How to get your family to help with household chores, starting today

(CNN)With most states ordering Americans to stay at home in compliance with social distancing, household labor might be piling up faster than you can handle.

There are more dirty dishes, more trash, and more areas of the house to organize and keep sanitized.
"Many families are now spending a lot more time at home and on top of each other in a way that I think it will [be] difficult not to see the visible and invisible labor [required] to just run a household. And then on top of that, you're both trying to do your work," said Brigid Schulte, author of "Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time."
"And then you're both trying to manage children and sometimes schooling because schools are closed and childcare centers are closed, and nannies and babysitters are also home and quarantining," said Schulte, who's also director of The Better Life Lab, which provides research and reporting on work-life and family culture.
    "So we're really in a completely new space, as challenging and difficult as it is. It does open up real possibilities to begin to have conversations."
    It can be frustrating to need more help from your partner and kids but not receive it. There are ways everyone can chip in to foster a cleaner, happier and healthier home.

    Switching up routines

    Before the outbreak, Gisel Smith, a primary school teacher in Marietta, Georgia, felt as if she had everything under control. For her three boys, she managed chores, mealtimes and everything else.
    "Now, I feel that those responsibilities -- everybody has to take a little bit of it. Someone has to cook, someone has to clean," she said.
    Smith was typically the one responsible for dinner, and her husband would help by taking their three boys, ages 5, 8 and 14, on a walk around the neighborhood so she could focus on cooking. But now, with her husband's remote work trickling over into evening hours, she doesn't have that time.
    Smith and her husband have started meeting regularly to discuss what's working for them and small details they could improve upon. For example, her husband might make up for the lack of an evening walk by cleaning the kitchen afterward.
    The boys have stepped up, too. A chore sheet the family has on a common area door helps, and the boys can mark the tasks they complete in whichever order they want.
    "Really what has been very helpful for us as a family is to have their chores printed, so they know what to expect, and we don't have to be nagging at them," Smith said.
    The Smiths encourage their boys to understand the value of helping out around the house by telling them the family is in this together, Smith said. "This is a team, and we're a body where one hand does something and the other handles the other things."
    "We talk a lot about how their decisions affect us," she added. "If I decide to not get up one day, it's going to affect everybody. If my husband decides to not clean the garage, it's going to affect everybody.
    "We tell them often, 'This house is yours, you take care of it. We are responsible, and we have to be good stewards of what God has provided to us and take care of it.'"
    Instilling this value system of collectiveness has primed their kids to jump in when they see they're needed.
    One recent morning, Smith made breakfast and hurriedly left the dishes to teach online classes. When she returned to the kitchen, her eldest son had already finished cleaning up. "I think he was very proud of himself, that he just did it without me asking."
    Home life is still hectic, but consideration and collaboration have helped the Smiths adjust to life during a pandemic.

    Parents, wearers of multiple hats

    Bob Ford, an engineer and app developer in Brooklyn, New York, is teleworking while his wife, Catalina, cares for their newborn. The biggest change is having to homeschool their sixth-grader.
    "The lesson plans our son gets from his teachers are a mess, quite frankly, so who is going to work with him every day to sort through what he needs to do for each subject and work with him to make sure he understands the material?" he said.