Our religion recommends that we have weekly family meetings called Family Home Evening. Sometimes we just do something fun together, sometimes we talk about goals and things that are not going all that great in our home at the moment, sometimes it’s a chance for us to learn together as a family. These times have been extremely important for our family. It gives us a chance to do those things that we know we should but never seem to make time for.
One topic I try to address at least a few times a year is that our family needs all of us to work together if we want to be happy. We are all on the same team and when we remember that a family should be a place where everyone feels comfortable and loved then everyone is more likely to succeed. I’ve addressed this topic in various ways over the years based on whatever we seem to be struggling with at the time and the ages of our children. I thought that creating a series of posts sharing each one might be a good resource for everyone.
Division of labor/Doing Our Chores
I actually saw this idea again recently in an article about a new book (it can be found here), but it’s something we’ve done a few times. This lesson comes with a warning though, don’t let it turn into a situation where you are guilt tripping your children (or spouse). Keep it focused on taking action in the present and don’t bring up past failures of anyone in the family.
You will need index cards and pens or pencils and that is it.
Brainstorm and write down chores that need to be done. Put one chore on each index card. If you have young children you might want to do this step before hand so they don’t lose interest. I’ve even done this without writing anything on the index cards, I just asked my family to name chores and we gave a blank card to the person who usually completed that chore. But if your children are older it might help to have the chore on the card for the discussion after dividing them.
Pull a card, name the chore and give it to the person who usually does that chore. Often the visual is eye opening for everyone. It’s very obvious who does the majority of the chores. I usually just have the kids point out who has the most cards and then move on.
We talk about why one person might have more cards than another (i.e. time and availability, age, understanding, and ability). I then ask each person to take one of their cards out that represents the chore they dislike the most. Then I tell them to put it back in the middle of the table. I ask what happens if they decide to just skip doing this chore? They pretty quickly make the realization that someone else has to do it. Then I ask who usually ends up doing it? And they usually realize it’s the person who already has the most cards. We talk about how when we don’t do what we should, it doesn’t just go away or happen magically. Someone else has to do it, and that someone else usually already has a lot to do. We then talk about chores that might need to be moved to someone else. We talk about the ones that my kids feel they are ready to learn how to do, and we make a plan for learning it. This lesson has been a great “attitude adjustment” for everyone in the family when people start feeling ungrateful or entitled.
Share in the comments if you tried this. Did you make any changes? How did it go?