This is some sample text.
Learn More

Chore Charts – teaching kids responsibility

Remember in July when I mentioned that I was searching for a way to teach my girls more about responsibility and managing money?  Since then I have read books and searched on-line (and asked all of you!) for different ideas to give me a jump start.  There are so many different ways to approach chores and allowance systems.  I think the most important thing to think about is what will work for YOU.  What works for one family won’t necessarily work for another.  I gathered different ideas from various places and ended up creating something customized that fits our needs.  I thought I’d share it with all of you in case it gives you an idea or two for your family as well!

You all know how I feel about a good list.  :)  Because I’m a list girl, a daily check list made the most sense to me.  There are three sections – Morning Routine, After School Routine, and Family Space.  If the items in each section are checked off, they earn 40 cents.  Three sections worth 40 cents each – so they have the ability to earn $1.20 each day which means up to $6 a week.  I know this isn’t much.  But we’ve never done an allowance before so my girls think they are going to be rolling in the dough.  :)  As they get older, I’m sure I’ll add to their responsibilities and increase their earnings.  I’ll also make them more responsible for paying for more things on their own, where now they are just earning extra spending money.  (I am having them save 10% to give, 20% to save, and the rest is for them to spend how they choose.)
Morning Routine – This section is easy but the girls only earn their money if they don’t have to be reminded to keep getting ready.  I wanted to eliminate me having to say “are you finished with breakfast?  Then what should you be doing?”  Maybe my kids are the only kids who get distracted in the mornings, but man.  We sure get distracted.  This list also reminds them of the little things – like if they are sick, did they take their medicine? etc.  
After School Routine – After school my girls are busy with this list!  They have to unload and put away their things in our mudroom, get their homework done, do their reading, typing practice, feed the turtles, clean their room and bathroom, and put away any of their clothes I’ve washed.  They also have to get their backpacks loaded and ready for the next day on their own.  LOVING this and I’ll tell you why.  It has taken all of the pressure off of me.  I don’t have to remember everything that needs to be done anymore.  When they say “can I play” I don’t have to ask if the turtles are fed and their room is clean and try to remember what else needs to be done.  I can just say “is everything checked off your list?”  

Family Space – Each week I choose three areas of the house that I want them to help with.  They are responsible to help make sure those spaces are kept clean.  I left those lines blank on the checklist so I can change them to what I want, when I want.  I’ll rotate through quite a few jobs so that they learn how to take care of different areas of our house.  
We’ve now used these for two weeks.  A few thoughts:
– The only down side I’ve found with this system is that I’m printing these lists everyday.  I’d like to eventually make something that is more permanent but for now, I really like that they have their list with them after school and are checking things off as they complete them.  (Thinking at some point we’ll switch to white erase boards or I’ll put them in a page protector or laminate them.  Something so I’m not wasting paper!)
– After they finish each section I check that they are done and write at the top of their page what they earned for the day.  Checklists go in a trey in my office and I pay them at the end of the week.  
– Because of after school activities – gymnastics, dance, church activity days, singing, swim lessons, etc. there are days they don’t earn all of their money simply because there isn’t enough time.  Morning and After School Routine Sections always get finished but a few times the girls haven’t had time to help with their Family Space.  And that’s ok.  On days we have more time at home they are able to do everything.  
– Because so much of the new chore chart is weekly/school stuff, we’ll still do our simple to-do list I write on Saturdays.  No money for that.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  :)
– I love that the Family Space section forces me to teach them how to clean things I probably wouldn’t have taught them otherwise.  It’s always easier for me to just do it quickly myself!  But my girls want to earn their money so it is forcing me to stop and teach them how to unload and load dishes, wash counters, vacuum floors, clean bathroom sinks, keep the pantry organized, etc.  
– The other day my girls wanted to order a pretzel from a pretzel truck that visits their school.  I said – “Sure!  Use your own money!”  Then they debated whether or not it was worth it.  Nice.  
– I don’t have to nag them to get things done anymore.
– I love that.  :)
New chore charts!  Helping all of us stay on track around here. 
p.s.  If you are looking for a system for little kids you can see the Star Behavior Charts I made for my girls when they were younger.  These worked well for us for years!  

xoxo, Erin
Join the Conversation

30 thoughts on “Chore Charts – teaching kids responsibility

  1. Laminate one list for each girl (blank) and just write on it and erase it each night and track in a notebook what they earned that day. Easier than a white board.

