How to Get Kids to Help Around the House (A Chore Chart for Kids You BOTH Will Love)
Some days it seems like the kids in this house are experts on making messes. Whether it’s cleaning up slime or an overflow from good ol Dr. Dreadful there’s almost always a sticky mess somewhere. When you add in muddy dogs, a million cats, and even a few guinea pigs who are trying to set a world record for throwing bedding out of their cage you can get a real mess real fast.
There are days when I meet myself coming and going trying to clean up after everyone around here. Now that my kids are getting older it’s even more important that they learn how to do household chores. These two have always had some age-appropriate home chores for kids. As they are entering junior high I am adding more and more onto their responsibilities.
I used to think that it wasn’t a big deal to clean up after them. Then I started to realize that my son was 11 and couldn’t even cook easy mac without burning it. He also was living in the bog of stench because he refused to clean his room. I realized that I wasn’t doing them any favors by not holding them 100% accountable for themselves.
They are going to have to learn how to do these things eventually. It’s just common sense that we teach them how to do them before heading out on their own. As moms though, it can be a lot easier said than done. It’s just in our nature to pick things up as we see them. It’s almost robotic at this point for many of us who have been moms ( and wives ) for years.
There is a lot of disagreement out there on breaking down a chore list for kids by age. So often in mom groups, I see “What chores are appropriate for a 10-year-old?” or “What chores should my 4-year-old be doing?” It turns out that the answer isn’t quite as simple as breaking it down by age.
Any mom you ask can tell you that regardless of age each child has unique abilities and weaknesses. It is important to take this into consideration when deciding what chores are best for your child. If you know your child has attention issues it is best to give them chores they can complete quickly and those that don’t have too many steps. If your child has asthma they will need to avoid sweeping or dusting. Some children have better dexterity than others and would be better at handling fragile dishes.
Our free printable chore list for kids breaks down common household chores by age. However, you know your kids best. You can alter our list any way that you like. This is just a starting point to help give you ideas of chores that will be best for your child.
How do You Get Kids to Do Their Chores?
Now that you know what chores are best for each age you can get to the fun part. How do you make kids actually do chores? This may be one of the most important questions parents face. You don’t want to be a jerk about it but you want them to understand the importance of cleaning up after themselves. How do you get chores done without fighting? Is there a way to avoid the drama that comes with dishes?
How about those sibling rivalries? In our house, there is a lot of “he got an easier chore than me” or “she got to do that one last time”. Having multiple kids to split chores between can amplify the drama tenfold.
Thankfully, I was able to come up with a system that ended all of the chore drama. There was no fighting. Nobody was jealous of anyone else’s chores. They were both responsible for their own work and they were able to choose what work they would like to do to help out for the day.
It took a little trial and error but I was eventually able to come up with a system where they could earn a set amount of money for each chore and they were allowed to choose from a variety of chores so no one job ever got stale.
I used gift tags that I had on hand and labeled one side of each with a chore around the house. On the opposite side of the tag, I put the amount that would be earned for completing each task. I then put all of the tags on a binder ring that I hung up at our family information center.
Each day they each chose 3-4 chores that they would like to do to earn money. If they wanted more money one day they could do more chores. Once the chore was completed they were able to turn in their tag for the task to be checked and earn their money.
Not Sure How to Reward Kids for Chores?
Just as there are many free printable household chore charts there are many different systems that you can use to reward kids for chores. Some kids are more motivated by the idea of their own money to spend. Others enjoy earning stickers, candies, or small toys. A lot of this will depend on the age and developmental level of the child.
Ultimately, it is up to you what you choose to allow your children to earn in return for helping around the house. It may take a little trial and error to find the chore reward that works best in your house. You may have to find a happy medium for multiple kids or use a different system for each child.
When it comes to home much to pay kids for chores the answer is going to depend on your budget, how many kids you are paying for chores, and how much each chore is worth to you. In our house, the price of chores can range anywhere from 50 cents to five dollars. Naturally, larger chores or those that will take longer will earn more money than chores that are easily done in a few minutes.
We went through a few different systems such as printable chore money, earned stickers, points towards toys or outings, and of course cold hard cash. We still go between a few different systems but money and video games are big motivators in this house.
If you have older kids in your house you may be interested in our screen time-based chore chart. It can be a little hard to find good free printable chore charts for tweens but I have found this system quite useful. This chore chart is great for middle school and junior high kids. In this system, the same chore options are offered. This time, though, they are worth lengths of time on electronics rather than amounts of money.
In addition to earning their time for the day they are instructed to choose time slots in 2-hour blocks. Some times during the day are blocked out such as meals, education times, and family time. This creative chore chart gives them the freedom to feel in control of their time and their decisions.
This system is a great way to end arguments over who’s turn it is to be on the computer or whether someone has been on longer than their allotted time. You can easilyrefer back to the sign-up chart to determine whether the offender is truly going against the rules or not.
If you have tweenagers in the house this system is also a great way to get them accustomed to having time dedicated to being away from the screen. It’s a great way to institute more reading, art projects, or even family board game time.
We keep a large dry erase schedule in our dining room ( aka homeschool room) for my daughter who is on the spectrum. This helps her to keep track of what is going to happen throughout the day and to transition easier from one activity to the next. It’s easy to add her earned screen time for the day and the times that she has chosen onto her chart. It helps her to remember what she is working towards each day.
We also have a five-strike system in which she can still lose the privilege of electronics each day. ( Usually for serious infractions like excessive bad language, tearing up school work, or any violence against herself or others.) By having everything laid out in front of her she can more easily take responsibility for her choices and take pride in making the right choices each day as she earns and enjoys her screen time.
If you have used the pickup service comment below and let me know how it went for you! I just love these services that have been showing up in certain stores. Walmart has to be the most convenient one I have seen though, they have everything!!
Note: This deal is no longer available but the Walmart pick up service is still just as awesome! We definitely recommend checking it out if you haven’t yet.
I would love to hear from you if you try the chore system out too! Did it work for you? Did you make any changes? Good luck mama!!
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Ghastly (noun): tattooed USAF wife, autism mama, crazy cat lady, lover of baked goods, ghost stalker, Celtic pagan, comic book geek and gamer.
Yankee transplanted in the South.
Sharing our stories on life with an invisible illness, surviving teens, and finding yourself again as a mom.
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