Here are a few things we do in our house (after a ton of trial and error) that seem to keep our boys on track...
1) Bed's are made everyday. (I don't shoot for perfection here, they just need to learn to be responsible for their own things).
2) All dishes are taken to the sink and rinsed off. (Mom's aren't slaves)
3) Dog & cat are feed.
4) Trash is taken out.
5) With Brandon in regards to school: the instant he gets home hands are washed (8 year olds have zero cleanliness), he has a small snack and then it's homework time. I do not waiver at all on this routine.
6) Quiet time is always from 12-1, regardless of age. (Mom needs at least an hour to recharge her batteries)
7) We start getting ready for bed at 7. Showers, bedtime stories and prayers. In that order.
8) TV is turned off at 10:30 am and no video games for longer than 20 minutes (my boys could play for hours if I didn't lay down the law).
9) All toys are picked up before bed. (Remember we aren't slaves)
10) They both help set the table for dinner.
11) Oh, and a biggie in our house: if you don't finish your dinner no more food the rest of the night. And that's a bummer because we're big on dessert here.
And I don't make special food for each kid. You eat what mom makes.
We list all their chores on a chore chart, so we can track their accomplishments.
If all items are meet at the end of the week they are able to redeem their prize.
Which is usually ice cream, or a movie from the redbox, or pizza night (something fun they enjoy).
I find it helps them to say on track and motivates them to want to do their chores.
If you have any ideas you'd like to share on what works best for your kids in your family, start a post and share!