I am away this week, leaving my husband in charge of the homefront and the chore list. With school, work, and all the activities of a busy family, housework often takes a backseat. Including the kids in chores, while perhaps not the most exciting family activity, is an important step towards independence and responsibility.
My husband discovered that our preschooler enjoys cleaning the bathroom. Why? Daddy makes it fun, of course. Floating the rubber ducks, swishing around the washcloth, and being Dad's little helper make an otherwise tedious job a lot better. Give your little one their own bucket of cleaning supplies; paper towels (we dampen them so he can "scrub" without chemicals), a spray bottle filled with water, a few scrub brushes, and you are good to go for some real elbow grease efficiency.
Both my sons enjoy (don't ask me why) folding laundry, especially when it is fresh out of the dryer, all warm and cozy. Lower your expectations for perfect creases and allow your kids to roll up in the towels, try on dad's shirts, and then tackle folding the pile as best they can.
We keep a chore list on the refrigerator and rewards are handed out immediately upon completion. Adding up the chore accomplishments at the end of the week means an even bigger prize, chosen ahead of time. This method meets the need for "instant gratification" while showing the bigger picture of a long-term commitment to jobs.
Most important, don't forget to go out for ice cream sometimes after the chores are done, especially those really tough ones! Cold Stone Creamery, Dairy Queen, or just make your own sundaes at home. Just make sure somebody cleans up afterwards!