I don't mean to be flippant so apologies now if it sounds it. A friend of mine has 4 boys all now in their teens and older. She swears blind the only thing that works with boys is bribery. "Treat them like you're puppy training".
I don't think the reward system would work for your older 2 but I've recently put my 2.7 month old on a reward /star chart. Blimey, what a difference! I always thought they wouldn't work, but boy was I wrong. My ds now tidies up his toys, helps round the house, cleans his teeth, and finishes his dinner. All so he can get another star. Once he's got 7 stars he gets a little present or a special treat like chocolate or a trip out somewhere. I think my friend is right. Bribery works a treat.
I have three boys - two are old enough to tidy up (7 and 4). Basically, I insist on it each day. And I have done from an early age. They get 10p a day for tidying up, but I don't think that's what does it. Daily repetition and insisting.
might be too late for this but ds is only 2 - I am one of 3 kids and my older brother was LAZY !! and I was always the one who did stuff so I make ds tidy up - "help mummy"- and help himself do stuff however painful and slow it is - I fully expect this to get worse as he gets older but am determined to stand my ground. I don't want any woman telling me that my son is useless in the future and pointing the finger !!....I do think the insisting, not giving in because it's easier must be the way forward although appreciate what little devils they can be - I have three nephews of a similar age to your dc's and boy are they a handful.....I can see why you might just think it's easier to give in and do it yourself....
I do bribes. I finally managed to get them to do some basic tidying today by saying that those who don't do their bit don't get to come on the trip to granny's tomorrow.
It still took all day, lots of tears, massive rows between them and accusations of unfairness in the distribution of work. I honestly don't know how they can be bothered to get so het up about such a small amount of work.
They utterly trash the place too. DH and I have been trying to tackle laundry mountain since coming back from camping (smelly damp clothes, sleeping bags, tents etc), while dh works from home, we have to feed them, and I'm packing for another trip. We're both feeling very resentful and abused today.
Herbgarden I know what you mean about not wanting ds's future wives to have to put up with slobbery.
It's such a cliche and I loathe to say it but IME it's true that girls are so much easier to train than boys when it comes to housework.
My sister and I still resent how our brother always seemed to get away with doing nothing while we cooked and cleaned daily.