Unless you actually enjoy spending hours scrubbing mud-streaked floors, washing grape juice out of tiny T-shirts, pushing an over-flowing cart through the grocery aisles and cooking up a meal for your family of four and your daughter's BFF, your son's soccer buddy and your preschooler's playdate, creating a household responsibilities list can help to divide up the chores among the entire clan. Creating a chore list, or chart, can help to make the housework more equitable and keep your home running smoothly.
Before taking on all of the cleaning chores yourself, remember that you are a parent and not a maid. There's no reason that your kids can't pitch in and help out when it comes to the household cleaning. Divide the cleaning responsibilities into a list that is manageable for each member of the family. Your preschooler can help you to put away his folded clothes and your grade school-aged child can sweep the floors or dust the living room coffee tables. A tween can do everything that a younger child can, plus more "grown-up" chores such as taking out the garbage. Your teen is ready for more adult-like cleaning chores and can -- according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website, do the laundry, mop the floors, wash the dishes and clean his bedroom.
While it's unlikely that your preschooler will go to the store and buy you a week's worth of groceries, your teen can take on some of the shopping responsibilities. Sit down with your entire family and make a group list of what you need for the week. Include food for meals at home, items to pack for school lunches, cleaning products and toiletries. Explain to your children that making a grocery list will help you to plan meals for the week, eat healthier and make better use of your money. Designate a weekly shopper -- such as you, Dad or your teen. Give the shopper the family list and encourage that person to take younger family members along with them as helpers. Tweens, grade schoolers and preschoolers can help to pick items from the grocery store shelves, carry bags to the car and unpack the food at home.
Turn cooking into a family responsibility, and make it everyone's chore. Create a list of who is cooking which meal and when. For example, your teen may cook Mondays and Wednesdays -- when she has no after-school activities -- you may take on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Dad and your grade schooler can team up for Fridays and Sundays and you can eat out on Saturdays. As long as your teen has some cooking instruction, she can prepare the same types of meals that you would. Younger children, according to KidsHealth, can do more prep-oriented tasks such as measuring ingredients and stirring them together. Never allow your young child -- in grade school or under -- to use a sharp utensil or heated cooking source such as the oven or stove.
Cut down on the hustle and bustle of the before-school minutes by getting the whole family in on the organizational duties. Make a list of each family member's organizational tasks and check them off every day. Task your third grader with packing his bag for school every night before he goes to bed or ask your preschooler to lay out his clothing choice in the evening to avoid an early-morning tantrum. If your child brings different items to school on different days -- such as gym clothes on Mondays and her violin on Thursdays -- make note of these needs on your list.