How to Create a Chore Chart That Works

Wondering how to create a chore chart that actually works? Here are four simple steps you can take to create an effective DIY chore chart for kids.

Are chores around your house well, a chore?

It can often be a huge challenge to get kids motivated to do their chores—and nearly impossible to get them enthusiastic about their household duties. But the truth is that as parents, it is an essential part of our job to teach kids how to help out around the house and to learn how to become productive members of society. Not only does it make our family life run smoother, it is essential to their own development and self-esteem. As it turns out, kids WANT to help and derive great satisfaction from seeing a task through.

Create a Chore Chart that Works | Free Chore Charts for Kids

We’ve already found that teaching kids about chores, money, and work is definitely a lifelong process. Even so, here are four steps you can take right now to get started on the right track:

1. Tailor Chores to the Age Level

One way to get started is to be sure the chores on your chart are easily understood by your kids and that each chore is tailored to their age level and your household expectations. Children as young as two can carry out simple chores like collecting the bathroom garbage cans or helping to pick up toys. A teenager might be a much more involved helper, perhaps doing yard work, laundry, and many additional household tasks to prepare for life on their own.

As you assess what chores need to be done, remember that this is a teaching tool. Younger children may not know how to clean a spotless bathroom mirror or how to make their bed all on their own. They also may not understand household standards. A teenager might not fully understand why they have to separate out reds and blacks from the whites. (One pink t-shirt though, and they might start to come around.) Patience is key. You aren’t going to end up with a spotless house while you put your feet up and read a magazine. (Don’t I wish!) Learning cleaning tips and techniques can take a while.

I recently heard about one mom who started a Pinterest board with her daughter where they share household tips and advice from around the Internet. She said she knew it was a success when her daughter pinned some tips on keeping the shower door spotless. Suddenly she realized she had an enthusiastic helper because she had allowed her daughter to take ownership and feel like she was part of the process.

2. Decide on a Visual that Everyone Understands

A young child may be much more excited about cute pictures, cartoons, and images than words on a chore chart. An older child may have more complicated assignments that need an explanation. Find what works best for your children. A quick search on Pinterest will reveal more ideas than you know what to do with!

3. Place Chore Charts in a Visible Location

Charts need to be posted or stored where they’re easy to see and can be accessed by everyone (in case someone needs a little reminder). Before the days of stainless steel kitchens, that place was often the refrigerator door, but lots of other locations would work too, such as a bulletin board hung in the hallway, kitchen, or even right in your child’s bedroom. Or, if hanging is not an option at all, the popsicle stick chore option makes a great alternative and takes only a few inches of shelf space!

This popsicle stick job jar is easy to make and helps kids keep track of their jobs.

Having a Family Command Center, either in the office or in your kitchen can be a great way to make things accessible (and keep them pretty). If you choose to review the charts daily (my recommendation), you’ll want to set aside a special time—maybe right after dinner or before teeth brushing and prayers at night—to review the accomplishments of the day. It doesn’t need to be a big production, but simple love, praise and acknowledgment can be enough to keep the ball rolling.

4. Decide on an Incentive

Some families see chores simply as a part of belonging to the family. As part of the family, children are expected to chip in, help out, and do things around the house. Other parents see a reward system as a powerful tool to motivate kids and teach lessons about earning. Whatever your view, you can still make chore charts work, and in fact, you may find that it’s a valuable tool that you NEED.

Even if you choose not to reward your children with money, they may need to complete tasks around the house to earn privileges, such as a playdate, a movie, device time, or another reward. Putting up a visual reminder of the end goal can be helpful. Just like chore charts offer a visual way to track the completed tasks, putting the reward right on the chart can serve as a reminder and an incentive

Here's a sample of how cash cards work as a chore chart tracker for kids.

Some parents post dollar amounts right on the chore chart or attach envelopes to move money whenever a task is done. One mom I know actually hides her child’s reward on Saturday mornings in the room that the child is assigned to dust. Let me tell you—her house can pass a white glove test when she’s done!

Get creative. Even teens (who are “too cool” to be motivated by a sticker on a chore chart) will be very motivated when they can see a clear incentive or end goal. Having to complete your chore list before going out can work wonders!

Finally, don’t be afraid to mix it up as you go. If you feel that your chore chart is getting boring or your kids are growing out of it, try something new! Remember, your objectives are not only to get your kids enthusiastic about helping around the house, but to understand that money comes from work, and to find happiness and satisfaction in a job well done!

To summarize, here are some of the best ways to create a chore chart for your children that WORKS!

