I came up with a new game today to get my older 3 children to do chores. This seemed to work pretty well, so I thought I'd share it. It doesn't in any way mean it will work well next time...but it caught them so off guard that they couldn't think of a way to manipulate the rules fast enough for today. :)
Micah (the oldest) started out as the leader. I am constantly encouraging him to lead by actions, not by words. So he got the priviledge of being the leader for as long as he did not talk.
They had to clean the lower level. Unfairly, most of the mess was made by their younger counterparts, which under normal conditions would have sparked many protests from all 3 of them.
Eden and Caleb were instructed that they must follow everything that Micah did. So, basically, "Follow the Leader." If Micah was cleaning up legos, they also had to clean up legos. Etc. Micah eventually figured out some basic signs too to get them to do pick up other things...which would be necessary in moderation, but could easily be manipulated into more of his normal bossiness.
If Micah spoke, his turn was over, and it would be Eden's turn.
If Eden and/or Caleb were not following, then they would be punished (with more chores). However, if Micah verbally tattled on them, he would lose his turn as leader. I can see that this is a potential for manipulation--one follower could sit and refuse to work, forcing the leader to have to tattle or put up with no working--but isn't that just like life?
Oh, and whomever was the leader at the end of the game got 2 cookies, while everyone else got 1. Sweet.
Like I said, they will probably find some way to manipulate the rules next time and revert into their usual fighting and arguing and laziness. But for today it was excellent! :)