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How to Use a Chore Chart for Kids That Works (and Succeed!)

At Jennakate, we understand the value and advantages of a good chore chart.  The benefits and uses are unlimited for both parent and child.

But we have many parents that ask us time and time again, how to use a chore chart for kids.  Either they don’t know how to set a chore schedule, they don’t know how to set up rewards or points for chores, or they don’t know how to help their child stay consistent and succeed.

Read on to find out how you can create a chore chart that works for your family!

A good chores chart is not just about getting kids to do housework.  Sometimes a child struggles with behavioral issues and needs help.  Sometimes you need a way to track reading schedules with your kids.  And sometimes, your preschooler is just having a hard time with their morning routine.

Setting up a great system can benefit both of you and calm anxiety, stress, and contention.

Related: How to be productive as a Work at Home Mom

The Benefits of a Good Chore or Behavior Chart

According to The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Research suggests there are benefits to including chores in a child’s routine as early as age 3. Children who do chores may exhibit higher self-esteem, be more responsible, and be better equipped to deal with frustration, adversity, and delayed gratification. These skills can lead to greater success in school, work, and relationships.

They include such benefits as:

  • Learning time management skills
  • Developing organizational skills
  • Accepting responsibility in the family
  • Providing an opportunity for success (especially for a child struggling in other ways)
  • Learning to balance work and play from a young age
  • Setting a good foundation for functioning independently
  • Boosting self esteem
  • Improving healthy, positive behavior
  • Strengthening relationships
  • Gives a sense of feeling helpful and productive

how to use a chore chart for kids

Ways to Use a Chore Chart

Chore charts can be utilized in numerous ways!  Some great examples are:

  • As a behavior chart
  • Chores to help around the house (responsibility chart)
  • Routines list
  • Homework reminders
  • Reading reward chart
  • Earn screentime chart
  • Practice reminders (music, talent & sports)
  • Potty training
  • Daily pet care

How to Create a Chore List

Before you start writing a list of chores, you must decide on your “why”.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the overall goal of the chore chart?
  2. What will work for your child’s personality and situation?
  3. What are you able/willing to keep up with?
  4. Can you stay consistent with the chore system you are about to create?
  5. What type of reward system will work for your child?
  6. Is it age appropriate?

How to Organize a Chore Chart Schedule

Once you figure out the intent of your child’s routine chart, it’s time to figure out which tasks you would like to include.

What tasks or routines should be done daily?  Weekly?

Are you going to use a points or reward system?  If so, what kind? We’ll give some great examples below!

Are there specific times of the day you would like certain chores to be done?

Make sure the chart is clear and easy to follow.

How to Keep Track of Chores

a well designed reward chore chart point system for kids

There are some different ways of keeping track of which chores, routines or behaviors have been successfully accomplished.  That is why a chore chart point system is so helpful!

Whether you use points, checkmarks, stars, stickers, coins, tokens, or tickets, it’s important to find a method that your child can understand and easily keep up with.

Simply sit down with your child and decide on an appropriate reward, then plan out your tracking system of earning that reward.

How to Divide Household Chores With Family

Some chores are not just the responsibility of one person and must be shared or divided with the rest of the family.

A rotating chore chart system will help kids know who is responsible for what.

Some great ways to specify who is responsible for which chores can be:

  • Using a multiple child chore chart
  • Color coding chores.
  • Specifying if the chore is only once per week
  • Creating a master chore list where children are able to choose or rotate through which chores they are responsible for

How Many Chores is Too Many?

The point of a chore chart is not to turn our children into slaves, but to teach responsibility.  Keeping in mind their age and abilities is so important.

Patrick S. Pasquariello, MD of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia says “There is no hard-and-fast rule about how many chores are appropriate for your child. Kids in elementary school should be expected to do 10 to 20 minutes of helping around the house each day. You can expect a little more on the weekends and in the summer. Teenagers can do 20 to 30 minutes a day, with bigger chores, such as lawn-mowing, on the weekends.”

 

How to Use a Chore Chart for Toddlers and Preschoolers

A chore chart is a great tool for helping toddlers successfully accomplish their routines.

