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Want to get your kids to help out around the house? A chore chart is only part of the solution but it’s a good way to hold your kids accountable and make sure their chores are getting done. You can just print a chore chart and think that you’re done. But if you want to have success with having your kids do chores, learn not just how to make a chore chart but the most effective ways to use it.
Why should kids do chores?
Requiring kids to do chores teaches them responsibility and respect by taking care of what you have rather than having someone do something for you. Knowing how to take care of your space is an important life skill they will need when they move out on their own. It’s easier for your child to learn at a young age that chores are part of contributing to the family household.
Age Appropriate Chores
Not all kids develop at the same rate and that needs to be taken into account with chores. The age appropriate chore list below is just a guide. Some kids may be able to do chores by a certain age while others may need to mature a little more before having bigger responsibilities. This is true even for kids in the same family. One child may have started cleaning toilets at 7, while their sibling flings toilet water everywhere so they aren’t ready until they are 11.
And of course, younger kids will need more supervision and guidance when doing their chores.
Get kids input
If your kids have a say in which chores they do, they are more likely to do them. But of course we can’t all love the chores we do so you may still need to assign some of them. I don’t see anyone raising their hand to clean toilets in my house but it still has to get done.
Keep it simple
Don’t over complicate the tasks or your chore chart. If the system isn’t easy, then it’s hard to stick to it. This may mean accepting a different way to do a chore (your way of doing a chore may not be the best way for your kids). It also may mean trying out a few different types of chore charts until you find the one that works. It may not look as pretty as you’d like or have all the bells and whistles.
Kids have a tendency to race to get their chores done so they can mark it off and move on to what they want to do. Hey, I can’t blame them. But I can show them the expectation of what the finished product it supposed to look like.
You can’t just assign a chore and expect it will be done properly. First, you need to model it with them shadowing you. Gradually, you have them take over more than the chore until they are fully doing the chore by themselves.
Of course, really younger children will need to be continually supervised.
Keep it visible
Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t tuck the chore chart into a binder or a stack of papers where it will be rarely seen. Post it where there is high visibility, on a mudroom or kitchen wall or behind a highly used cabinet door.
A family command center is a perfect place to incorporate the chore chart. Not sure what a family command center is or how to use one? Check out Family Command Center Ideas to learn how to make one that will keep your family organized.
to reward or not
Some people have the philosophy that chores are a part of life and part of being a member of a household so it should just be part of the routine without any reward. And I can’t disagree with that. Once your kids are on their own, no one is going to pay them to do chores.
The impact of rewards may not last either. Rewards may motivate your kids at first but after a while, they might decide the rewards isn’t worth doing the chore.
But on the other hand, you need to get your kids to do their chores and rewards may be just the thing to motivate them.
Everyone has to make the decision that is right for their family and what works may change over time. The reward may get them started until it develops into a habit.
Or maybe some chores are just part of contributing to the household but other chores have a reward. I use this method with my kids.
Yet another possibility is to reward for special circumstances. For example, my oldest daughter recently broke her elbow so she can’t do most of her chores. I switched some of her chores with her siblings but I also offered up rewards for the others to take over some of her chores. Should they just do her chores to help out when a family member needs extra help? Sure, but I personally also want to give them a little extra for stepping up without complaining.
What’s the right reward?
The right reward for completing their chores is going to depend on each child. Some may need immediate gratification while others can wait and save up for a larger reward. Here are some ideas for rewards:
- Cash – either paid daily or weekly
- Screen time
- An outing – as simple as a trip to the park or a zoo, etc.
- Time with friends
- Later bedtime
- Craft project
- Game night
On the flip side of rewards is consequences. But should you use them if your kids don’t their chores? As with most things in parenting, there are different perspectives.
There seems to be a big push to allowing kids to experience natural consequences. For example, if your teen doesn’t do his laundry, don’t do it for him. Instead, allow him to experience the consequence of not having clean clothes when he needs it.
The key seems to be to directly tie the consequence to the behavior. “I can’t drive you to the movie theater because I’m too busy doing the chores you didn’t do.”
I’ll admit that taking away privileges my go-to consequence that is pretty effective for my family. I don’t know if it’s the best parenting strategy but it seems like it might be ok if you try to tie the loss of privilege to the behavior. For example, if your child continuously leaves clothes on the floor, you can say, “If you continue to not pick up your clothes off the floor, then I’m no longer going to buy you expensive clothes.”
Do i need a chore chart?
Chore charts can be used to tally up rewards but it’s also important to have even if you aren’t using a reward system.
A chore chart helps hold your kids accountable and is a reminder of what they need to do.
Just like I need a cleaning schedule to follow, so do the kids.
Free Printable Chore Charts
I created a free printable chore chart for you. Just print it off, fill in the chores for each person and check them off as each task is done.
Instead of printing a new chart each week, laminate the chore chart or put it in a clear sheet protector and mark off the chores with a dry erase marker.
Chore chart ideas
There are a ton of options available for free or low cost printable chore charts. I realize that mine might not be the best fit for you so I’m also sharing with you chore chart ideas from other websites.
A bright and cheerful chore chart and reward tickets from Simply Stacie.
A 15-page printable chore chart pack from Conservamom.
Instead of a chore chart, try using a chore can with chores printed on popsicle sticks. This chore can by Dukes & Duchesses is super simple to make.
Living Life as Moms has adorable chore cards for kids. The pictures on the cards will help non-reader and early readers understand each task.
A cute chore chart from Lovely Indeed.
Chore Charts and Daily Responsibilities with a rustic flair from Houseful of Handmade.
The chore jar from The Holy Mess is a similar concept to the chore can. Put slips of paper with chores printed on each one into a jar. Then kids select one or two chores from the jar every day.
Looking for more Chore Chart Ideas?
These options aren’t free but they are magnetic and you can use a dry erase marker.