6 Ways to Create a Chore Schedule Your Kids Will Stick to

 Getting kids to do chores has never exactly been easy. But there’s good reason to believe that it’s quite important for kids to learn to do chores consistently. It helps them become more competent and responsible adults, and it also makes things easier on parents around the house. 


So how is a parent supposed to impress the importance of doing chores on their kids? And how can they create a schedule that kids will actually stick to? It turns out there are lots of tricks and tools you can use, from whiteboard wall stickers to creating games out of daily chores. Here are six of the best methods that parents have found to be effective in creating a consistently effective chore schedule. 




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  1. Make sure to assign age-appropriate chores. 


First, consider how old your kids are and what kinds of chores they can reasonably handle. Appropriate chores will vary by each child’s skills and abilities, but these are some general suggestions for chores by age level: 


  • Preschoolers: Folding clothes, setting the table, putting away toys

  • School Age Kids: Sweeping, dusting, mopping, picking up clutter, washing dishes, caring for pets

  • Teenagers: Cooking, caring for younger children, cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, cleaning vehicles


Finally, take notice when a kid is curious about how a chore is performed. If you can get your child excited about learning to use a pool skimmer, for example, you can make it a fun step up to a “big kid chore” rather than just another daily task. 


  1. Use a written chore chart. 


There’s no mistaking who’s responsible for cleaning the toilet when it’s clearly written out on a chart for everyone to see. That’s why so many households use written chore charts to divide up household duties. 


Many families find that the most efficient way to create a chore chart is to use a whiteboard. A whiteboard makes it easy to change and rotate chores, and it’s easy to decorate one with fun magnets or other trinkets. Post your whiteboard or dry erase calendar wall decal in a central area so that everyone can see it and no one has an excuse to ignore it! 


  1. Create a family chore time. 


Doing chores together as a family can be one of the best ways to encourage kids to take their household tasks seriously. You can establish a lot of accountability, as well as a sense of family solidarity and togetherness, by creating a time of day when everyone works on their assigned tasks. 


It’s good to have a sense of collaboration running through multiple aspects of your chore system. Have family members check each other’s chores to ensure that everything is as it should be, or have those who finish their chores early pitch in to help those who are still working. In general, the more your family feels that chores are a collaborative job, the easier it will be to get everyone to pull their weight. 




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  1. Turn chores into games. 


Anything can be a little more fun if you turn it into a game! Making chores into games is one of the simplest ways to get kids to do them, and gamification offers opportunities to help make sure that chores are done right. 


The games you can create are limited only by your imagination (and your kids’). Here are a few suggestions: 


  • Challenge kids to finish their chores first, and provide the first place finisher with a prize, like cookies or choosing a movie to watch

  • Hold a contest to see who can fold the most laundry or pick up the most dirty clothes

  • Turn on some music and challenge kids to finish a chore before the song ends

  • Create a pair of “chore dice” that randomize chores 

  • Make a point-based reward system for doing chores that kids can cash in for prizes once they reach a certain amount of points


  1. Give detailed instructions. 


Kids will feel more comfortable and confident with doing their chores if you provide detailed instructions on how things need to be done. It’s especially important to do the chores with your kids the first few times to make sure they’ve got the hang of it and give gentle, constructive, non-judgmental feedback. Unclear standards are a surefire gateway to frustration, tears and unfinished chores. 


For complex tasks, or for kids who feel more comfortable with written instructions, it can be a good idea to put together a binder of household chore instructions with laminated pages. This also has the advantage of setting a clear and unmistakable standard that every member of the family can be held to. 


  1. Rotate (and even reward) the icky chores. 


We all know that there are some chores that no one really likes. Cleaning the toilet, scooping the litter box, washing dishes by hand and even picking up dog mess in the yard—kids are rarely clamoring to do these chores. Thus, it’s especially important to rotate these chores and make sure that the same person doesn’t get stuck with them every time. 


You could even establish a reward system for the person who gets stuck with the gross chores. Maybe these chores are worth double “chore points,” or they entitle the chore-doer to a bowl of ice cream afterwards. However, make sure it’s clear that these chores have to be done, whether they result in a reward or not. 




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Finding the right chore system for your house can take a little bit of work, but the rewards are worth it. Your house will be cleaner, your schedule will be more consistent and your kids will build character. Sounds like a winner to us. 




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