  1. Tailor Chores to the Age Level
  2. Decide on a Visual that Everyone Understands
  3. Place Chore Charts in a Visible Location

  4. Decide on an Incentive

Are chores around your house well, a chore? It can be a challenge to get kids motivated to help out around the house, but getting kids to do their chores not only makes family life run smoother, it is essential to their own development and self-esteem. This in-depth post even includes four different types of printable chore charts, plus a helpful list of age-appropriate chores! Best of all, they're free! #chorecharts #freechorecharts #chorechartsforkids #freechorechartsforkids #freeprintables

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  1. I love all the different options! My kids have chores that they are required to do each day, just to help out around the house. I usually assign them for a week and then switch them around the next week. If they want to earn money, I always have extra chores they can do.

  2. Creating our chore chart is a goal of mine. Hopefully on Sunday the kids and I will be creating a master list of chores. We will have posters for each of the following categories: personal, daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally and as necessary. We’ll use sticky notes to fill in those categories, ie brush teeth is a personal task. I’ve done everything for so long I need to start completely over.

  3. I’ve tried chore charts in the past and always found them a bit cumbersome. I’ve also tried tying chores to allowance, but I’m not always good about my own follow through on that-often forgetting to get the cash to have on hand when it was time to dole out the funds! I finally decided not to tie chores into allowance. Every pay period (I’m a single mom and work full time) I give each of my girls $10. They are expected to save part of their money and the rest they can then spend on any “wants.” Naturally, I take care of the needs. My girls are 10 and 14. I’ve always made a point of letting them know that we are all part of this family and as such, we are all expected to pitch in. My 10 yr old is a natural organizer and actually loves to clean! I am not a slob by any means, but seriously, I’m not so sure our house would look as organized as it does if it weren’t for her! My 14 yr old is by no means a neat-nik, but she rarely complains when I ask her to do something, ie, take out the trash, empty the dishwasher and put away the dishes, etc. She also started doing her own laundry at about 11 yrs of age-just becuase she wanted to – I did not ask, nor expect, her to do this. I’m not exactly a minimalist, but I’m also not one to get attached to “things” so I’m not a big saver of things. And of course, having less things makes getting chores done alot easier!

    1. I’m in the first stages of using an app and web based chore list that follows same steps but without the paper. The girls can log on with their own password, on a Computer, tablet, Apple and android products for FREE! You can log on manage job list, look to see if chores area completed, points earned and each point is 1 Penny program has set points to earn for each job you change point’s amount and if a penny a point isnt enough you can adjust as the difference. Once completed they mark them off and they can click the save share earn button, each cateory has where you can set the limit, earn button has several different chores with cost to buy, my kids love using the ipad so im intrested in using the computer time option which cost them 300 points they spend 300 points or 3 dollars. A rough estimate if they have 10 chore each one 10 points thats 10 cents a chore which adds up to a dollar a day. You can add bonus chores kinda like side jobs to earn extra cash. I’m hoping my kids go I’m saving for blah blah do the math and say if I do all my chores for a month and two bonus ones ill able to buy that dvd soundtrack/video game for my iPod or phone. Teaches earning potential through completing jobs just like adults work, learn saving, giving to charities, And responsibility of saving to meet goal. Wish me luck hope this will work considering my 9 & 10 year old girls run for the nearest electronic after school! Mashes it easier I can update add delete look up totals a end of week on the go stop at atm get the cash or earning omw home from work without having to ppt it off I Will be and to just look it up on my phone, for me this will cut down on putting it off till tomorrow where tomorrow becomes three days later than bam bye bye my enforcing of system. Try it I’m might work eso. for the 14 year old

          1. Chore Monster is a pretty neat little app, and fun to use for both adults and kids!

  4. I’m going to print out the chart with the pictures and give it a shot. Kids need to learn responsibility at a young age, but it doesn’t have to be a boring task – I’m sure this will make it fun! 😀

  5. I love this post! It is relevant and important to learn responsibility at all ages, especially when teaching them life skills. I have a teenage daughter who would benefit from a fun chore chart! 🙂

  6. I just wanted to say that Chore Charts are not just for kids. There are many jobs that I just don’t remember (or want to keep track of) the last time I did them. I created a spread sheet which lists jobs that need to be done quarterly and then I split them up over 3 months. Details follow for anyone curious. Jan jobs are done Jan, Apr, Jul, & Oct. The Feb jobs are done Feb, May, Aug, Nov. Finally the Mar jobs are done Mar, June, Sept, Dec. The big payoffs include not having an overwhelming marathon of Spring/Fall cleaning and appliances last longer when well maintained. My January jobs are Sanitize the Water filter; Lube the treadmill, organize upper kitchen cabinets, organize lower kitchen cabinets, clean oven & grates, Dust tops of cabinets & refrigerator. February jobs: clean Dyson vacuum filters, clean dryer vent hose, organize laundry room cabinets & counter, clean under appliances, purge & sanitize kitchen freezer, purge & sanitize refrigerator. March jobs: purge & vacuum bathroom cabinets, treat butcher block counters, sanitize washer & dishwasher, purge & vacuum hall closets, sanitize mattress, empty & sanitize chest freezer. Once these jobs run a cycle they are a snap to complete next cycle. Also I try to give each cycle a mix of light, medium & heavy jobs.
    DH has a chart too. For changing/cleaning the heat & A/C air filters, garage cleaning, car maintenance, washing outside of windows, clearing spider webs from eaves, lawn equipment tune ups & tools maintenance.
    The rest of my house relies on FlyLady.

