Chore Charts for Kids
For your reference with our current chore chart: Karis is twelve, Titus is ten, Eden is almost eight, and Helen is four years old.
It’s summer and time for our family to update our chore chart (as seen above) and move some tasks around to allow for variety and increased responsibility. I keep a simple document in Pages that I can update each year. Easier chores move down to the next child in line as the older kids become more capable. As our numbers have increased, certain jobs need to be done more frequently, so that must be considered as well (i.e. Our living room now officially needs to be vacuumed daily! Bathrooms need to be cleaned twice a week. Deep cleaning the kitchen needs to be done weekly. Dishwasher must be unloaded each morning). I take the summer time to train each child in their new assignments. This way, we are all ready to go once school starts again.
I typically assign two tasks to each child and they are required to do them before breakfast. We set a 30 minute timer for this purpose to encourage them to stay focused and get their jobs done so they can eat. Obviously, dish clean up falls outside this requirement because it can’t be done until breakfast or lunch is completed.
We talk a lot in our home about the importance that everyone is a valuable asset to our home. We work together to maintain our home, to keep it clean and tidy for cleanliness and also for hospitality. We all work together to help our home run smoothly. We want to teach our kids to work hard and to learn basic life skills in order that they might become valuable contributors to our society in the future. We are called to “work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically,” which is our family mantra and goal in training our children (Romans 12:11-12).
We teach new chores through a 3-step process. First, I demonstrate the steps for completing the chore. Second, we do the chore together. Thirdly, they complete the chore on their own, while I supervise, encourage, and give reminders as needed. Each of these steps may take more than a day, but slowly but surely, they learn and can complete it eventually on their own.
It can be helpful to post a printed copy of the steps for the job in a visible place in the room (i.e. inside the bathroom cupboard for bathroom cleaning instructions) so it is easy for them to review. I laminate this list (see below), and then they can use a dry erase marker and check off each step as they complete it. My eldest daughter was a little overwhelmed at the thought of learning how to deep clean the kitchen this year, so she worked with daddy to score each job with a difficulty rating of 1-3, based on how many minutes she thought each task would take. Then she started with the #1 tasks and worked her way up, checking them off as she went. This was a great idea for those that may be overwhelmed at learning new jobs! She told Daddy later, “Thanks for helping make hard things fun!”
Here is our list of chore responsibilities based on appropriate ages that we use in our home:
Clean up shoe shelf/entryway: Put shoes neatly on shelves, hang up loose coats, etc. Learn how to put away shoes and coats when we come home.
Wipe down chairs and coffee tables: With the use of a simple gentle cleaner and a rag, a little one can learn how to spray and wipe down chairs and low tables.
Put dirty clothes in laundry hamper.
Help set the table.
Fold towels: We start around 4 years of age to teach the kids how to fold towels, washcloths, etc., and around 5 years old, they are folding their own laundry and putting it away.
Make their bed and pick up bedroom (my 4 year old, Helen, has just started this task and I’ve been amazed once again at what a great job she can do at such a young age!)
Empty dishwasher (Tip: Store your dishes and cups down on low shelves so littles can put them away at a young age. This is also a great time to teach them how to be careful while they carry fragile items to their storage shelves.)
Make PBJ or other basic sandwiches (at four years old, my littles learn how to make their own sandwiches, which frees up mommy’s time in the kitchen)
Vacuum (Chose a lightweight vacuum, so that the kids can learn to vacuum around 5-6 years old. We start by assigning them a small room to vacuum a couple times a week.)
Fold their own laundry: Around 5 years old, we have them begin folding all their own laundry. We wash all our clothes on Mondays and fold them in the evening while we read aloud or watch an educational show.
Help put away groceries.
Learn how to make basic breakfasts: One morning a week, they get to make breakfast as one of their chores. My 7 year old is currently learning how to make pancakes and French toast.
Basic bathroom clean-up: This includes teaching them how to wipe down counter, sink and toilet. Many times we allow them to use disinfecting wipes at this age to keep it easy and simple for them.
Sweeping & moping: We have a very simple and lightweight Sh-Mop system that makes it easy for little ones to do moping.
Vacuum stairs: You can use a handheld vacuum to easily vacuum stairs at this age.
Empty trashcans and take out trash cans to corner on trash collection day.
Become a “Dinner Helper”: Each child gets a turn to be the “Dinner Helper” each evening and learn how to do basic food preparation, from chopping, to making salads, to rolling out pizza dough, etc.
Bring down and sort the laundry for washing: This includes making piles of whites, darks, colors, and starting the first load in the washer.
Full bathroom clean-up: We call this “Full bathroom” and includes wiping down counter, sink, toilet, bathroom mirror, shower/bath, and sweep and moping floors.
Clean Windows: With a simple squeegee blade and washer brush, littles can learn how to clean windows. A basic step stool is helpful for this if they are not tall enough.
Vacuum out car and wash outside of car.
Wipe down kitchen cupboards and appliances.
Start helping with breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes.
Ages 11 and up:
Learn how to clean kitchen thoroughly: My goal is to teach my kids how to thoroughly clean kitchen by age 12.
Weeding & mowing lawn (Titus started mowing the lawn at 10 years old this year! Yahoo!)
Learn how to prepare basic dinners.
Make a weekly meal completely on their own (from planning, adding ingredients to grocery list, to preparing, to cleaning up).