted. Asking her to immediately put away her backpack and lunch bag was a sure way to trigger half an hour of non-stop whining. Taking the time to sit at the table with her, have a snack, and enjoy some pleasant conversation was all it took. Once she had that time to decompress, she was able to complete her chores without protest.
Make it part of a routine.
Obviously, there are some chores that crop up and must be completed immediately. You spilled your milk; it needs to be cleaned up now. But in most cases, creating a regular routine can help to eliminate some of the nagging. If I make a plan to unload the dishwasher every morning while waiting for my tea to steep, it becomes a habit. If I asked my daughter to clean the litter box every night after dinner, eventually, I didn’t even have to remind her anymore. And the “I’ll do it later” protests stopped too! Most kids, and many adults, like at least some degree of consistency to their lives.
What kind of rewards? You’ll need to decide that. You may want to give your kids an allowance based on completion of chores. Or you may want to make it something more group-oriented – Hey, if we get the living room tidied up quickly enough, we’ll have time to watch a movie before bed! And sometimes, when the chore is just so icky (I’m looking at you toilets!), even something as simple as a sticker chart can provide that last little bit of motivation needed to buckle down and get it done.
Give everyone some input and choice when it comes to chores.
Obviously, someone HAS to clean the toilet, but maybe it doesn’t have to be the same person every week. Perhaps that person gets first choice of chores for the next week! And since we’re all different, what one person finds the worst chore ever might just be another person’s favorite! Talk it over, make some compromises, and work as a team.
Getting married or getting a new roommate? Sit down right away and discuss expectations for taking care of household chores. Start the kids out when they are young! I had my daughter doing chores as of age 2. Granted, the list of what she could do was quite limited (mostly, helping to tidy up her own toys) but it helped to set a precedent.
Make it fun.
Well, as much as possible anyway. Some upbeat music, dancing around the house while you clean, or even turning chore time into a friendly competition can at least make those tedious tasks a little more bearable, if not downright fun.
You know, I’ve heard this myth about people who actually enjoy housework. I didn’t get that gene so I totally get it when my family members are reluctant to help out. If I could just hire someone to come take care of it all, believe me I would! But we’re in this together and we need to work together to share the load.
Did I miss any great tips for getting your family to help around the house? Share yours in the comments below!