Chores in a Blended Family

Managing Shared Household Responsibilities

When you have a large family, work must be shared when running the home. No single person can or should be responsible for all of the household chores. This includes stay at home parents, you are the only people who have a job 24/7, and you need and deserve help. Chores should be divided equally among the members of the household according to ability. In addition to being helpful working as a team to keep the house in order helps promote unity and personal pride.

As much as your children may object to contributing to the upkeep and general maintenance of the home, doing so builds a sense of community. Working together to the same end promotes a sense of responsibility to one another. It also helps build a feeling of “home” for any family members that are joining an already established household.

No matter how carefully you try to divide chores you will undoubtedly find that your planning will be thought “unfair” by some of your family members. There are ways to help curb this feeling by rotating chores according to ability. Keeping chore charts or chore cards can help keep things organized.

A chart is a simple way of keeping track of who is supposed to be doing what. Simply list the chores that are to be done and the person who is supposed to attend to those chores. As work is completed it is checked off. Chore cards are a little more detailed in nature and can help ensure tasks are done to your satisfaction. Using 3x5 cards list the chore and any special instructions. For example, a card stating “Dishes” may include wiping down the counter and sweeping the floor after a meal. For children who are not yet reading you can paste pictures of the chores onto a card. An example of this could be a picture of a wastebasket that represents trash duties.

Keep in mind that some children have not yet participated in household chores. They will need careful and patient training on tasks you expect them to work on. Don’t be concerned about a job being done to perfection. Learning to do housework well, like anything else, takes practice. Rotate age appropriate tasks regularly and don’t forget to include outdoor chores such as weeding, washing cars, mowing lawns and pool care.

Whether or not to pay allowance to your children is an individual family decision. Some families choose to offer monetary compensation in exchange for children doing chores. Other families believe that contributing to the household duties is part of being a family and no such compensation is offered. Whichever model your family follows, you are not alone, but in good company!

by Cynthia Peterson