I should probably confess right now. The title of today's blog post is a little misleading.
That's to say - er - I'm not quite sure our average little family has cracked children's chores. But, before you click back onto your Facebook news feed, I'd like to reassure you that we are trying. And - whisper it - we are having limited success...
A series of recent events prompted me to take a long hard look at what my children were doing to help out round the house and what they could be doing.
A while back, in my blog post on lists, I confessed that our children's morning checklist of simple tasks was waaaayyyyy out of date. To compound my guilt, I then came across this little grid of age-appropriate chores for children that had been doing the rounds on social media. It would seem that my reaction was not an isolated incident. Mothers throughout the land took to internet forums with blushing emoticons, confessing that their children didn't do half the tasks that were 'expected' of a child that age.
Back in Average Towers, my two little 'uns were both turning another year older. And, given half the chance, they were also going to become another year lazier. Time had marched along so quickly that, although I didn't feel all the items on that chart were exactly right for us, I had come to the uncomfortable conclusion that my kids were actually doing less than they were a couple of years ago.
So whose fault was that? It'd be really easy to blame them but, quite frankly, Mr Average and myself had to take the lion's share of the responsibility. And why? Because the hardest part of getting children to do chores is not drawing up an attractive chart, discussing the tasks with them and demonstrating how to do it first time round.
The hardest part of getting children to do chores is to make them stick with it. Day in and day out. But I don't want to become a nag I hear you say! Me neither. But what I want even less is for my child to be the one on the school trip who has no clue how to look after her own possessions. Or for my 19-year-old to be the one in his flat-share whose untidiness grates on everyone's nerves.
Sounds melodramatic? One thing most parents agree on is how fast the years slip away. Starting to give children responsibility at an early stage saves them from a complete reality shock further down the line. Perhaps when someone - who loves them far less than you do - tells them exactly what they think of their organisational skills and hygiene standards...
What's more, if everyone is an active member of the household, then everyone should take responsibility for keeping that household in order. Yes, there are some jobs that you simply can't ask a seven-year-old to tackle. But there are many, many more that you can.
I don't want this blog post to become unbearably long. For this reason, I'm going to write it in two parts. Next time, I'll get down to the nitty gritty of what we're doing here at Average Towers and how it's working for us.