Photo by Evelyn Giggles
No matter which method you choose of having kids do chores, the most important ingredient is the same: consistency. If you assign chores, but then don’t follow up to make sure they’re done, kids won’t do them. If you tie chores to an allowance, but then forget to give the allowance, kids won’t do them. If you teach a child how to clean a toilet, but then never look to see if they did it properly, kids won’t do it right. They decide whether or not this stuff is important based on whether you act like it is important. So if you want your children to do chores, make it a priority!
And to make it a priority, you have to make it into a routine. Decide when they’re going to do chores, when they’re going to receive an allowance (or the payment for chores), and when you’re going to verify that the chores are done. It might be everyday at a certain time; it may be every weekend; it may be every month. There is no right way. You just simply have to pick one and stick to it, or your children will not know what to expect.
Photo by Peachy Weasel
We tied chores with allowance from a young age. At age 3 we started assigning chores (like folding face cloths and using a wet cloth to wipe down the bottom cupboards in the kitchen), and then every year we’d add a few more things. The chores were written on the fridge, on a chart, and we’d tick things off every week.
They had certain “responsibilities” they had to do no matter what, like make their bed and put their laundry in the hamper and tidy their toys. The chores that they were paid for were more things that helped the family as a whole, and didn’t relate to looking after themselves alone.
By the time my girls are 18 I want them to completely know how to manage a house: how to do laundry, how to grocery shop, how to organize a kitchen, make meals (including a Thanksgiving dinner!), clean furniture, and scrub floors. Every year we introduce more things to them, and they’re getting more and more competent at these things.
Do you want to download some chore charts you can use with your kids? I have free ones right here (along with charts you can use to organize your own chores and schedules!)
And, if you want to read some more, here are a few other posts I’ve written about chores:
How to get toddlers started on chores.
Deciding What is “Clean Enough”. An overview of chores from an adult point of view.
Why I sometimes think I have Chore Distraction Disorder.
Now, how do you organize your children’s chores? Do you put all chores in a jar and have the kids choose them? Do you assign them at the beginning of the week on a rotating basis? Do they always do the same ones? Do you use charts or do you use cards? Let me know in the comments! Remember: what system you use is not nearly as important as the fact that you use a system consistently!