Creating and Using Family Chore Charts

Father and son work on chores

Family chore charts are great teaching tools to help your kids learn responsibility. Even children as young as preschoolers can benefit from a chore chart. Charts are very easy to personalize and incorporate into fun activities that accomplish useful tasks.

What Kids Can Learn from Charts

Charts are useful teaching tools because a kid enjoys seeing a visual representation of her responsibility and praise for an accomplished task. Other educational benefits provided by a chart include:

  • Routine--A chart can help a child establish a daily routine.
  • Spelling and Reading skills--A chart encourages an early reader to read chart messages and add her own notes.
  • Social skills--A kid learns valuable team work skills when she completes chores with her family.

Many parents like chore charts because they are easy to use and cost effective. Formats can be changed to accommodate preschoolers who cannot read yet. Affordable premade charts in durable materials such as a heavy cardstock are available at many stores. Free printable charts can be downloaded online. Parents can also create their own charts.

Make Your Own Chore Chart

Making your own chore chart is the best way ensure that a chart suits your family's needs. Follow these simple instructions to create a chore chart:

  • Goals--Figure out the types of chores you hope to accomplish.
  • Chore Assignments--Determine chore assignments. Make sure that chore assignments are age-appropriate.
  • Chart Format--Choose a chart format. Formats include grids, free-form or pictures.
    • Grids work well if you want a simple list of names using check marks or stars to indicate a completed task.
    • Free-form charts give you more creative freedom to create a chart that is visually appealing to your kids. For example, you can create a chore chart resembling the Candy Land board game.
    • A picture chart works especially well for preschoolers who cannot read yet. You can include picture symbols for chores. For example, use a toy box symbol for putting toys away after play time.
  • Materials--Select the chart materials such as paper or cardboard. Decide if you will print out the chart on a computer or write it out by hand with markers.
  • