Find Your Happy Parent Place

Work as a Team

Getting the whole family involved with chores can lighten any mom's load (and mood). "My kids carry all the laundry down to the basement, feed the dogs, and keep their rooms clean," says Beth Burton, a mother of three from Fairview, Pennsylvania. "Just the sight of seeing them carrying that basket makes me really happy."

Doing chores is good for your kids too. A study at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found that the most reliable predictor for a child's future success isn't his IQ, his social status, or his extracurricular involvement, but rather his participation in household tasks. The key is to get your children to learn about responsibility by pitching in at a young age -- and to stick with it. Try creating a chore chart with rewards for good performance and consequences for not completing tasks. Setting clear expectations will help head off protests and back talk.

"Even a 2- or 3-year-old can tear up lettuce for a salad," says Dr. Newman. "At first your children may balk, but once you get them involved, your whole family will feel closer."

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