At the time, I was managing the household, working full-time with overtime hours, and just had a baby—meaning two kids under two. I was overwhelmed, and most nights went to bed with anxiety and tears. My husband sat me down one night and gently and lovingly reminded me that we’re a team: to help him help me. We got a babysitter, bought some Popsicle sticks, and wrote down everything we needed to do, weekly, biweekly, and monthly, and split it evenly. This chore chart is what materialized.
That night was life-changing for us.
What came out of it was beautiful: motivation, teamwork, communication, understanding, and a game-like atmosphere to completing tasks. I loved it so much that I decided to implement a simpler version with the kids too.
I believe chores teach life-long skills, skills kids need to become successful, respectful, and empathetic adults.
And, I don’t think chores have to be a drag. My daughter loves to be my “helper” and is proud helping mommy. Chores are character building: they teach responsibility, respect, organization, tidiness, attention to detail, teamwork, independence, empathy, and more, all the while feeding their self-esteem.
“The best predictor of young adults’ success in their mid-20’s was that they participated in household tasks when they were three or four.” – Marty Rossman, MD
I hope this chart can be useful to your family too.
- Small colorful Popsicle sticks
- Sharpie Pen (Fine Tip)
- Magnet Tape
- (Optional) Hot Glue Gun
- (Optional) Larger Popsicle Sticks for Names
Before we get started, there are endless ways to create this chart. You can use color coding to differentiate between daily, weekly, or monthly chores (e.g., red is daily, blue is weekly, and green is monthly), or perhaps by assigned child (e.g., blue is Jason and green is Mandi).
You could also use color coding and rotate who gets what color each week, or use a combination of the two (everyone is assigned a certain color, but yellow chores are rotated between children each week). The possibilities are endless. The directions I offer are only one iteration of what you can create! Do what works best for your age levels and needs.
Directions to Create:
- First, decide on how you’d like to incorporate the colors. See the “Options” section above for ideas. For this example, we will use one color to determine a single child’s weekly chores.
- Next, using the Sharpie, write each child’s name on a larger Popsicle stick.
- Pick a color and, for each child, grab two Popsicle sticks. Write “To Do” on one and “Done” on the other.
- Now, write out each child’s weekly chores, one per stick.
- Cut magnet pieces to fit on the back of the Popsicle sticks. Attach by using the adhesive strip or, better, use a hot glue gun to attach the magnet.
Direction to Use:
- Display Chart: Display the chart where it’s easy to see and reach. Perhaps on the refrigerator, the dishwasher, or buy a magnetic board to hang in a room.
- Set Up: Place your child’s name at the top, then the “To Do” category below. Place all chores under “To Do” and place “Done” at the bottom.
- Use: Using our example, a child should move the chore they’ve completed from “To Do” to “Done” throughout the week. On the last day of the week, the parent should review the chart and move all items back to “To Do” once a new week begins.
What system does your family implement for helping with household tasks?
Here is a list of resources to help you learn more about the benefits of chores and to help you decide on age-appropriate tasks.
- Do Chores Teach Children Responsibility?, Psych Central
- Benefits of Chores, The Center for Parenting Education
- Divide and Conquer Household Chores, WebMD
- The Importance of Household Chores, Jessica Lahey
- Motivating Kids to Clean Up, Focus on the Family