Getting kids to complete chores can be tough — aside from choosing a reward system or chart to work off of, assigning the actual age-appropriate chores, and then seeing the chores through (which feels like a chore for you), you also have to convince your kids of why it's important to help around the house. For New Girl alum and The Neighbourhood star Max Greenfield, he and his wife Tess take a pretty no-nonsense approach when it comes to their roommates — ahem, their two kids, 11-year-old Lilly and 5-year-old Ozzie, completing helpful tasks around the house.
Through his work with Dawn and Swiffer and their "Come Clean to Close the Chore Gap" campaign, the actor shared how the P&G Home Care brands' mission to help families create a more equal division of household work has been "just another way to maybe breach that conversation with our children and get them to do something."
"My kids are now more roommates than they are kids because we're home so much. So it's like, how are we getting together and trying to tackle this household as a team?" he told POPSUGAR. "It's become a real goal of ours to have our kids participate in the maintenance of our daily lives."
However, they're not a chore chart kind of family. "I think the way we divide chores in our house is, there's no list of chores that has to be done, it's just like, if Mom or Dad is doing something and it looks like they could use some help — or if you see them doing something and you feel like you could be of help — take some initiative and join in," he said with a laugh. "It's an ongoing conversation."
"I can't go to sleep unless the kitchen's clean and it's starting to dawn on me that my children don't have that same problem."
And in terms of rewards? Well, the hilarious actor's response was as real as you'd expect it to be. "The reward is feeling good for having been of service to your mother and father, who work really hard to pay for everything." He added: "You want to get to a place where they feel like they've accomplished something, or they feel like they're a part of something when a chore is completed. That's how I feel! I feel like sometimes I look at them and go: 'Am I alone in this?! Do you not feel good when the kitchen's clean?'"
Max sheepishly admitted that he shares one vital personality trait with his eccentric New Girl character, Schmidt: he can't deal with mess. "I can't go to sleep unless the kitchen's clean and it's starting to dawn on me that my children don't have that same problem."
Genes can only pass on so much! Lilly may not be as passionate about household chores as her dad, but she did prove back in April 2020 that she's for sure got his sense of humour. In a series of videos shared on Max's Instagram, the pair poked fun at their adventures in homeschooling, but by May, the series had come to an end.
"When we were making [the videos], we were sitting down every day, overwhelmed by the idea that we had to face a day of school work — a situation that neither one of us wanted to be in. So we would do our best and laugh through it, and then there would always be one or two moments where we'd go, 'That was really funny,' and we'd sort of figure out how to best capture whatever that moment was in a small, little video. And then we'd have fun with it and it'd be sort of our reward for the day," he said. "And then after the third or fourth one she was like, 'I don't really care anymore.' Toward the end it lost all of the effect, so I was like, 'OK, we're done doing these.' They existed for a small period of time and I sort of liked the period that they existed in. But she's getting older now, and she's like, 'It's not as funny anymore.'" Tell him how you really feel, Lilly!
It's probably for the best that he's not adding the pressure of creating funny videos to his daily tasks, because this whole homeschooling thing is really taking its toll. When asked what this period of virtual at-home learning has meant to him, he was honest. "I mean, I don't even know where to begin," he said, laughing. "The headline is: I'm Very Tired. My bedtime is now 9:15, tops. And also, that's not me getting into bed, that's me dead asleep."