How to make a chore chart that works
At a Glance: Chore charts aren’t just for kids. Make a chart that includes the whole family, and hang it in a spot where everyone can see.
As a working student, your task list is long but time is short. Why not get an assist from the entire household?
Try a chore chart. Done right, it keeps people on task and encourages teamwork to get all the household jobs finished. The trick is creating a chart that sticks. Here are five tips:
- Make a list
- Fit to age
- Count them up
- Post it
- Consider incentives
Think about what chores need to be done. What bugs you or stresses you out if not completed? For some, putting away laundry tops the list, or it’s dusting and unmade beds. Write down what you want accomplished most each week, and then divvy it all up.
Consider what tasks are appropriate for different aged children. Asking a 5-year-old to vacuum or a 7-year-old to thoroughly clean a bathroom is a recipe for disappointment. Get the 6 and under set emptying garbage cans, matching socks or setting the table. Children 7 to 10 years old can fold laundry, feed and walk pets, and wash dishes, while kids over 11 can make lunches, mow the lawn or unload the dishwasher.
Decide how many chores each person should do each week. A good rule of thumb is the half-your-age rule: three chores when you’re 6, or six when you’re 12. Make it a mix of personal and household tasks, such as cleaning their room and putting away groceries. Be realistic, but keep expectations high. Many children have a natural propensity to help, and giving them chores makes them feel productive and valued.
There are tons of online tools for creating a chart, or you can use a large calendar or handmade grid of family members and corresponding chores. Hang it in a visible spot so that expectations are clear for all to see. That way everyone is held accountable and sees weekly progress.
Some families offer small rewards for completing chores. It can be an allowance, a treat, extra electronic time, or anything that motivates your kids. Others say that pitching in is just part of being a family. It might take time to get used to, but stay the course. This team effort buys you more time to spend with your family doing activities everyone enjoys.
Making and sticking to a chore chart can seem like just another item on your constantly expanding to-do list. But once you actually put it on paper and get your children in the habit, your family life will run smoother and your children will learn responsibility along the way.