How to make chore charts for kids

How to make chore charts for kids

Back-to-school-time chores — why you should create a chore chart for your kids

Key tips to remember

  • Chores help kids learn and grow
  • Charts provide visible results and incentives
  • As kids’ skillsets expand, so should their chore lists
  • Templates for chore charts are available online for free
  • Customize your chore chart for your family’s needs

When you’re a kid growing up, chores are an essential way to start learning about personal responsibility. Long before you’re old enough to work a job, chores can teach you what it means to hold up your end of a deal. Being a family member should include some contribution to a household, and even very young children can learn about doing their part by doing chores regularly. Being responsible for chores can help kids feel empowered and give them opportunities to feel more grown-up. Routine, structure and a sense of accomplishment are important for kids. Chores provide these as well as a concrete way for them to take pride in their contribution to the family as they learn time management, goal setting and responsibility.

What is a chore chart?

Designed to help motivate kids and remind them of their responsibilities around the home, a chore chart is what it says: a chart to keep track of chores. Typically, it will include rows and columns like a spreadsheet. It should indicate which kids are responsible for which chores and when they are due to be completed. At a glance, it should quickly inform parents and kids of which daily, weekly and monthly chores have been done or need to be done. If your kids are very young, fill your chart with images instead of words.

How do chore charts help your kids?

A chore chart can make it easier for parents to set and enforce their expectations for a child’s responsibilities, clearly pointing out consequences and rewards. Kids are better-equipped to thrive when they know what you expect of them. Clearly defined expectations, boundaries and rewards — delivered consistently with accountability — help kids know where they stand so they can strive to do their best. A family chore chart is a great way to get parents and kids on the same page with required tasks. It’s something everyone can refer to throughout the week and an excellent way to teach kids how to chart progress over time as they learn to achieve goals. They’ll also clearly see that everyone in the family is doing chores, not just the kids.

How do you make a successful chore chart?

You may be wondering, what is the best chore chart? When it comes to DIY chore charts for kids, many design approaches can be used, including stickers on poster board to indicate completed tasks or rewards, magic markers on a whiteboard for drawing indicators like stars, smiley faces or dinosaurs, or magnets on a magnetized board. Even a plain-old clipboard will do. Just make sure it’s displayed conspicuously where no one in the family can miss it. If your family is particularly tech-savvy, there are free mobile apps designed to help entire families keep track of chores and household responsibilities, complete with progress-tracking features for parents. 

Other than your budget and your imagination, the sky’s the limit for chore-chart design! Making your chore chart successful, however, has more to do with parenting than chart-making. Setting realistic goals for your child along with reasonable expectations — and sticking to them — can help make your chore chart a satisfying and rewarding learning experience.

Chore charts for kids by age

What chore charts should a 7-year-old have? What chores should a 9-year-old do? If you’ve asked yourself these questions or others like them, we’re here to help with a rough outline you can use as a jump-start guide to getting you thinking about how to set expectations for your kids in terms of chores for just about any age range. It’s OK to expect children to take on more challenging chores as they grow older, so be sure to update your charts often as your expectations shift along with your child’s skillset. Kids’ lists of responsibilities might get a lot lengthier as they get older, while some chores like “brush teeth” might fall off the list as your child incorporates them into a daily routine without the need for a reminder on the chart. 

Organizing your chart your own way is up to you, of course. These suggestions are just that — ideas for supervised, age-appropriate chores to get you started as you plan your family chore chart:

Ages 2-3:

  • Brush teeth, make the bed, pick up toys, gather laundry, clean up spills, get water for pets

Ages 4-5:

  • Get dressed, help with groceries, wash hands, set and clear the table, feed pets

Ages 6-7:

  • Comb hair, vacuum, load and unload the dishwasher, fold and sort laundry, walk the dog

Ages 8-11:

  • Take a shower, clean room, do homework, wash dishes, rake the yard, wash and dry clothes

Ages 12-13:

  • Use alarm clock, change sheets, clean other rooms, mow and weed the yard, babysit, cook

Ages 14-15:

  • Get library card, buy groceries, run errands, take out the trash, wash and wax family cars

Ages 16-18:

  • Get a job, make a budget, open bank accounts, buy clothes, save for a car, maintain a car

Concluding thoughts on chore charts for kids

Whether you’re making a daily chore chart — the most common approach — or making one for the whole week or an entire month, free printable chore-chart templates are available on many websites. If you need help getting started, go ahead and print out a chore-chart template that appeals to you. If you do a simple online search for “printable chore charts for kids,” you’ll get plenty of results, with a variety of ideas and approaches, and you won’t have to design your own if you’re not up for it. However, asking your kids to help you design the chart is a great way to get them to take the project seriously at the outset and invest in the new way of keeping track of their responsibilities before you even get started.

Speaking of kids, if you’re adjusting to a new normal of remote schooling for your children, or you planned on homeschooling them anyway, read our article on how to get your home set up for homeschool success. While we’re still on the subject of chores, check out our survey of the most hated chores. Planning to live with roomies this fall and unsure how to address the chores subject? Read our home maintenance strategies for roommates. For more household tips, follow us on Facebook and don’t forget to sign up for our e-newsletter.

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