Teamwork at Home: How to Work and Play Together With Less Whining and Complaining

The kids are back at school, parents are back at work, and the chaos of after-school sports and activities is once again upon us, with everyone going in a different direction and household chores quickly getting tossed out the window.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way this year! You just need to apply some strategies from the office to create a strong team at home that has everyone pitching in to keep the house running. When you get home tonight, mark your family calendar with a 30-minute meeting during which you’ll discuss how to work and play together with a common purpose in mind.

Here’s what to discuss during the meeting:

Decide on your overall family goal

An overall family goal gives you all something tangible to work towards. Maybe it’s to evenly distribute chores so you have more time to play on weekends, or start giving your kids an allowance for their contribution to the household. Discuss for a few minutes, and then settle on the one goal that means the most to everyone.

Give your kids a stake in the outcome

Now that you have a goal in place, explain to your kids what’s in it for them. How will they benefit? Is there a bonus if the goal is met consistently every month? On the flip side, what will happen if chores are ignored and goals are not met? How will it affect your kids and the entire family?

Clearly define everyone’s responsibilities

Go into the meeting with a list of everything that has to be done during the week, from laundry to meal preparation to feeding and walking the dog. Ask the kids what they would prefer to do first, and list their responsibilities alongside you and your spouse’s. Post this in a prominent place in the house, like on the fridge or near the back door.

Set deadlines

Let your kids know which chores have to be done every day and which have to be done by a certain time or day – and then trust them to do that. Check in to see how things are going every day and remind them that they can ask for help if they need it – but you will not be doing it for them.

Praise their efforts

For your kids to stay enthusiastic, provide them with regular, positive feedback. They need to know that you are noticing their efforts and the improvements they are making as they get better at a task, like folding the laundry or keeping their sports gear organized.

Ask for feedback and keep fine tuning

Once a week, ask how it’s going. What needs to be changed? What’s working well? What could be done better? Gather everyone’s ideas and then settle on the best solutions.

How does your family work together, stay organized, and keep the household running as smoothly as possible? Share your ideas below!

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