  2. You can slide those in a sheet protector and use dry erase over them! You can write in the Family Space assignments with wet erase markers so they won’t rub off easily. Clip it all to a clipboard and it will be easy to carry with them around the house if necessary. Great list, I like this idea! My boys are 7 1/2 and we stopped allowance around the time they turned 7 because they were obsessing about money and constantly wanting to spend it. It became too much focus on material things- they were only thinking about buying because they money! We will try again when they are older and I will probably make a rule that they have to save $20 before they come beg me to take them shopping.

  3. Love this and love your blog! One thing that might be helpful is to print one page and slip it into a picture frame. Then you have a dry erase ready chore chart that can be wiped clean each day without having to reprint or rewrite the basics!

  4. Erin, You could print the pages out on card stock or a heavier paper and have them laminated. Then each day they can check off what they have done with a dry erase marker. The next day, just erase and start again. That will save you paper!

  5. Erin, You could print the pages out on card stock or a heavier paper and have them laminated. Then each day they can check off what they have done with a dry erase marker. The next day, just erase and start again. That will save you paper!

  6. I struggled with using so much paper too! I created a morning chart and an afternoon chart for each child. The charts are laminated and have two long strips of Velcro. On one side, there are strips of paper(laminated)with tasks to do (put on shoes, take vitamins, etc. When they complete the task, they move the task to the done Velcro strip. For chores, I have a chore jar with chore sticks. They have to pick a daily chore and a weekly chore (these are color coded). The daily can be done quickly(e.g. sweep kitchen floor, clean out bathroom sink). They have all week to complete the weekly chore (e.g. vacuum out the car, organize your closet, sweep out the garage). I feel like this is working well for now, but I am always looking for new ideas. Thanks for sharing yours! Lisa

  7. Love the new chore list. I’ve been struggling with finding something that works for our two kiddos. An idea that popped into my head…add Mon-Fri check-off boxes next to each item and use the same list for the entire week. I know it’s hard to keep up with all the paperwork! Have a lovely Wednesday!

  8. Thank you so much everyone! Love hearing your ideas and suggestions! Last night I was laying in bed and thought about laminating them or slipping them in a page protector. Then I woke up and read your comments and you are all thinking the same thing! Love it. :) I added it to my post. Perfect solution! Thanks for all the feedback!

  9. I love the 10, 20, 70 idea, especially the 10 % one as it teaches them to pay tithing & they know they will be blessed for being obedient:)

    By the way, I’m thinking of doing some of these lists for myself as I need a lot of motivation at the moment.:)

  10. You’re such an inspiration! I’ve been looking for a simple chore chart for my 7 year old. I found one, but there’s too much to look at that my son doesn’t care…..but he still wants his allowance :) Your chart is perfect with some tweaking to fit our family. Thank you!!!!

  11. If they have Ipads, I’d just load it on there-and keep a simple spreadsheet for them to fill in with how much they have earned/etc.

    No paper at all, LOL.

    Like you, I am a LIST maker with a capital L-I use a small planner, but I also have on my phone-and it springs up every day at 9am with my daily list. It has sub areas for whatever you need- personal/shopping/library/etc etc. Love that app.

    My kids are twins, and we had a chart that lived on the fridge. It was a simple checklist, but it helped tremendously. Kids really do love order :)

    Now that they live on their own, my daughter is queen of listmaking, while my son does everything spontaneously.

    Go figure. Hope you guys haven’t melted yet with this crazy HEAT we’re having in SD! Fingers crossed it leaves by the weekend.

  12. My mother always operated under the premise that it is the parent’s job to teach the child how to do things for themselves. I followed that advice when I had children of my own.

    Yes, it’s definitely easier to just do it yourself, but in reality, that’s the easy way out. The parent will not live forever, and at some point, the child must be able to fend for themselves.

    Good for you for taking on the task of teaching your children to be productive people, able to take care of themselves.

    Love your blog. I get so many good ideas from it.

