Do you feel like a broken record, constantly nagging everyone to pick up their clutter over and over? Instead of wishing the family would pitch in and help with the chores, why not take steps to get organized and make a family chore chart? It’s just like a cleaning schedule, except it’s a great visual for children to see what chores they are responsible for completing.
Household responsibilities can feel never-ending for parents. Moms often feel overwhelmed with all the household responsibilities and struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance. When everyone in the family helps with the chores, it helps reduce a parent’s workload and stress.
Why Should I Make a Family Chore Chart?
Chores aren’t just about cleaning the house. Chores can teach children many valuable lessons. There are also several developmental skills that children can learn, such as time management and organizational skills.
Chores teach kids essential life skills such as being self-sufficient, responsible, confident in their abilities, and teamwork with siblings and parents. It shows them how working together as a family unit can help accomplish tasks without the burden being placed on just the parent.
Some parents also make chores a lesson in money management by paying a small allowance. Paying kids for doing chores can also motivate them to complete household tasks without complaining. Once they have enough money, they can buy something as part of a reward system.
Chores Should Be Part of a Daily Routine
Chores should become part of a family’s daily routine and can also add more structure to their day. For young children, chores can start as basic as learning personal care. Also, it’s good to ingrain the fundamental principle of organization early. There is a place for everything, and it should always go where it belongs.
For example, as soon as a child walks in from school, they need to learn that their coat goes on the hook, shoes go on the rack, and the school bag goes in the cubby, shelf, or hook.
Assigning Age Appropriate Chores
Yes, even the little ones can contribute to the household chores. Of course, they will need supervision. Toddler chores will be different, but they will still give them a sense of responsibility. Some things that can be on a toddler chore chart include:
- Brush teeth
- Help with picking-up toys
- Use the potty
- Get ready for bedtime
Young children who attend daycare, nursery, or preschool often help tidy up the playroom at school. They can also participate in chores at home, like they are learning to do small tasks at school.
- The same list as the toddlers
- Get dressed
- Help with sorting and picking up toys and placing them back on the shelf or in a bin
- Put some dirty clothes in the hamper
- Bring meal plate to the counter
Children Ages 5 to 8
- Complete the same chores as the toddlers and the preschoolers
- Wipe tabletops
- Put dirty clothes in the hamper
- Bring meal plate to the counter
- Complete any homework
Children Ages 9 to 12
- Complete the same chores as the younger siblings
- Put clean clothes away in drawers
- Put dirty clothes in the washer and dryer
- Unload some of the dishes from the dishwasher, such as small plates and utensils
- Rake the leaves
- Set the table
- Take care of feeding, walking, and cleaning up after pets
- Sweep the kitchen floor with a broom
Teens can complete the same chores as their younger siblings and move on to more advanced ones.
- Mow the lawn
- Unload the dishwasher completely
- Help make a grocery shopping list
- Washing dishes
- Take out the trash
- Clean their bathrooms
- Put clean laundry away in drawers
- Do a load of laundry
How To Make a Family Chore Chart
There are a few ways you can make a household cleaning schedule. You can print out a new chore chart every week and switch up the chores amongst the siblings as long as the chores are age appropriate. This helps children learn to complete different tasks and makes it less boring when doing the same assignment over and over.
Parents can also use a reward system to help motivate kids to complete their chores. For toddlers and preschoolers especially, using star charts and stickers helps because young kids enjoy seeing a visual reward showing that they did something well.
Several other free and low-cost options for making a family chore chart exist. Place it in a central location so the chart acts as a reminder for family members to fit their to-do list of chores in before the day ends.
Chore Chart Ideas
Here are some other options for creating a family chore chart:
Magnetic board – have fun with specialty magnets with images that can be ordered online. Magnets can have pictures of chores, names of the kids, and check marks to place beside them once they are complete.
Free Printables – many websites have unique chore charts that can be printed for free. Rather than having to print a new one every week, you can laminate the free printable chore chart and use a dry-erase marker to fill in the list of chores and check off the completed ones. It can also be easily customizable and reusable.
Word or Excel Chore Chart – create a chart online in a word document or excel spreadsheet and print it out.
Customizable Chore Chart Template – this may come in a pdf document with fields that can be filled in and changed.
Whiteboard with dry-erase markers
Chore Chart Apps – Parents can pay a small fee for a chore chart app to help organize the family’s to-do list. Some apps also help manage allowances that can be transferred to children via the app once chores have been completed. Parents can also set rewards and goals for kids to achieve before getting paid. Chore apps are a great organizational tool, they don’t take up space in the house and can easily be shared with family members.
When it’s time to give the house a deep cleaning or spring cleaning, you can change things up and assign rooms or zones to family members. For example, a family member can tackle the kitchen and clean it from top to bottom. List all the chores that need to be done in the kitchen, such as sweeping and mopping the floor, cleaning the counters, loading or unloading the dishwasher, cleaning appliances, and other dishes.
When Should I Start a Family Chore Chart?
You can start teaching kids about chores as early as age 3. It’s as simple as ending play time with tidy-up time and asking your child to help you put toys back into a bin or shelf. The earlier you start with your children, the easier it will be to give them more advanced chores to complete.
Is a Chore Schedule Sustainable?
Like starting anything new, there can be some bumps in the road, mainly resistance and non-compliance from some tiny family members. If doing chores is new to children, they may not want to spend time doing them instead of playing. To ease kids into a chore routine, try to make it fun when you start.
You can turn chores into a game or a competition. For example, try turning small chores into minute-to-win-it matches between siblings. You can also time how long it takes for each to complete a few tasks and the winner who also does good quality work receives a prize.
You can also try an overall family reward system. For example, if all chores are completed well that month, the family can go for dinner and bowling.
Eventually, everyone will get used to completing chores without complaining or being rewarded.
How Can Parents Enforce the Chore Chart?
Parents must model, support, and supervise the children while they learn how to complete chores when they are young. Kids are more likely to complete tasks with a better attitude when parents stand with them a few times and show them how to do things well. It also instills good work ethics when they see their parents taking time to complete a chore that benefits the household.
Everyone Benefits When Families Do Chores Together
There are many benefits to assigning chores to children. Learning to contribute to the family by helping with chores will help them become responsible adults. They will be able to live independently by using these essential life skills they learned in childhood, like cooking and cleaning.
Starting a family chore chart is really a win-win situation. It teaches kids the importance of completing chores daily, helps alleviate parents’ stress, and frees up more time in the day for families to bond.
This article originally appeared on Hello Sensible.
Nadia is co-creator and author of the blog This Mom is On Fire, a place where busy moms can find ideas for family meals, kids' activities, and tips for saving time and money, as well as relate to common experiences in motherhood. She is also a freelance writer, primarily in the areas of lifestyle and personal finance.