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Working Together

 

 

 

by Kelly Kirkendoll Shafer

 

(An Excerpt from “29 Ways to Make Your Stepfamily Work”)

 

 

Many hands make the load lighter – and make the house messier too!  Stepfamilies usually mean more people in the home. It’s important that all family members are required to pitch in to help around the house. Resist the temptation to do it all yourself. Learn to delegate. Not only does it build the family up, but giving the children age-appropriate jobs that truly contribute to the home improves their self-worth.

 

This doesn’t mean you won’t get any complaints (you will), but approached with a loving attitude and a united parental front, the complaints will dwindle. Rotating the chores may help too, so no one gets stuck with the same job for long. Or, giving them ownership of a particular job may be simpler when kids travel in and out of your home.  We started with simple, rotating chores, but switched to set ones when they were older (and we required more help from them).

 

Here’s a sample rotating chore schedule. Use it to create one that works for you:

 

 

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Child One

Empty trash cans in house

Wipe down kids’ bathroom

Clear table

Set table

Child Two

Set table

Empty trash cans in house

Wipe down kids’ bathroom

Clear table

Child Three

Clear table

Set table

Empty trash cans in house

Wipe down kids’ bathroom

Child Four

Wipe down

kids’ bathroom

Clear table

Set table

Empty trash cans in house

 

It’s also fun to tackle projects as a team.  You can turn cleaning into a “party.”  Turn on fun music and invite the whole family to a sock- folding, dusting, yard work or car washing party. Younger children may join in more willingly than teenagers. Let the teenagers invite friends over to help, or afterward as a reward. Celebrate a job well done with a special treat – ice cream for everyone or a special family game night.

 

Our Story

With two children, three stepchildren and more pets now than I care to disclose, our home gets dirty fast. To help, we’ve developed a chore schedule and pay the kids a modest allowance, half of which must go in the bank for college (they hate this now but will thank us later). Their chores include a daily job and a job they must do once a week. At first, we weren’t sure how to handle the allowances, since my children and stepchildren do not spend equal time in our home. We decided no one gets penalized financially for not being here. Each child does his/her job when they’re with us, and we pick up the slack when they’re not.


© 2003 Kelly Kirkendoll Shafer 

 

Kelly Kirkendoll Shafer is a mother of two/stepmother of three (ages 8-15), freelance writer, speaker and the author of "29 Ways to Make Your Stepfamily Work." She is a regular contributor to Your Stepfamily magazine, the official publication of the Stepfamily Association of America, and she publishes the Stepfamilies Work! website and free monthly newsletter. Contact Kelly here kellyshafer@charter.net.


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