INSIDE: Using a chore chart is an easy way to teach kids responsibility. Download our customizable free printable chore charts right here!
Kids as young as 3 are able to complete simple household tasks, a.k.a. chores. This is a great way to help them learn responsibility at a young age. But they’re still kids, so they often need a visible reminder so they know what they should do every day. Using a weekly chore chart can help children keep track of these things.
WHY YOUR FAMILY NEEDS A CHORE CHART
Do you struggle to get your kids to do their chores — or even to figure out which household tasks they’re capable of doing?
You’re not alone! And even when you do decide which chores you want your kids to do, getting them to do the work every day is another obstacle altogether.
As moms and dads, part of what we need to teach our children is how to contribute to the household, which in turn can help them become contributing members of society.
One way we’ve successfully done this is by assigning chores for our kids. They help the house run smoother, and the kids actually get the opportunity to take ownership of a task.
More ways to teach kids responsibility:
- When Should I Start My Child on an Allowance?
- Paying Your Kids For Chores with a Kid-Safe Debit Card (You Completely Control)
- How Toy Jail Teaches Responsibility
HOW TO CREATE A WEEKLY CHORE CHART FOR KIDS
You need to keep several things in mind when creating and using a chore list with your kids. These tips will help you achieve success with your own children.
MAKE SURE YOU USE A CHILDREN’S CHORE CHART BY AGE
When it comes to determining the right chores for kids, you have to take their ages into consideration. Younger children can only do simple tasks, whereas older children can do more. Your child’s chores list should include only those that he or she is capable of doing.
You will want to print this list of chores by age and keep it handy. It is a guide to help parents determine what children can do at every age. This way, you can find new ideas to add to your child’s chore list as he or she grows.
This is a great way to help your children learn how to complete these tasks. However, remember that you can’t expect perfection. Just expect them to try their best. This chart is a nice way for them to learn how to take care of themselves and their own home.
You may try a task listed and find that your child is not yet ready to try that. Just change what you do the following week. Conversely, you may think your child can take care of the items listed in an older age group. That’s fine, too. This is a guide to help you find chore ideas that work for both you and your child.
LET THE KIDS HELP MAKE THEIR OWN CHART
You know the chores your kids can handle, so have them help create their own printable chore chart. Look at the list and have them decide which ones they will do this week.
You won’t want to let them select everything (they’ll pick the simplest tasks). But when a child feels a part of the decision-making process, he or she will have more motivation to complete the chores.
MAKE SURE THE JOB CHART IS VISIBLE
It’s important that your child can see the chore chart and keep track of what he or she has done for the week. This can be done on a whiteboard on your refrigerator or even a piece of paper tacked to a bulletin board.
Remind your child to update the list every day. I find that when my kids can physically check a box or a line to show they did something, they do much better at keeping track of what they have done and those items they have yet to complete.
Below you will find two different printable chore chart templates. One chore chart template is very basic and is great for younger children, while the other is more detailed and perfect for older children.
Whether you use one of these templates or another chore chart idea, just make sure your kids can easily see and follow it. (Here’s a detailed chore checklist a homeschooling mother of six uses with her family.)
If your children are a bit older, you can use the Responsibility Chart (also called the teen chore chart) instead. This chart has spaces for regular chores (commissions), additional tasks (bonuses) and areas where they tend to get into trouble (fines). You tally up the income and take away the fines each week, and they earn the difference. This chart is created to teach them, well, responsibility in the workplace.
They learn that if they do not complete the work, they do not get paid. They also learn that if they do the wrong thing (like fight or disrespect Mom and Dad), they’ll get a fine. We compare this to speeding or being reckless and causing damage to things. It works well for our kids, and they sure hate it when we say the word “FINE”!
If you want even more detailed information about how we use the Responsibility Chart in our home, you can read about that here – Teaching Our Children Financial Responsibility.
DETERMINE THE REWARD OR INCENTIVE FOR EACH CHORE COMPLETED
Rewards will vary greatly from family to family. For some parents, the chores are required just for being part of the family. The kids are expected to contribute, and there is no material reward attached. For other parents, it is simply financial. They pay per chore or per week as chores are completed.
The rewards may be incentive-based, such as sleepovers or extra time on the game system. The beauty of any good system is that you can make it work for your family. You know your kids and your family structure, so you know what you expect and will give in return. A chore chart can serve as an incentive and reminder for your kids (and quite possibly, even for you).
DETERMINE THE PUNISHMENT OR FINE FOR CHORES NOT DONE
If your child doesn’t do all of his or her chores, there must be a consequence. Of course, there will be times when circumstances are outside of our control, which contribute to chores not being completed.
However, many times, a chore is not completed because your child simply forgot or decided not to do it. When this happens, you need to take away those rewards, such as a play date or the special treat he or she was to get the following day.
When your children forget, help them get their chores done, but don’t give them a free pass. They still have to learn that there are consequences in life when we don’t do what we’re supposed to do.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE BY DOING YOUR SHARE OF THE CHORES
Children are sponges, and they watch everything you do. If you slack off and don’t do your daily chores, your children see this. Make sure you are responsible and doing what you need to every day. Your kids will be more motivated to do their daily chores when they see Mom and Dad doing the same.
FIND A WAY TO MAKE COMPLETING CHORES FUN
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. You’ve heard that, right? There is so much truth there! Add fun to the chores, such as making it a game to toss laundry into the laundry basket.
In addition, allow time for the kids to have fun. After all, they are kids. Aim to strike a balance between the things they need to do and what lets them enjoy being a kid.
DON’T OVERBURDEN YOUR KIDS WITH TOO MANY ITEMS ON THEIR LIST
It’s important that children have chores to do. But you don’t want them to be overwhelmed. When that happens, it may be time to change the list or remove some of the chores completely.
During the school year, there may be sports and homework every night. During this time, you may need to scale back on the number or types of chores a child needs to do.
WATCH OVER THEM WHILE THEY DO THEIR DAILY CHORES
Kids need reminders and supervision when doing their work. Even my older kids need me to remind them of what they need to do. Gently guide them to get their daily chores completed every day before bedtime.
TEACH THEM HOW TO DO THINGS THE RIGHT WAY
You can’t expect your children to know what to do right away. It will take time to teach them the right way to dust and to do the laundry. Keep your expectations low at first, and raise them as your child learns how to do every chore on his or her chore chart.
MAKE SURE YOU USE A WEEKLY CHORE CHART
It may sound great to make a chart that is used for a month at a time, but kids need to see small tasks in a short period of time. Make sure your kids’ chore sheet is switched out on the same day every week. You may decide to start yours every Sunday or Monday – it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to be consistent and start a new chart every single week.
CHORE CHARTS SHOULD TEACH AND NOT CAUSE A BURDEN OR STRESS ON ANYONE IN THE FAMILY
When learning how to use a chore chart for your kids, keep all of the tips above in mind. Remember to be realistic with your goals for your children. As they grow, so will their abilities to complete certain tasks. We offer these only as a guide to help you determine what is the best fit for your family.