how to get your kids to do chores

Last week, I talked about how my kids clean up their own toys. That is not the full extent of their responsibilities around the house. That's only the beginning. Cleaning up their own messes is a vital lesson for them to learn, but also they need to practice helping the family.

A quick Google search turns up tons of age-appropriate chores for kids from 2 to teens. But how do you go about implementing these? Where do you start? Kids are bound to resist when you tell them to stop playing and help out the family by doing a chore, especially if you suddenly give them all the responsibilities listed for their age.

1. Find a starting point.

The natural starting point for our family is supper time. Supper is something that we all take part in, something that benefits us all. It's a mess that we all make together, and we all clean up together. A different starting point may make sense for you, especially if you don't always eat supper together as a family.

2. Determine what chores your kids are capable of doing.

Find age appropriate chores that work for your kids. For small children, choose up to 5 simple chores. Older children, I would go with fewer, but more complicated chores (such as loading the dishwasher independently).

I kept my kids' supper-time chores simple. They each have 2 chores before supper and 2 chores after supper, according to their age and ability (and enjoyment because they both love spraying the table and wiping it clean). Ben (age 3) needs some supervision, but Nate (age 5) is able to do his own chores without help.

3. Make a chart.

I made this chart for my boys, in Word with basic clip art. They can both read their own names, and I explained what the pictures mean. I emphasize that we're working together as a team.

At this age, they like the responsibility of looking at the chart for themselves to see what they are supposed to do. I think it makes them feel less like I'm telling them what to do, which is important for both an exceptionally strong willed 5-year old and a threenager.

I may introduce a rotating chore chart in the future. For now, they love "owning" their jobs, and fights will break out if one of them accidentally-on-purpose does the wrong job.

4. Increase responsibilities over time.

As their ability increases, so should their responsibility.

5. Increase responsibility when school is out.

I do the laundry and clean house during the day, so Nate and Ben don't help with that yet. Even if I saved jobs for after school, they wouldn't have time to do them between homework, supper, baths, bedtime stories, and play time. When school is out, they will help with cleaning and laundry.

Linking up with Tuesday Talk.


  1. What a neat idea. We just recently came up with a chart with rules for our kids (5 year old, and 3 toddlers), once these are mastered somewhat then we will proceed with chores, or rules on areas to work on. Cute blog, visiting from Tuesday Talk.
    Rachel xo
    Garay Treasures

    1. We're working on a rules chart, too! I'm having trouble coming up with clip art illustrations for our rules, though.

  2. I love the cute Clip Art for the chart - great way to keep it organized and easy for kids to read. My oldest is almost 3, so we've been working on basic chores for her to do. I'll have to make a picture chart for her :)
    Thanks for linking up on Tuesday Talk!

  3. These are great ideas! I should really make a chart for my little ones. I'm pinning this to the Tuesday Talk Features board! Thanks for linking up! -Jess


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