Done With Diligence

All About Chore Charts for Kids

Chore Chart printable

Are your mornings disorganized chaos?  Need a plan to get everybody working together and on task to make life run smoother?  You need a good chore chart system, and I can’t wait to share our system with you!

2 Magnetic Chore Chart hanging on fridge

Why Kids Need Daily Chores

There are so many reasons to give our kids chores.  Of course, doing regular chores is one of the best ways to teach essential life skills that they’ll need in the real world.  But in a Christian home, a simple chore chart is teaching our kids WAY more than worldly skills.  

Consider these 3 reasons we might give our kids regular chores:

  1. Chores teach kids to be good stewards of the gifts they have.  (“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” –James 1:17).  Any time you own stuff, there are chores associated with that blessing.  Got clothes? They’ll need to be washed.  Got food?  It’ll need to be cooked.  Got toys?  They’ll need to be put away.  Got a yard? It’ll need to be mowed. Got a car?  It’ll need maintenance.  Got a bed?  The sheets will need to be changed. The list goes on and on.  Involving your kids in taking care of these gifts is a great way to help them see the blessings that surround them. And attending to simple household tasks teaches them the value of taking care of what they’ve been given.  We want our kids to have grateful hearts and appreciate blessings from a very young age.
  2. Chores teach kids time management. (“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”- Psalm 90:12) One of the joys of childhood is hours and hours of free time to play to your heart’s content.  However, it is also important to learn how to manage your time when you need to be productive.  Chores can help accomplish this goal.  Giving your child a list of assigned chores to complete each morning before school helps him to learn to discipline himself to stay on task when needed and to work to complete tasks.  Learning the skills of time management and task completion carry over to other areas of a child’s life, including school…and that’s a very good thing!  We want our children to have good work ethic from an early age.
  3. Chores teach kids to serve others(“…In humility count others more significant than yourself.” –Philippians 2:3)  Of course, it’s much more fun to continue playing with YOUR toys or watching YOUR show on TV than it is to go do chores.  But it is so very beneficial for children to learn from an early age to put others before themselves.  By doing chores, however simple they may be, you can begin to convey the message that they are able to serve their family, and thus show love to others.  Simple tasks such as taking the family laundry hamper to the laundry room or setting the table for everyone or feeding the family pets do, indeed, serve others. On the flip side, when you are busy in the kitchen cooking dinner or paying bills, your young children begin to understand that these tasks are actually ways you are serving the family.  And everybody serving everybody is a very tangible way for us to live out the command to love our neighbors as ourselves.  To put it simply, a serving home is a loving home.  We want our children to value and contribute to a loving home.

When Do Household Chores Happen?

What Days? At our house, chores happen every single day, except Sunday.  Of course, on Sundays, teeth must still be brushed and you must get dressed and pets must be fed, but optional chores can wait.  Making your bed?  Not on Sunday!  Putting away laundry?  Not on Sunday!  After a week full of chores, our kids find the Lord’s Day a little more joyous because they can skip most of their chores!  And the best part? This break from our labor helps us to honor the 4th commandment (Honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy) in a way they REALLY, REALLY understand!

What Time? We also do our chores first thing in the morning.  No screen time, no playtime, no distractions until all chores are finished.  We’ve found this requirement really helps us stay focused and finish chores.  They day also runs more smoothly if the house is tidied up and ready for the new day first thing in the morning. Furthermore, it helps that everyone in the house is working on chores simultaneously.  No one is goofing off while the others work, so there isn’t a temptation to be resentful or lazy.  Knocking items off of your to-do lists right off the bat is perfect way to set kids up for a good day.

boy sweeping floor

How Many Chores Should You Give Your Child?

The number of chores that your child is capable of managing shouldn’t be overwhelming.  My kids can finish all of their chores in under an hour.  You can start off just giving your younger kids 3-4 chores, then add new chores when you think they are ready.  Believe it or not, when you present a new chore magnet for the chart, there is likely to be a lot of excitement!  It almost becomes a sign of growing up and being “big enough” to handle this new chore!  Older kids could start with 6-8 chores and work up from there.