    1. Flylady.com is truely the greatest home management tool available to keep your home tidy day to day. Her reminders and testimonials keep even the most land bound of fly babies filled with hope. 15 minutes a day keeps the chaos away!

    1. Try free app and website http://www.myjobchart... can be used from computer, Apple and android products for free! Best for busy lifestyles and cozi calendar for mutiple family activities which each person can log onto.

  7. I love all your different varieties of chore charts. This is something near and dear to my heart for my kids too. I did a post about it on my blog as well with similar printables. lol I like yours better though!! 🙂 Thanks for all the options.

    1. Try free app and website http://www.myjobchart... can be used from computer, Apple and android products for free! Best for busy lifestyles and cozi calendar for mutiple family activities which each person can log onto

  8. These are fantastic! Excellent advice and the printables are so nicely designed. Thanks of much for sharing them with us!

  9. I am in a desperate time. I don’t know who to talk to at all! I am trying to find a program or website where I can create my own chore chart and consequence list. I am tired of making them by hand. If you have any advice I would really love it. Thanks

  10. Hi. I love everything you talked about in this article. My daughter is 7 and we are going to get her started on this FINALLY. However, I did have a question… the picture above that had the cash cards with the cash pinned behind them, what were the little cards below with the numbers circled and the tally marks? I think I might know, but would feel better asking just in case I am wrong. 🙂

  11. Love this post! My kids are finally on board with chores this summer and it still working! I love these ideas and will definitely use some to add to what we’ve got!

  12. Hi,
    I love your Daily Chore Chart templet, thank you!
    I would also love a templet for weekly chores…..with empty boxes I or kids can fill in when they complete weekly tasks as well as extra jobs if they want to make more money. Perhaps one that matches the daily Chore Chart Template (the first one).
    Or I can create one if I can get your template sent to me or upload it? Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback, Tanya! Hopefully we’ll get a weekly chore chart available for you in the future!

      1. ” On Sundays–payday–we sit down to budget the money they’ve earned in their Save, Spend, and Give envelopes.”

        hi there,
        i like the sound of this, and wondered if you have a post where you explain this further at all? do you use the cash cards, daily chore charts and popsicle stick systems all at once?
        with thanks for all the great ideas.

  13. im trying to fill in the spaces on the Daily Chore Chart download and its not allowing me….any insight into why this might be happening??

  14. Just before the summer I created chore stickers, and a chart for each of my children. It was working, but then I got lazy, never had any money to pay their allowance. I finally got money then had to pay for two months instead of just one. They loved having their own money. My plan was to teach them responsibility in regards to work and earning money. I am going to adopt the ideas and redo the chore list in hopes my children will follow through again, with the end goal being spending and saving money.

  15. Great post! I will be incorporated a few of your ideas in our chore/responsibility routine. May I ask, what font did you use for for the popsicle sticks?

  16. Assigning chores to the children through the Image representation of chore charts seems to be more appealing for the kids to do their own chores. Assign more interesting chores to the kids through Track Chores

  17. Several years ago we let a niece and nephew move into our house . They were teenagers at the time and we had two small kids of Our Own. It was really hard to figure out how to maintain the house and plan and cook meals . We knew that the kids needed to do chores and it was a real hassle to keep up with the meals with all of the people in our house now especially teenagers . We started using a product out now at cardplanner.com that allows you to plan meals and the kids chores all in one.

  18. ManageKids.com is free kids activity/Chore management website helping kids to organise their activities, motivate them to do their chores for award points or award money.

    – Parents schedule chores/activities, award points/money for kids
    – Advanced scheduling option like recurring monthly, one time, weekly etc.
    – Kids complete chores and get their points or cash value
    – Detail reporting and monitiroing
    – It is completely free to use.

    Giva a try…


  20. I’ve just recently become a stepmother to kids who have not really had any chores/responsibilities in the past ten years. Their dad did/does everything for them, and I think they are lacking important behaviors and skills that they’ll need later in life.

    Any ideas for me… trying to get two teens (17 & 15) and an 11 year old to go from zero chores/responsibility to having chores?

    1. HI Lou,
      That is a tall order. I would start small and maybe use the chore chart that posts the dollar amounts right on the chore chart or attach envelopes to move money whenever a task is done. That might be more incentive for older kids. Good luck. 🙂

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