When I was growing up I was fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how you look at it) to have an older sister whom I shared a room with who liked to have things clean and tidy. I never had to clean my room because my sister always did it for me. She was constantly moving around the entire house helping my mother out with different tasks. When she was around 14 years old the neighbor paid her to clean her house. And today, my sister still has the same work ethic in her own home. She doesn't go to bed until everything is in it's place. I think my sister was born with a clean gene which some how passed me by. So, the point of this story was to show that some children clean and do chores with out having to be asked, they see a problem and fix it. Other children, I fall into this category, need incentive or lots of reminders to get things done. Here are a few ideas for getting children to do chores.
Sometimes changing your wording is all that needs to be done. Instead of saying "go clean your room" try changing it to sound like something fun. Say something like "I'm going to set the timer for ___ minutes and if you can clean your room and beat the clock then we are going to do XYZ." The incentive can be whatever you want it to be, extra story at bedtime, go outside to play, special time with mom, etc.
Create a duty chart and let your children know that the TV and video games don't get watched/played until the chores are done. Don't' forget to rotate the duties weekly.
Make it fun by making a game out of it. Beat the clock is one my children love. We often create toy chains or book chains which are like an assembly line. One child picks up the toy and then passes it down the line to the last person who puts it in place.
Music can make things fun and move faster. My children always know when I'm in the cleaning mood when I put on my upbeat dance music. Put on some up beat children's music and show them how to clean to the beat.
Make sure the chore is age-appropriate. It doesn't make sense for me to have a 2 year old unload the dishwasher since she can't reach most of the places the dishes go. However, she can set the table if I pull everything out for her.
Before you just start assigning duties to kids explain to them why you are doing it. They are smart and will be able to understand the amount of work for one person to run a house is too much and it would be easier if everyone pitched in. They just need it brought to there attention and explained at a level they can understand.
There are so many ways you can teach children to do chores that I'm sure I missed a bunch. Please share what works for your family.