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If you are reading this… you have kids.
And your kids have chores that you would like them to do.
Like them to do.
Remember those words.
You’d like them to help out around the house.
Help out with their siblings.
But whether or not they actually do it… that remains to be seen.
Let’s be honest… telling kids to do something is easy, but getting them to actually do it is the tricky part.
No matter what their age, humans by nature like to feel rewarded for their efforts.
Kids are no different.
They like to be given more than just a pat on the back for a job well done… they crave the feeling of working towards something bigger.
For the littlest ones, the reward needs to come fast.
It’s that whole short attention span thing.
Conversely, older kids are more likely to be okay with waiting… especially if they know it will pay off in the way of a trip to the movies, a new video games, etc….
And that is where the chore chart comes in.
No matter what their age, humans by nature like to feel rewarded for their efforts. Kids are no different.
So let’s get down to it, shall we?
What You Will Learn
The (Dreaded) Chore List
First rule of thumb… chores should be age appropriate.
That is key.
After all, you wouldn’t ask a 4-year-old to wash the family car… anymore than you would ask a 16-year-old to make his own bath.
And while creating age appropriate chores may seem daunting… it’s really not.
It’s more about knowing your kids… their personalities, their limitations, etc… than about blindly assigning them jobs just for the sake of it.
Keeping that in mind, start by asking yourself two questions:
How old is my child?
Is he or she capable of doing “x”?
Now, because I’m so awesome, I’ve gone ahead and done the research for you… breaking down chores by age category:
The chore chart you create should incorporate these, along with corresponding incentives.
But we will get to that in a minute.
Todders are simple creatures.
They wear their hearts on their sleeves… and can have a hard time expressing themselves.
Case in point… the temper tantrum, which is typically them just not knowing how to process a feeling or desire (ie… being tired, hungry or frustrated).
You can’t ask them to take on too much too soon; however, assigning simple chores gives them a sense of pride and self worth.
Believe it or not, they like to help at this age.
Keeping all of this in mind, try and think of a chore chart for toddlers as more of a guidebook for improving their developmental and motor skills… and less about responsibility.
Turn these mini milestones into a fun, engaging chore chart… and you will both go the distance!
Want a copy of Toddler Chores Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
By this age, most children are in school for at least a few hours each week.
Whether it is pre-k or kindergarten, kids are learning more than just the alphabet and counting… they are being socialized.
They are refining their motor skills.
Things like learning how to share, tie their shoes, zipper their coats, eat with utencils… these are all valuable skills that will benefit them later in life.
The chore chart should mirror that.
It’s probably not a good idea for kids this age to be putting glasses on the table; but, they can certainly get all of their plastic or paper dishes and cups out.
Holding them mildly accountable for helping will give them a great sense of pride.
Want a copy of Kinder Chore Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
Early Elementary Chores
Kids grow up fast.
Seriously, one minute you are swaddling them in your arms… the next they are glued to their tablets and tv sets.
Mickey Mouse is no longer cool… he’s been replaced by the likes of Sponge Bob, Bart Simpson and some girl named “Jessie”.
So after we take a moment to wax nostalgia (sigh), we need to focus our attention on what that means for their responsibilities at home.
If kids this age can figure out how to download video games and program the DVR, they can certainly handle a little more on the ol’ chore chart.
Their chores should now incorporate a handful of items that they can actually take off your list.
Want a copy of Early Elementary Chore Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
Double Digit Chores
Ah… what a glorious age!
Your child is now expressing themselves… loud and clear!
Not always in a good way either.
If may feel as if “Sassy” has become your daughter’s middle name… and you son practically lives in his room with headphones on all day.
You are well versed in what a selfie is… and may have now been asked by your child to stand 30 feet behind them at the bus stop.
Yes, time flies.
We need to adapt.
And so must the chore chart.
It may seem very “hard knock life” to you… but, trust me, they can handle these things. And you deserve the help!
Want a copy of Double Digit Chore Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
High School Chores
By now, your kids are truly young adults.
They are able to drive a car…
Can walk home from school on their own…
Use the oven…
Have a curfew.
Every bit of effort you have put into raising your child is coming full circle now.
You are privy to a glimpse into the man or woman they will eventually become. And, hopefully, you are proud.
That being said, their chores should reflect their unique personality and abilities… now more than ever.
Unload some of your daily chore burdens on them… without weighing them down too much, or dismissing their extracurriculars and other obligations.
Keep your eye on the prize… molding responsible, well rounded human beings.
Do that, and the chore chart will compliment everyone.
You’ve put in the hours… and earned yourself a little extra help around this house.
You also shouldn’t have to pay for it, in the way of a “mother’s helper” or cleaning service, when you have perfectly capable teens running amuck.
Want a copy of High School Chore Chart Templates? Click any of the buttons below to download the PDF!
So, much like you wouldn’t hire someone to clean your house and not pay them… your kids need to feel as if completing their chores will offer them something in return.
The reward, so to speak, should vary by age… much like the chore chart, itself.
A toddler, for instance, may enjoy an ice cream cone… or a new doll… for a job well done.
Whereas a child age 4 or 5 may much rather stay up 20 minutes late… or earn themselves an extra hour of television time.
The elementary student likely wants something a little more…
Maybe it’s to see the new Lego movie with a friend in theaters.
Or go out to lunch on a Saturday with just you, at the restaurant of their choosing.
The value a child this age places on alone time with a parent, especially if they have siblings, is more than you think.
As for your 10-15 year old, spending time with you may not be top on their wish list these days.
Don’t worry. This too shall pass.
Try to be brave and give them what they do want… a new outfit, video game, a trip to the water park with two friends.
The reward here may take a little more earn, which is ok.
A good idea, in fact.
Make them accountable.
They need to put in the hard work for the reward… otherwise they may always expect things to be handed to them.
And that would not end well for either of you.
But don’t fret.
By the time your son or daughter is 16, they’ve likely come back around.
In some instances, they may even view you as a friend and confident now.
They value the sacrifices you’ve made for them… your advice…. your opinion.
Helping is the least they can do.
Still, it should be acknowledged.
Popular rewards for teenagers may include:
- new hockey gear
- borrowing the family car for a night
- concert tickets
The chore chart at this age is more about keeping them organized than accountable.
Make it simple, but perhaps let them write in their own incentives.
They will be inclined to work harder if it’s for something they truly want.
The Printable Chore Chart
These are intentionally left blank so that you both have the opportunity each week to check in and re-prioritize if need be.
For instance, if you see that your child is having a tough time with completing one or more of the items, maybe you need to change them up a bit.
Or even eliminate one or two.
There will be a learning curve… but one you can successfully drive together.
Final Thoughts on the Chore Chart
The chore chart can be as simple, or as complex, as you want it to be.
The key is to select the one that works best for your child. The one that you will have the most success with.
Chores should not be torture for kids.
In fact, it’s just the opposite.
As with volunteering… the goal here is for your child to feel good about themselves when the chart is completed.
If you make the chart/reward system an obtainable one… it will work.
And remember: the chore chart can always be tweaked.
For instance, try this:
Rome wasn’t built in a day… but if you put a little bit of effort in, you will create a well-oiled chore machine that works for everyone in the family.
It’s as simple as that.
Finally, if you want to level up your parenting skills, then check out this resource that will show you how to get your kids to listen WITHOUT yelling, nagging, or losing control.
Nicole Krause has been writing both personally and professionally for over 20 years. She holds a dual B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her work has appeared in some of the country’s top publications, major news outlets, online publications, and blogs. As a happily married (and extremely busy) mother of four… her articles primarily focus on parenting, marriage, family, finance, organization, and product reviews.