  13. Thanks Susan! The iPad isn’t a bad idea! :) I know. I’m so over this heat! I want cool air and fall boots.

    Thank you Riley! What a kind thing to say. That means a lot. xx

  14. Erin,
    I sooooooo need this! With my two oldest boys, I am constantly reminding them what to do each morning to get ready and it drives me nuts. (They are 7 and 8 – I should not have to do this!) They get distracted quite easily – I’ve even had to make a no talking in the mudroom rule :) They will go in the mudroom with the intention of getting shoes/backpacks/jackets and will just stand there and talk to each other for five minutes instead of get ready. LOL Anyway, this is such a great idea. Thank you so, so much!

  15. Any tips for kids in afterschool care and a working mom. I get home with the kids around 5. I’m a high school teacher and feel like I prompt kids all day :) list would be great, just not sure manageable amount for a 9 and 4 year old 5pm onwards? Any tips?

  16. I love this post. In going to do this when my kids get older too!

    I love the laminating idea. You could laminate 7 chore lists, one for each day, so you don’t have to track it down each day. And your girls can still put them in your inbox each day :)

  17. Love this idea. Would you be willing to share your PDF file? A file that we can edit to our standards. I would love to make one for my kiddos. Please let me know. Thanks for the idea. Your the best. Stephanie

  18. Hi again,
    I’m curious, did the girls buy a pretzel/pretzels in the end?

    Also, do you have lists for Kole as well, if so what kinds of things do you have for him & do they have pictures on?

    I wish British children could learn – & do – chores like children do in the US. That’s one of the many things I loved when I lived in Utah a few years ago. I’d never seen children helping in the house before & was so impressed by that.

    You’re doing a brill job:)

  19. I have a few charts I use for gaming that are laminated and work great. Even if you leave the wet erase on for a while and it doesn’t come off with water, just scribble over the previous marks and wipe off. Cleans it right up. Oh and we like wet erase because it doesn’t leave the “flakes/dust” that the dry erase can after a while.

  20. This is almost identical to how we did it with our boys a few years ago. The best part about this type of system, is that as they get older, their jobs kind of become habits! We no longer need a devised, formal list. They just know what to do and do it! Of course, I have one son that earns the maximum amount each week and another son who (occasionally) owes US money! Different personalities. But money speaks and even my lazier son eventually understands the language! :)

  21. I don’t/won’t pay for chores (or grades). These are expectations and non-negotiable. If they chose to not do them there are consequences other than simply not getting paid. Just food for thought…

  22. Erin – we are in the same boat! So easily distracted in the morning rush! These charts have really helped with that.

    Hi Pat! I would definitely scale back on the list because your time is limited (so much to do in the evening with dinner/showers/homework. I’d just assign maybe one family space they are in charge of helping with and then pick up room and put away laundry. Maybe only your 9 year old does laundry. 4 year old can “help” with room and one family space. Something to try and then you can make it simpler if you are still running out of evening time or add to it if you feel like your 9 year old can handle more.

    Stephanie – I would LOVE to share a PDF file! I just need to learn how to do that on the blog! ha! Maybe Kenny can show me this weekend.

    Thanks Julie! Kole doesn’t have a chart yet. He just “helps” us with all of our chores. He loves to vacuum and wash off the kitchen bar stools so those are his daily jobs. :)

    Haley – good idea! Thank you!

    Stephanie – that’s the goal for sure! Funny how different kids are. :)

    Thank Jboo!

    Amy – We look at it as a good way to start teaching our kids how to save/manage their own money. They are going to be responsible for buying things now that I would have bought them myself before. But like I said, what works for one family doesn’t work for another! Glad you have something set up that works for you!

  23. Thank you for these ideas! I just found your blog and it is so encouraging. I used a version of your chore charts and especially love the things like “pre pack the lunch for next day”. So simple, but really has been great! I thought I was organized…but I am getting so many new ideas from you! Thank you so much! So encouraging!

  24. Thanks Erin. While I don’t always agree with all you say or how you decorate, I really enjoyed reading this post. I’ve been following you for years and have never commented. I appreciate you taking the time to include the details and what worked/didn’t work. Keep blogging lady!

  25. I just want to say how refreshing, helpful and organized your blog is!! Thank you for sharing all of this helpful information with us. Makes life easier for us.

Shop my instagram

View All Posts