Your boys are still very young and will probably do their best with small jobs and with you involved.You sound very busy, and although it makes sense to have them complete tasks while you are doing something else, they probably don't see it that way. Try involving them in your chores instead of expecting them to go off and do their own right now.
For example, you want their rooms clean. Set a schedule for your day, and include chore time. Then say, it's time to tidy our rooms, and get after it. They can help you make beds, you can set a timer to see who can put the most toys in the baskets before it goes off (you do it too from time to time to make it fun for them) things like that. Have them help in your room too. They can fluff pillows, gather laundry, so on.
Have them dust while you vacuum the living room. They can pick up towels and tub toys while you wipe down the vanity. Let them help in the kitchen. Put them on chairs next to you and let them scrub veggies, or put ingredients in bowls. They can set the table or clear the table, empty small trashcans, put recyclables in bins, so on.
At this age, they want to be involved in what you are doing, so let them.
Break housecleaning up in to small pieces and do a little here and there during the day. When you are working on lessons with them, and they get the wiggles, take a break and tackle a room. Think in terms of minutes. "Ok, time for a two minute drill in the living room" and then give them tasks: "you pick up the papers and you put the toys in the basket while I run the vacuum" Then next time switch it around. When a room is accomplished and tidy, celebrate. high fives, lots of verbal praise, hugs, thank yous, a special snack, a quick craft, a fast game, anything, but make sure they are rewarded for a job well done. And praise them in front of others. When your husband returns home, make sure to let him know how hard the boys worked to help with dinner, the living room, whatever.
This takes time, but this family style approach gets the house cleaned in a fun way and you will find you are really pouring some quality time in to your boys and creating some fun memories.
And you will find as they get older, helping out around the house will be a natural for them and you can progress in to assigning responsibilities they can do on their own without your involvement, as long as you set a firm foundation of working with them first.
that is weird how the point system didnt work.
hmm maybe try the naughty corner?
Give them a time limit to complete their tasks, when the time is up, pick up "mums toy basket" and walk around the house picking up any and all of their posessions you find lying around. These items become "yours" for a period of one week. The next time make it two weeks etc. If nothing goes into your basket because theyve done their chores well, reward them.
If they don't do it when you ask them, you guide them to the place they need to be to do the activity. You *must* follow through. They don't do the things because they know you won't enforce it.
Also, *with them* talk about the things that need to be done around the house and set up checklist routines (example: morning list: make bed, pick up stuff on bedroom floor, eat breakfast, brush teeth, wash face, help mom with something; if you include pictures, a non-reading child will be able to follow the checklist on his own). Let them see just how much YOU have to do. This doesn't mean you won't have to remind them or guide them--they are kids. The whole point is that they are supposed to be learning how to do all this so that at some point they can do it on their own; they don't come prewired to be told one day how to do it and are supposed to do it all on their own after that. Look at how many years of schooling we give them! How many times we have to show them how to add, how much practic they need to master their multiplication tables. Learning to maintain a house is no different than learning how to read, write or do math.
ADDED: I just read your other question. You really can't expect children your children's age to help you out without any reminders. Children OLDER than that still need reminders, just less than 4 and 6yo's. Just as you had to change their diapers daily, this is something you need to work on with them daily. Also, be careful about just how much you are expecting them to help you around the house--they are so young. First thing to start with is their own things: set their place at the table, clear their place at the table, pick up their toys, make their bed, pick up the things off their floor. Get a good routine in place--yes, you'll have to help them learn it, which is not the same thing as teaching them how to make the bed; you have to be there for them to follow the routine in the beginning and then whenever the routine falls apart (because it likely will, repeatedly).
Be consistent and follow through. You have to do the chores with them for a week or so, to make sure they know exactly what you expect from them. Once they know what to do, set up a chart that they can easily follow. Use pictures if they can't read yet. Give them a star on their chart after they've done their chores (or each chore) and you've checked them. Give them an extra star if they did something without having to be reminded. At the end of the week, have a little store, and maybe 5 stars equals a candy bar of their choice. Or however many stars you decide. They do need a reward for doing well. They also need to be told verbally by you that they're doing a great job. Kids love to get complimented and will work extra hard when they know it's appreciated.
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