Chores can be a constant struggle for a family, and it can begin to feel like a drag to consistently get everyone on the same page. It’s even worse when you feel like the only one who is motivated to accomplish the chores.
Getting the family excited about helping with the chores is not always an easy task, but here are six tips to help you motivate them to jump in and contribute.
Create a Process
Do you have a process outlined and defined for how you want the chores to be done? Or, at the very least, do you have the outcome you want from the chores well defined? If not, then chances are you are demotivating your family.
There is nothing worse than thinking you have done something correctly, only to find that you missed the mark on what the expectation was. And, this can easily happen with household chores. “Vacuuming the house” can look very differently to different people. For some, this is a quick once-over the most trafficked areas with a vacuum cleaner. For others, this is a deep clean that includes spot cleaning the blinds and drapes, pulling couch cushions off, and getting underneath furniture.
Accurately define the expectations and, if necessary, the process for every chore. This way, everyone knows what it looks like to do the chore correct, and can feel confident and comfortable that they did the job right.
Believer it or not, the more routine you can create out of chores, the more excited your family will be.
Routine creates habit, and habit creates efficiency. The routine will allow each family member to settle in to the chore and really learn it well. They will create natural check points throughout the chore, and begin to be comfortable with the nuances and details of the chore.
For example, mowing the lawn week in and week out creates a routine. You begin to learn how to do it well.
This routine also allows the individual to become more efficient at the chore. Mowing the lawn might start off taking an hour, but with experience, it might be possible to cut that chore down to 45 minutes.
Similar to routine, specialization goes one step further. Specialization gives the individual ownership of the task, and allows them to adapt and modify it as they see fit. Specialization can be incredibly motivational, as the sense of ownership is empowering.
You might have to let go of exactly how you want that chore performed. Giving ownership of the task to someone else in your family means that they get to have a greater say in how it is down.
However, this compromise has benefits. When someone in your family feels that they share a part in owning the chore, they will have a much larger motivation to accomplishing the task. And, they will have a much greater interest in doing the chore well.
Think about the difference in going in to work versus owning a company. You are naturally going to care a lot more if you own the company, compared to someone who is doing a task in exchange for a wage. The same is true on a smaller scale with ownership of chores. Giving ownership of a chore to each family member is incredibly motivating.
Make it Fun
No one things chores are fun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to add some fun to the chores.
Creating a time for your family to all do chores together can make it an interactive experience. Rather than each individual doing their chores at different times of the week, having one time where everyone gathers can build community and make the chore go by faster.
You can also cater the experience to the unique aspects of your family. Do you all share a love of music? Make that a time you crank your favorites, or play a brand new album. Are you a family that thrives on competition? Make a game out of who can clock a “personal best time” on their individual chore.
Chores don’t have to be an awful experience, and adding fun to the mix makes it so that everyone gets more excited about doing what is necessary.
Make It Rewarding
Rewards are a great way to incentivize and motivate. Going back to the example of a job, bonuses and commissions are commonly used to encourage and motivate employees to not only do their job, but to exceed expectations. Companies do this because it works.
For families with children, it’s common to tie allowances to chores. It can be a great way to teach children the value of hard work, and contributing to the family.
Rewards don’t always have to be financial, though. They can come in all shapes and sizes. You can reward with extracurricular activities, entertainment, and time away. You can even reward with tools that help accomplish the chore better. For example, going back to our vacuuming example from earlier, consider purchasing a lightweight stick vacuum as a reward to make the vacuuming chore easier and faster.
A reward can even be as simple as a spoken word of encouragement and praise.
If you are the one responsible for seeing chores through each and every week, it can become very exhausting and frustrating. With that being said, keep in mind that not everyone in your family shares the same perspective you have. That doesn’t make your perspective wrong, but it is worth noting that other family members might not have the same feelings as you about chores.
When you are able to motivate other members of the family to help with the chores, be thankful, both externally and internally. Praise and thank your family when they rise to the occasion and contribute. Share details about why you are thankful, not just glossing over the praise with a quick “thanks.” Help them understand how it helps you and makes you feel appreciated.
Additionally, pause and be thankful internally. Acknowledge that everyone has a different perspective, and be thankful that your family is working to see yours and work together. That is a big deal, and the more thankful you allow yourself to be, the more it will be reciprocated.
Getting your family motivated about chores can be a chore in and of itself. However, it is possible, and having your family excitedly contribute to the household responsibilities will pay itself off in dividends for you.
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Also published on Medium.