I grew up with two sisters in my mother’s home. We were all close in age and all very very different. There were rules to follow of course, but my mom gave us chore charts. She did this when I was little and again when my sisters and I were teens. They were very different as they were age appropriate, but looking back they taught us to do our fair share and to take responsibility for ourselves.
As a little girl, my chore chart had the days of the week (I was learning those), and the chores that I was responsible for and capable of doing. (i.e., making my bed, picking up my room, putting my clothes in the dirty laundry hamper, etc.) My sister and I shared the responsibility of laundry, cleaning our bathroom, dusting and vacuuming as we got older. The chore chart faded away as the things we did became a habit and generally just expected.
As a teen, the chart came back into effect for dividing up chores and keeping us each accountable as individuals. We had a calendar hanging in the kitchen with our initials on the days and order. 1, 2, 3, and repeat. This was our dishes calendar. If our name fell on the day, then we were responsible for doing dishes that night. (no question or hassle, it was there in black and white). NOTE: If our name fell on a day where we had a pre-planned social activity that kept us away at dinner time, the task of dishes fell to my mom, so she had her fair share of dishes nights too.)
As a young child, there were rewards for accomplishing all of my chores and doing them well. Gold stars placed on my chart, a prize at the end of the week (this was either being able to stay up 30 minutes past my bedtime, or maybe watching a movie of my choice, or being able to have a friend over). The consequences for not doing my chores were just as clear (i.e., no TV, no friends coming over, etc.)
These chores taught me to keep my home clean, to respect my property and that of others, to be responsible for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I did not have a difficult or challenging childhood, but my parents had rules and they had good reason for them. Looking back I am so grateful they did. I am the woman I am today because of them. Things like washing the towels and sheets on your bed, vacuuming AND dusting, cleaning out your closet occasionally, are all random things we take for granted as an adult but should thank our parents for teaching them to us when we were young. After all, they taught us to use a spoon, wipe our own tushes, and hopefully to take care of ourselves overall as were grew into successful independent adults.
If you have a little kiddo in your home, I hope you are teaching them to grow into fabulous independent adults. The joy is equal in succeeding as an individual as it is to watching your child succeed, knowing you did a good job.
SIDE NOTE: I was an argumentative child at times. I hated to be told no. I would accept a choice or a reason, but the word “no” sent me through the roof many times. These chore charts outlined exactly what was expected of me and decreased the arguments over all. As I grew older I appreciated conversations with reasons and purpose rather than being “told what to do”. Today as a result, I have a pretty solid foundation and open line of communication between myself and all of my parents. (As I mentioned before, I have two step-parents that also raised me and I respect them as much as I respect my biological parents.)