Call me a cruel mom or call me responsible, but I'm putting my kid to work. Liam is 4 years old and while he sometimes plays the, "I can't do it" card, I know damn well that my kid is way more independent than he likes us knowing. Enough so that I'm giving Liam more responsibility and with more responsibility is a greater chance for reward. While Liam has always picked up here and there, or cleaned up when he made a big mess, we were never strict in applying the rule. Well that's all changing. One because my kid is way more than capable to do chores around the house and two because I can use it as a way to teach him the perk of earning his own money. Having his own money means I don't have to deal with the break down at Target when he wants to buy something AND it also means automatic silence when he does want something, but doesn't have enough money to buy it. I see it as a win/win.
Now we don't have him doing elaborate things, but enough that it makes a dent on my list. Simple things like making your bed, loading the dish washer, clearing your plate after eating, putting away folded clothes, etc are all things that are re-occurring. The repetitiveness of each chore we give him will hopefully develop into a habit that I won't need to nag him anymore about doing what's on his list. I have to admit that sometimes it actually takes longer to get him to do his chores (ie: making his bed requires a good 10 minutes), but it's not just about getting it done, it's about learning core values.
The incentive of it all though is obviously the allowance. Each day that he does his chores he gets $1 and yes if he misses one of his chores he gets less. While there are times where I've been known to not stick to my threats, an allowance helps me keep my word and make him accountable. He sees his progress every week and is motivated knowing that he needs to money to buy a toy or book he saw at the store.
So while it would take me 2 mins to do his bed or 1 min to clear his plate, it's not about efficiency. It's a learning experience. While he's learning responsibility, I'm learning to let go of control to just take over. So this whole chore thing is an experience for both of us that I'm hoping will help us in the long run.