I have 3 girls and 30,000 pieces of laundry to wash. (Ok maybe I’m exaggerating). In the last 3 days (yes true) I have asked the girls to each go to the laundry room, get their own clean laundry and put it away. Each of them has gone to the laundry room 3 times. Why? Because after the first 2 trips they had still missed some of their own items, which meant there was still a clean laundry pile.
How do I get them to find their items on the first trip? I’d even settle for the second? Do they not recognize their own articles of clothing? (They certainly do when one of their sisters is wearing it?)
After a few moments of pondering the dilemma I remembered the following technique I learned from a Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 last month.
Adding a Small Chore: Here’s how it works.
Because they didn’t accomplish the first chore – getting their own clean laundry-mind you after 3 separate requests. – they will now have a small additional chore. When I asked them to get their clothes initially, I also asked them to fold/match 6 pieces of ‘family’ laundry (towels, wash clothes, linens, match socks etc.) They will now have to each fold 3 times the number of towels/washcloths that I asked them to the first time. So they will each have 18 family items to fold/match. Trust me there are plenty! (sock come in pairs remember!)
By giving them a small ‘additional’ chore they will learn to check and make sure their first chore was done to completion. A small chore is not meant to be a punishment or an overwhelming task (like cleaning the garage or the complete disaster of a bedroom). The goal is to make it an inconvenience so they stop and think – or at the very least DO!
What are some other ‘small’ chores that could be assigned for those minor infractions? You might be surprised how the minor infractions decrease with the addition of a few small chores here and there.