Does your kitchen sink look like this? You’re probably busy doing things to take care of your kids and just didn’t get to the kitchen yet. It doesn’t have to be this way. I would like to show you some of my tips for making house hold cleaning more manageable by having kids’ chore charts. When kids do chores, they learn how to care for themselves and serve others. Your house will be cleaner, too. It also gives you more time to help them do the things they want to do.
Many families change their routine as the summer begins. This is a great time to take a look at the chores kids are doing around the house. Other times I choose to redo chore charts is at the beginning of the school year and when Christmas break ends. These are times when other parts of our schedule change, so it seems natural to change the chore routine, too.
Why Kids’ Chore Charts are a good idea
Before I get around to sharing it, I want to share why I think having a kids chore chart is a good idea. First, kids need to learn responsibility and how to take care of themselves when they are young. Kids as little as one or two are interested in helping. This is a great time to start small. They can put their toys away, learn where to put their shoes when they take them off, and clean up spilled milk. When they get to be preschool age, they can put away silverware, which teaches them sorting skills they’ll need to have by kindergarten. If they don’t start young, they’ll refuse or resist when they are older.
You’re probably thinking that you could do all these chores much better and faster than they do. You’re right, you can because you had practice. Now is the time for your kids to practice. Let them fail because that is when they’ll learn from their mistakes and improve. I’ve also noticed that if a child cleans a bathroom, or any other room in the house, they’ll work harder to keep that space clean so that it will be easier to clean next time. This is especially true if they know that it is their job and they will do it regularly. I also think about it this way: When my kids clean, it may not be perfect, but it is better than it was before they did their chores.
If you choose to improve the space they cleaned to your standards, I recommend not doing it in front of them or letting them know that you cleaned it again later. If they find out, they may think that they do not need to do their best. An alternative to “fixing” it yourself is to tell them that you are going to show them your “special tricks.” You could even call them “secret tricks,” because they’ll think you’re sharing insider secrets rather than thinking that they didn’t do a good enough job.
Choose age appropriate chores
When you choose chores that your child can succeed at, they will be more willing to do them. Nobody wants to fail or think that they are terrible at something. Start small and work your way up to something more challenging. For instance, my younger kids cannot reach the cupboards without climbing onto the counters. It wouldn’t be an age appropriate chore for kids in this case. Instead, I given them the chore of putting the silverware away. Not only can they reach the silverware drawer, it has them practice their sorting skills and focusing on putting the silverware away.
Pre-Made Chore Charts
However, most of us would rather have a fancy chore chart to add to our refrigerators. I really like this Cat in the Hat Chart and Star Chart because the chores are listed in categories: Taking Care of Myself, Taking care of my Room, Helping Around the House, and Other Things I Need to Do.
Chore Charts for multiple kids
If you’re more in the market for a FREE chart, I’ve made a few below that you can either print or use as examples.
I use my favorite spreadsheet program (if you don’t have spreadsheet program, you can get an entire suite that is similar to Microsoft at openoffice.org- it’s FREE!) to design it. I create the list based on what I know my kids can do and add a chore or two that they haven’t tired, but I think they can succeed at. I use color codes on my chore chart so that each child has their own color. You can see it below.
PDF Version: Chore chart If you leave a comment with the format you need this in, I will be willing to post the links to this weekly chore chart template.
Anyway, I often use a magnet to display my kids’ chore chart. For those that can read, they won’t need me to remind them quite as often to do their chores. This summer, one of my boys will be working on his Family Member Activity Badge for Webelos Scouts, which requires that he do his chores for about a month and keep track of it, so I will also place a chart for him to keep track of his progress on the fridge.
Chore Chart for One Child
I developed a chore chart that could last an entire month. Just put a symbol next to the numbers for each chore each day. For instance, you could put a star next to it. There’s a place for an incentive. You could take your child out to their favorite activity, dessert or meal.Up to 6 chores may be added to the chart.
If a child has a “dish day,” just “X” out the other days they do not need to do the dishes. Same goes for other chores that are done only part of the week.
You could use this chart for regular chores or for extra chores to earn money.
To print the chart, click on the graphic and it will take you to a printable PDF version of the chart.
If you’d like to use it again, I recommend laminating it or sliding it into a page protector- the kind you’d use in a 3 ring binder for a report or portfolio . This will allow you to use wet erase markers to fill the chart. Then, attach it to the fridge with a magnet.
Compliment Kids for Job Well Done
As an adult, a compliment goes a long way. Kids love it when you compliment them, too. Sometimes, after they’ve done their chores, I’ll pretend that I don’t know who did it and say, “Wow! What happened to this room? It looks great! Who hired the professional cleaner?” or I’ll come right out and compliment them on a job well done.
As parents, we’re quick to notice mistakes. It’s important to be quick to notice when someone does something right. This encourages kids to do a good job next time and gives them attention for doing what is right. This is especially true of kids who act out just to get some attention.
I don’t think it hurts to reward kids by occasionally surprising them with some TV time or a treat after they did a good job.
Paying Kids for Chores
I choose not to pay my kids for doing their regular chores. However, I don’t see anything wrong with paying them for doing extra chores or doing them more often than usual. I sometimes pay my kids for cleaning out the car, pulling weeds, taking the dog for a walk, etc. I see the regular chores as an exchange for us providing them a house, food, and clothes. Having them help out also gives me more time to take them to the park, friends’ houses, etc. The extra chores is kind of like an employee working over time and getting extra pay or a bonus.
More Information about Chores
If you need more information about creating chore charts and assigning chores, I found a website that can help you with this as well as a bunch of other organizing tips. It’s called Home School Curriculum for Life. Click on the chore charts tab and you’ll get some really neat ideas.
Also, a book Called Chores Around the House is a great resource because it lists chores that are commonly done by children around the house. It’s sure to provide some great insights or reminders about chores children are able to do to improve themselves.
Thank you for sharing your ideas for helping your kids motivated to do chores as well as the challenges you’re facing.