The Chore Chart


We finally gave Ada some official chores this week, now that she is grown-up and in kindergarten (they’re pretty lame chores, but you have to start somewhere). Which means I now have to print the chore chart on legal sized paper to fit everybody on it. It took me two hours to rearrange chores depending on kids’ schedules (and to download some cute fonts). It’s not for the faint of heart, but it pays off every day.

I happen to think chores are more important than just about anything kids can do. I am appalled by how many kids are so overscheduled that they don’t have time to pitch in around the house. Last time I checked, learning how to do laundry seemed to be a lot more vital than learning how to dribble a ball. Just about every family has a lawn care service where we live. I think that if you have a teenager, he/she needs to be doing that job instead. They are going to need to take care of a yard someday. They won’t learn how to do it without being taught!

Some parents get really upset about the substandard job kids do at chores, but there is no way they will learn to do something well if they haven’t had time to practice. Speaking of practicing, kids need to be shown how to do their chores properly at least three or four times. Just like starting any job, you have to be trained before you can do it well. You can’t just say “load the dishwasher” and expect them to know how to do it decently. You have to commit the time to showing them how it needs to be done.

Just to clarify because someone asks me this every time I talk about chores:

Help With Dinner includes setting the table, and helping with any food prep like grating cheese, browning ground beef or getting me a can of chicken broth. It all depends on the skill level of the helper.

After-Dinner Helper is responsible for clearing the table, putting away leftovers and cleaning up whatever I so desire. I do the nasty stuff, but they have to wipe down the counters usually.

Dirty Dishes are the responsiblity of the Dish Loader. Theoretically all the dishes should be put in the dishwasher immediately by the users but since I hate being the dish nazi it just never happens. I choose to go with what really works rather than some perfectionist ideal. This job also includes washing pots/pan/cookie sheets by hand.

Laundry means sorting, folding and delivering clean laundry. I have no trouble when it comes to starting the laundry. It’s just finishing it that gives me fits. India does her own laundry. York will probably start pretty soon but his tends to get jumbled up with Finn’s since they share a room and I can already imagine the fights about not wanting to do his brother’s laundry. Oh, the joy of siblings!

Empty Garbage is the two-person job (one person holding the bag, the other person dumping the can) of emptying all the garbage cans in the house. Not to be confused with York taking the big cans and recycling out to the corner.

Ada has the job of pushing in kitchen chairs–I hate having them not pushed in. It’s a pet peeve. And our sofa has lots of loose cushions which are always jumbled up or made into a fort. Now there is someone responsible for making them nice and tidy. I love having minions! Even though they create most of the messes to begin with.

Some things, like making beds, have been omitted due to the lack of space on the chore chart. But they get done regularly. Some things aren’t that big of a deal to me (like clean bedrooms. I have the kids clean them once every week or two. I just don’t care that much most of the time. I worry more about the public spaces.)

We also don’t give allowance for chores. Chores must be done because our children live in our family and that what happens when you live in a family. In my house growing up each chore was assigned a monetary value–the idea being that we would earn our allowance. A good idea in theory, but the way it panned out was that we kids would decide that we didn’t really need the money so we wouldn’t do the chores. I just like the idea of pitching in because it’s the right thing to do, not because you’re getting paid.

(But we do have separate chores that kids can do to earn money like matching stray socks, cleaning out the microwave, mowing the lawn, etc.)

| Filed under Kids

18 thoughts on “The Chore Chart

  1. I totally agree that kids need chores and should have to help around the house. I haven't neccessarily done a chore chart, but I think we are getting close to needing one. My two oldest do most of the work and my lazy butt 4 year old whines and does very little…it's starting to get super annoying. 🙂

  2. I love this!! I NEED MORE MINIONS! See, this is why my parents had five kids! Brian just doesn't get it! Ok ok, they make most of the mess but you know what? Our house is messy now and Jay can't make any of the mess… It's us! We need more kids to clean it up!

    My parents totally made us clean their room when I was younger and it was really rude. We didn't get allowance. But I didn't get woopins if I did my job.

    Bytheway… You were the first person I knew with a daughter named Adelaide, and now guess what?.. I've met 3 other people who just named their babies that! it's coming back!!

  3. I also can't stand it when the chairs aren't scooted in! I preach about that constantly!

    I'm impressed with your chart. I'm just 2 kids (and a few years) away from using a bit of white-out to change a name here and there…..

  4. We finally went to a a chore system where you have 3 chores for 3 months. Then we rotate. It gives them much more practice, and much less thinking for me.

    How do you find cute fonts and down load them? I don't understand how that works.

  5. When I was growing up we had what I thought then were torturous chores, but looking back I wish that instead of vacuuming the stairs or raking loads of leaves in the fall my mom would have thought to make us kitchen helpers, maybe I would know more about cooking and my kids wouldn't yell "Its the pizza man!" every time the doorbell rings.

    I really like your job chart…do you think that I could add James' name into a chart and have those things get done regularly? Just kidding, kind of.

  6. I guess it's probably time for me to do a chore chart. Or maybe not. I just feel like at this point it's going to take a lot more effort to find my kids, force them to come help me set the table/water the plants/pick up the couch cushions than to just do it myself. does it get easier after they do it for a while or is it always like pulling teeth?

  7. Here are my comment-snippets on the last several posts:

    I HATE chores, and by that I mean my kids' chores, but I persist in making my kids do chores because I agree with you that it's very important.

    My brother and sister (who aren't normally particularly much fans of country music) played several country songs for me in the car on a long drive a while ago and they made us all weeeeeeep. "Jesus, Take the Wheel" was one of them and I don't remember what the other ones were.

    But my dad once wisely said that the difference between country music and rock was that country is about adultery and rock is about fornication.

    Speaking of smart kids and procrastination, I heard about a study where kids who were praised for their efforts rather than for being smart performed better in the long run–presumably because you can control how hard you try but jut being smart is more like luck, more a magical thing, and depending on that tended to make kids fearful and risk-averse, which wasn't conducive to lasting success.

    So I try not to tell my kids they're smart, but it's hard because they are.

    I love your wackiness certificate.

  8. You are funny. I read you all the time but it's through Google reader so I never comment.

    Just thought I'd stop in to say that I"m here


    Ditto to the kids having chores that they do as members of the family and then extras for money. That's our deal here too.

  9. One of my husband's aunts didn't pay her kids for chores either. She would say, "Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy".

  10. I love your chore chart. What font is it in please? I’d really like to make the same one like this for my family. Thank you!

    1. The headings and names are a font called Walrus Gumbo and the other font (for the chores) is called riddle. They’re both free. I managed to delete my chore chart so I need to start over from scratch. Boo hop!

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