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Washing Away the Word ‘Chores’

There are certain things that have to get done in every household. Those things that most don’t look forward to doing, that takes up time, that often is a complete drudgery. We have long since called them chores.

Even the labeling of the task conjures up something to avoid.

No wonder kids seek to avoid them.

Co-Parenting and Chores:

Add co-parenting to the mix, and chores become even more complicated. In the case of separated parents, one or both may already be feeling guilty. To assuage that guilt, they may not want to force the issue of the child doing chores for fear of an impact on their relationship.

But what if we changed the perspective and didn’t call them chores?

How to Change the Perspective:

We don’t even really need a word for chores, just a perspective: There are things that need to get done regularly for us all to enjoy our personal, as well as communal space in the home. These are tasks that enable living healthily.

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We can engage in these tasks on our own or provide mutual support or aid in so doing. We can enjoy our company and achievement and we can also take pride in a collaborative accomplishment, rewarding ourselves for the task completion.

  • “Say son, let me help you with your room and then I would really appreciate a hand with mine.”
  • “Many thanks for chipping in, I really appreciate your help with this.”
  • “Let’s get the dishes out of the way so we can watch a movie together.”


With all of the above, we no longer have chores, but activities through which we learn to support each other and take pride in accomplishment, reinforced by a reward.

Tips to Ditch Chores:

If you want to ditch chores yet still get things done around the house, consider these tips:

  1. Remove the word from your vocabulary. Instead, present opportunities to collaborate for a mutual benefit.
  2. Show excitement versus drudgery. Express gratitude for any degree of accomplishment. Have a mindset of building up versus tearing down.
  3. Worry not about what goes on in the other household. Concentrate on facilitating responsible and collaborative behavior in your own home. With that you may be less influenced by guilt and more influenced by building rapport through activity helpful to all.


Any activity with your kids is an opportunity for positive engagement. Kids who are helped to engage in responsible behavior tend to be better adjusted, more empathetic and act more altruistically.

Ditch “chores.” Take joy and pride in collaborating in the care of one’s personal and communal space.

Therein, all may feel good about oneself and each other.

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