7 Tips for Making a Chore Chart That Works

Chore charts.

Love them or hate them, they are a great tool that can help any household run efficiently.

What are the signs that a chore chart is working? Some people might think that a chore chart is working if the person consults the chart – on their own – and then gets to work. 

If you’ve ever tried one yourself, you know that this simply doesn’t happen overnight. 

Just because you post drawings or stickers on a pretty piece of paper that does not mean that someone will think, “Gee, I can budget my time and do everything in here.” 

Children are not yet developed enough to accomplish everything you ask them to do. So, have your goal be something a little bit different.   

For example, have skills development be your goal.

After all, when you break it down, a chore chart is simply a tool that you can use to help your children build their skills.

As a parent, you want your children leaving your home knowing how to run one of their own. You want them to know how to maintain and take care of both the inside and outside of their home…this is the recipe for a confident adult.

1. Focus on building skills. 

Realize that the ability for your kids to simply do their chores, on their own, without you dictating what needs done will be the natural result of those skill-building activities.

They’ll simply know what needs done and do it.

But like most everything in life, it’s a process.

Therefore, the goal is to make a chore chart which focuses on helping your kids to develop their skills rather than one that is focused on “just doing the chores” themselves.

2. Keep it simple, keep it structured. 

This could mean something as simple as typing out words in the computer, printing it out and hanging the paper on the back of a cupboard door. 

However, that doesn’t mean that some of the cute chore charts can’t work. They can. Most people, however, do not stick with complex programs longer than two weeks. So, keep it simple as far as the structure of the chart goes.

Keep in mind…images, cartoons, and fun pictures on a chore chart may entice a young child more than the words. However, older children may have more complicated assignments that require explanations. 

Choose the best method for your children. Pinterest will provide you with more ideas than you can handle!

3. Write down the chores that must be done.

That means you shouldn’t save all the must-dos for yourself. Put the bathrooms on the chart if they’re due for cleaning every week.  

Place the floor cleaning on the chart for one child to do each week. Don’t do everything yourself…tasks are tools that will teach your kids how to do the things it takes to manage the house well…skills that they’ll need when they leave the nest!

Think about it, what happens if you give them only little chores on the periphery and keep the most important ones for yourself? Your kids won’t feel like they’re contributing much anyway, so they’ll be less inclined to pitch in.

4. Consider age when assigning chores. 

Start by making sure that the chores on your chart are easily understood by your kids and are tailored to their age level and your household’s expectations. 

Children as young as two can help pick up toys or collect garbage in the bathroom. Teenagers may be more involved in preparing for life on their own, doing tasks such as gardening, laundry, and other chores.

When assessing what chores need to be done, remember that a chore chart is a teaching tool. Younger children rarely know how to clean a mirror or how to make a bed on their own. Additionally, they may not understand household standards.

Teenagers may not fully understand why they should separate reds and blacks from whites. (One pink shirt, however, and they might start to see the point.)  Patience is key – tips and techniques for cleaning can take time to learn.

One mother started a Pinterest board with her daughter where they share household tips from all over the web. She knew her idea was a success when her daughter pinned some tips for keeping the shower door clean. 

Because she had let her daughter take ownership and feel like she was involved in the process, she suddenly realized she had a passionate helper.

5. Place the chore chart where everyone can see it

Charts should be posted or stored where everyone can easily see them (should somebody need a reminder). 

A refrigerator door worked in the days before stainless steel kitchens, but there are many other places that would also be appropriate, from a wall mounted bulletin board hung in a hallway, to a small desk in your child’s bedroom. 

If hanging is not an option, the “popsicle stick chore” method is a great alternative and takes up only a few inches of shelf space. Also, a Family Command Center in the office or in the kitchen is a great way to keep things organized (and accessible). 

If you choose to review the charts every day (recommended), you should set aside a specific time-perhaps right after dinner or before teeth brushing and prayers at night-to review the day’s achievements. 

6. Choose an incentive

Finally, chores are seen by some families as simply part of belonging to the family. In a family, children are expected to pitch in, help out, and do things around the  house. 

Other parents believe rewards are a powerful way to motivate their children and teach them about earning. 

Even if you choose not to give your children money, they may still need to do household chores to earn privileges. For example, they might be allowed to watch a movie, use a device, or attend a playdate. 

Visual reminders of the goal can be helpful. Putting a visual reminder of the reward on the chart can serve as a reminder and an incentive, just as the chore chart offers a visual way to track completed tasks.

You have to be creative. Teens (who are “too cool” to be motivated by a sticker on a chore chart) tend to be much more encouraged when they see a clear reason or end goal. 

Also, when there’s an end in sight, they’ll be more likely to their chores without a lot of complaining; they’ll realize how quickly they can get them done.

7. Don’t be afraid to mix it up as you go. 

Finally, if your chore chart has become boring or your child is growing out of it, you might want to try something new. 

The objective is not only to get your kids enthusiastic about helping around the house, but also to teach them to find happiness and satisfaction in their work.

For more help on chores with kids, check these posts out.

Getting the Kids Motivated to Help With Chores This Summer

Making Chores Fun

4 Home Management Skills To Teach Your Kids

You can also use HomeZada to manage these chores with the entire family.