While brushing teeth every morning might be a given for an older child, toddlers sometimes need help remembering the everyday basics like, putting on socks, brushing hair, or washing hands before a meal.

Behaviors may also be an area where a toddler or a preschool age child may need guidance and structure.  Behavior charts can quickly produce positive results.

chore chart for toddler preschool with picture chore magnets

Using pictures rather than words helps your toddler to be more independent.  They can figure out the task on their own making them feel more accomplished.

Make sure your toddlers household chores are simple and age appropriate so that they do not fail. 

Always be sure to help them with their tasks.  Let them see you work!

You may need to shorten the time span for earned rewards.  While an older child might be able to wait a week to a month for their reward, a toddler might need small rewards more frequently.

How to Make Chores Fun for Kids!

how to make chores fun for kids reward system

Chores are not a punishment and should never be used as such!  Forcing can cause resentment and avoidance.

Learning to work in a positive way is important to your child’s future success.

As they grow up, they will need to learn to do homework, hold down jobs, work with others, maintain a household and yard, go to college, and teach their own families how to work.

So, make learning to work and get along with others fun and rewarding!

Be sure to add in chores that are things they love to do

Let them choose some chores.  This gets them excited and involved and helps them to feel in control of the situation.

Make a game of it!  Use your cheerleader voice to announce pick-up time, have a race to see who can do the most or be the fastest, or announce a special incentive for today’s chores getting done quickly.

Do chores with them, and stay involved in a positive way.

How to Set Rewards Using a Chore Chart

Why use a reward system?

We all love, and work for rewards.  Even as adults!  We go to work to earn money, we remodel a room so that it can look and feel improved, we sneak a bowl of chocolate ice cream after a hard day…right? 

Well, kids love rewards and incentives too! Rewards for chores and a well designed reward system can be extremely beneficial and effective.

To us adults, the reward of doing chores is often just the gratification of a clean room, or knowing all the laundry is done, or that you can go to bed with a clean house, or that the yard looks lovely after the lawn is mowed and weeds are pulled.

To kids, this is not entirely true.  Most often, an incentive for a child needs to be something they are interested in, which would not be the way a room looks.  Whether it’s an extra story, screentime, making cookies with mommy, money, a toy, a trip to the park, or simply earning their stars or stickers, the incentive needs to be geared towards the child.

And don’t worry, this is not a situation where a child thinks they must be rewarded forever.  They will start to learn the reward of accomplishing the task, especially if you point out how great it is when they accomplish something on their own. Rewards for kids can be simple and do not need to involve purchasing toys or other large items, but you must do what works best for your family.

 How to track rewards

If using a point system, simply decide how many points each task is worth, then decide on a total point goal for the week. It is best to give your child some leeway. Do not expect perfection or you may just be setting them up for failure and the whole system will crumble. You WANT for them to succeed. This boosts their confidence and their desire to continue on!

 There are many ways to track rewards, some ideas include:

  • Earning stars or stickers (this can also be the reward if it works for your child)
  • Using points that add up to a reward
  • Money or allowance as part of a family economy system
  • Fake money or tickets
  • Collecting pennies, tokens or marbles for each task earned

How to Succeed With a Chore or Behavior Chart

Make sure that the communication is always clear.  You may have a vision in your head of what a clean room looks like, but your child might not have that same vision. 

how to use a chore chart for kids behavior chart ideas for home

Always verbally appraise, give hugs, etc.  Tell them how awesome they are!

Test and give it time.  If things are not working out, it’s ok.  Just reevaluate and try something different until you have a system that works for both of you.

Behaviorists recommend not taking away the earned chore chart points, tokens or rewards if you need to punish for a behavior.  So instead, use a different negative reinforcer such as no T.V. or earlier bedtime.

Bribes do not work!

A reward and a bribe are two different things.  Make sure you know the difference.

I was a children’s portrait photographer for years and cannot tell you how many times the sessions with bribing parents failed, vs. the sessions where the parents had complete confidence in their kids’ ability to behave on their own, succeeded.

I hope you find success with your chore or behavior charts.  Let us know how you’re doing and where you find your successes! Visit the Jennakate Shop for a chore chart that will fit your family needs.

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