Chores are an unfortunate consequence of daily life and teaching kids how to do them can give a sense of responsibility and independence as well as feeling like they are important contributors to the family. However, there’s one thing about chores that kids (and us grown-ups) detest – they are boring!
So how do you make doing the mundane chores fun for kids so that they can learn some life skills and also be more eager to help around the house?
How To Begin
Getting started takes a bit of work and input from your part as a parent but it will be worth it in the end.
The first step is to get them involved with chores as early on as possible- the younger they start, the more normalized doing chores are for them. However, the best way to get buy-in and for kids to successfully adopt doing chores is to write them down.
Chore charts do just that and they also act as a visual prompt to remind kids (and parents) which chores need to be done and by when.
Below is a list of some of the more fun and visually enticing chore charts below that you can either buy or make yourself:
The wonderful folks at Lemon Squeezy Home have designed a simple two-columned “to do” and “done” printed-off chart which is stuck to a magnetic sheet and is customized to each member of the household.
The various tasks are labeled on magnetic buttons which then are stuck onto magnetic sheets under the relevant column for the relevant person. The sheets are then put into frames and then hung up for accessibility.
As the above chart, this chart features a simple two-column system, with a twist- the inclusion of a progress chart which shows kids how close they are to an incentive in a visual manner. What is also fabulous about this chart is that the magnetic buttons are labeled with pictures instead of words, making it even easier for the little ones to decipher. The website gives a full breakdown of instructions and what is needed to create these game changing chore charts.
These handy, colorful charts can be printed on heavy paper. After laminating (for multiple uses with markers), magnets can be attached to the chart so that it can be placed on the refrigerator to remind kids to do which chores when.
These professionally printed and flame-polished, minimalist acrylic charts come with a wet-erase marker and are really easy to clean. The charts come in all shapes and sizes and can be customized for other items such as habit trackers or weekly calendars.
Although they aren’t as colorful or interactive as the previous charts mentioned above, they are a functional addition to any home.
What is great about this chart is that it is minimalistic and can be used for all age groups. It is a digital file that you buy and print out as many times as you like or laminated as with the Magnetic Kids’ Chore Chart from Self-Sufficient Kids.
A collection of free printable chore charts for kids by I Should be Mopping the Floor.
These colorful charts are available free of charge and can be laminated and used multiple times. The website gives a good how-to guide on how to use these charts and gives suggestions such as the use of stickers to mark off when tasks are completed.
Below are some more free charts:
- Colorful bunting themed charts from Beautiful MESS
- Daily Chore Chart from Living Well Spending Less
- Quirky Chore Charts by Sarah Halstead
- A wide variety of charts courtesy of Freebie Finding Mom and Ashley Phipps
- Comprehensive charts from Penny Pinchin’ Mom which is designed tobe suitable for all ages and The Life of Amy J. Delightful
- Routine checklists available from A Bowl Full of Lemons
- As well as all the templates your heart could desire if this list didn’t tickle your fancy from Template Lab
Other Things To Consider
While a chore chart is a great starting point, there are a few other steps to take to achieve successful adaptation of chores by kids.
Freedom Of Choice
One thing is to allow the kids input on what chores they would like to do and allow them the freedom to allocate some of the chores to you as parents. This reinforces the idea that that chore is something everyone in the family should do.
Allowing them to make decisions will also empower them and in so doing give them the confidence to carry out other tasks presented to them in daily life.
Chores Across The Ages
Not all chores are appropriate for all ages. Toddlers (age 2-3) can hardly be expected to prepare meals when they can hardly be dressed by their parents! A list of examples of chores for different ages is given below:
- Picking up toys
- Collecting items or clothes
- Putting clothes in the washer/dryer
- Vacuuming the couch
- Folding towels
- Watering plants
- Feeding pets
- Meal prep
- Hang out laundry
- Folding clothes
- Making simple meals
- Taking out the trash
- Clean toilets
- Making full meals
- Cleaning out fridges
- Supervising younger kids chores
- Mowing the Yard
Another top tip is to show the kids how to do the chores that they have chosen. The key here is to take time to teach them how to do the task without having too high a standard of the result. It is important to keep in mind the end goal of raising a child that is willing to help.
It is also important to emphasize the positives of the work they have done when giving feedback and then correcting them by showing them again how to complete the task. Kids are more willing to listen to advice if it is framed in a way that is not dictatorial.
Be very careful not to critize or yell at the kids as this will lead to a form of resistance in them and they will either be too scared to complete chores (for fear of failure) or they will be completely discouraged from attempting chores- which defeats the purpose of teaching the kids how to do chores.
Remember, most people don’t really enjoy doing chores and so it is hood to get involved with the cleaning and do a family deep clean at the weekend as a team to show children that it is a team exercise and can be fun.
Incorporate games and activities in the cleaning up; hold mini-competitions such as “See who can pick up the most toys in 30 seconds” whereby the kids would count how many toys can be picked up by each of them with the given timeslot.
Frequently Asked Questions
At What Age Should Kids Start Doing Chores?
As mentioned above, the earlier you start giving kids chores the better. This is because they will then learn from an early age to incorporate chores naturally into their daily routine and may not make as much fuss about it later on.
Now, giving toddlers a task or chore to do may often seem like fighting a losing battle as they often behave like that one drunk and clumsy person at the nightclub. However, toddlers are natural helpers and are eager to learn and get involved in things, even menial tasks.
If your kids are above toddler age, it is still possible to teach them to do chores. It may just take a bit more encouragement.
What Are Common Chores For Kids?
The best way to decide on what chores to give to kids is to create a list of chores that need to be done around the house and sit with your kids and choose age-appropriate tasks with them to complete.
The chores that are chosen should be easy or simple enough to complete but still impart a sense of responsibility to the kid so that they recognise that the work they do in the form of chores is an important part of living in a house with a family.
How Do I Motivate Kids To Do Chores?
A big motivator, as mentioned previously, is working together. Working around and with the family to complete a common goal or chore will help kids tremendously to stay on track and keep motivated.
Some parents pay children as an incentive to complete a chore. However, paying kids for chores done doesn’t always pay off. Recent research shows that it could actually do more harm than good as it takes the focus off of the goal of doing the chore onto a monetary basis.
Another way of incentivizing chores could be to reward a kid with their favorite family activity once a week of chores have been completed.
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