“Household chores are a key way that children of all ages can build skills, have a sense of independence and contribute to the family. Despite this, it seems that chores are on the decline. Not surprisingly, parents are also reporting feeling more stressed.”

screen free parenting

Disclaimer: This blog is going to have a high emphasis on chore charts for kids. Though I don’t have a designated chore chart for myself, I do use planning tools that allow me to see my daily responsibilities at a glance. If you’re looking for information that is less geared toward parenting I would suggest this blog and this book. (As an amazon affiliate we may earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you.)

REAL LIFE

Have you ever felt like your kids just aren’t that responsible? Have you ever looked around your house and thought, “I’m sick of being the only person that cleans this place up!?”

If you answered yes to either of those questions, you’re not alone. We’ve been there too, and though we, as parents, definitely feel more responsibility for the state of things in our home we’ve made a huge shift in the last year. It’s because we instituted chore charts.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

We’ve found that we (Trent and I) have an obsession with looking into the future to analyze our current decisions. It definitely makes us a little weird, but the current state of “normal” isn’t super appealing to us. Hear me out.

What will happen if we only let our kids do what they want? What kind of adults will they become?

Highly functioning, enjoyable adults don’t just complete tasks that are interesting to them. They put a high emphasis on collaboration and teamwork. We want our kids to turn into those kind of adults. That means we need to figure out ways to emphasize collaboration and teamwork while they’re in our care.

THE QUESTION THAT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING

I believe most adults want what’s best for their kids. There’s no doubt in my mind that you want what’s best for yours. I’m about to lay out what we do with our own children. I don’t necessarily think you have to follow our routines to the letter in your own home, but I do want to encourage you to consider this question.

“What about the way my family operates needs to change, so my kids can grow into adults I’ll be proud of?”

Answering that question is why we spend one-on-one time with our kids each month. It’s why we have a lot of uncomfortable conversations. It’s why we have our kids resolve conflict the way we do, and it’s why we instituted the chore charts.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A CHORE CHART:

This is a loaded question. Our kids are homeschooled, so their chore charts include everything they need to accomplish each day – Morning routine, schoolwork, daily chores, nighttime routine. It’s all on there. Here’s what Evan’s looks like.

If your kids have a more traditional schedule, then you may only create weekend chore charts. I know of families that do all of their cleaning on Saturdays, and they do it as a family. The point here is not to get you to follow a specific system, but to do something that works for you.

Side Note: We did not consult our children when putting these charts together. With their ages being what they are, we decided that they just needed to do what they were told. However, it is on our radar to revamp the charts and give them more of a choice. I’m not sure how or when that will happen exactly, but it’s something to consider. If we want to raise responsible kids, then they have to be able to put together (and execute) their own plans.

TO REWARD OR NOT TO REWARD

Some people pay their kids for chores while others refuse. We land somewhere in the middle. Here’s our logic. We want our kids to understand how to properly handle money, and we don’t want to just give them an allowance for doing nothing. Paying them for regular work makes sense to us.

However, we don’t pay them for everything.

There are specific chores on the chart that only effect our kids – brushing their teeth, putting their clothes away, cleaning their rooms. We do not pay them for those things. Anything on the chart that effects the whole family – cleaning a bathroom, loading the dishwasher, vacuuming the house – we pay them for.

It’s only $0.50/chore/day, but it’s enough for us to teach them about the importance of regular giving, saving, and spending.

You need to decide what to do with your family, but here would be my recommendations. Preschool-aged kids probably don’t need to be paid. They also don’t need an extensive chore chart. Elementary and middle school-aged kids could be paid a bit of money for the sake of financial education. If your kids are old enough to have their own jobs I would recommend weaning them off the chore payment/allowance.

CHORE CHART BENEFITS

My favorite thing about the chore chart is that I don’t have to remember what our kids are supposed to do each day. It’s all right there in the chart, and it’s up to them to get it done.

Our house is never in perfect shape, but it’s definitely more regularly picked up and clean. Also, since I’m not the sole person responsible for household chores my stress level is much lower.

CHORE CHART CHALLENGES

The greatest challenge to adopting any new and beneficial routine is staying consistent. In order to combat this we give a daily reward – screen time. If the kids finish all of their schoolwork and chores then they get time on their tablets. If they don’t finish, no tablets.

The other challenge is ironing out the details. We went through about three versions of the chore chart before landing on the one we’re currently using. If you decide to implement the chore chart just be aware, it may take a few tries before you figure out a schedule that works.

IS IT A PERFECT SYSTEM?

No. Sometimes the kids run out of time and don’t get to everything. Sometimes they just don’t wanna. I get it. Sometimes I just don’t wanna. There’s definitely an expectation that everything will get done each day, but we also offer grace. There’s always tomorrow.

If you want to quit fighting with your kids about chores and/or teach your kids about money, then the chore chart might be the solution you’ve been waiting for.

Because there’s a better way,
Sarah (and Trent)

ps. Do you use a chore chart in your home? Do you pay your kids for chores (or are you adamantly against it)? We’d love to hear your thoughts! And if you enjoyed this content let us know with a quick comment 🙂

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Stephanie Hanson
Stephanie Hanson
11 months ago

We sort of use a chore chart. Each Friday night I will do up a list and leave it on the counter for the kids. They know that on Saturday morning they have to complete that list before they can get any screen time. This helps us to be able to sleep in a little and them to easily know what our expectations of them are. For all the other days of the week, our schedules change from one week to the next and so we are on a “as needed” policy (ex: If the dishwasher needs to be emptied, they do it. If it doesn’t that day, they don’t). We don’t currently pay our kids for chores, but we are thinking about changing that for the same reason you pay your kids. We want to teach them about tithing, saving and how to be responsible for their own money when they get older.