What Age Should You Start Chores?

In my house, kids start helping me do a few chores when they are old enough to walk!  I’ll let them help me put dirty clothes in the hamper or bring me throw pillows for the bed.  They think it’s fun to be a helper, so I build it up!  My little kids also enjoy helping the older ones do their chores.  Rolling trashcans to the road, checking the mail…all of those tasks are really exciting when you are little! 

By the time my children turn 3, they get their very own chore chart…oh, happy day!  It really makes them feel like a big kid! 

In the beginning, I only give them tasks I know they are ready to do independently, like filling up their water bottles or getting dressed. And I don’t require perfection.  A 3-year-old’s version of a made-up bed and mine might look quite different, but what I’m hoping for at this stage is hard work with a good attitude.  The rest will come later.  Different ages require different expectations, but don’t forget to emphasize the heart behind doing your chores with joy!

Can You Change Their Chores?

Absolutely! Our chores usually change every year when school starts.  I may pass some of my oldest son’s chores down to a younger sibling, while giving him a more difficult chore that he’s now old enough to manage.  I also sometimes think of new chores that the kids are capable of helping with, so I’ll make a new magnet and add it to their charts.

Whether you choose to print my chore chart, find another chore chart out there, or make your very own…it’s a good idea to make sure your choice is flexible.  It needs to allow for easy changes as it becomes time for new age-appropriate chores to be assigned.  The perfect chore chart will have the option to add and take away extra chores daily (with no stress for a busy parent).

How Do You Keep the Child on Task?

timer sitting on coutner

We have found that some of our children really need the help of a timer to stay on task.  We will count the number of chores assigned for the day and multiply by 5 minutes.  So, if the child has 9 chores today x 5 minutes, we set the timer for 45 minutes.  The child is expected to be finished with all of his chores before the timer beeps.  If he doesn’t meet this expectation, there is a consequence of some kind.  It could be the loss of screen time or perhaps requiring him to start chores earlier the next day.  You may have to work side-by-side with the child and the timer for a few days to show him that it IS possible to stay on task and complete chores in a timely manner, but I assure you, it is worth it!

Will Any Chore Chart Work?

Yes, most any chore chart will work, but I’ve loved this magnetic chore chart design for many years!  I prefer it to other styles because of the flexibility the individual chore tiles offer and it’s visual design for young kids.  

For example, our garbage truck only comes one day per week.  So, I only put that trashcan magnet on the “TO DO” side of the chart only on garbage day. It doesn’t make sense for it be on the chart every day of the week.  

I also like the flexibility of being able to pass chores on to other siblings by simply moving the magnet to a different chart; it is not necessary to completely remake the chart.  

When I made my kids’ chore charts, I intentionally used bright colors and helpful pictures on each tile so that my non-readers be able to “read” their lists.  These visual aids really helped them be successful with chores from an early age.  It’s good for their little hearts to get some instant gratification from accomplishing one of their chores completely independently!

I’ve seen some charts that require dry-erase markers to put a check mark by completed tasks.  I’m not a fan of a dry erase chore chart because the marker may get lost or it may be tempting to draw a bit when marking off a chore. It invites a whole host of messes and distractions, and we don’t need either of those during chore time!

I’ve also seen Velcro charts, but again, I’m not a fan.  We all know that Velcro loses it stickiness over time, but magnets don’t.  My oldest son has used the same chore chart every day for almost 9 years, and it’s still going strong!  This design really does make a great chore chart for the long haul!

You’ll also find chore charts that involve a cork board and push pins.  I’ll just say that I don’t want sharp, pointy objects in our chore system for obvious reasons!

How Do You Make a Magnetic Chore Chart?

Chore Chart for Kids Printable

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Making a magnetic chore chart is very easy!  You just need:

You can also use some sort of tape or scrapbook border stickers to divide the sections. You could easily handwrite chores on pieces of paper if you didn’t want to make chore tiles on your computer.

pulling square magnet off of sheet of magnets
Adding "To Do" label to homemade chore chart
completed chore chart

Alright, Diligent Mama…let the chores begin!

Click here to go to Printables Store and grab my Chore Chart!

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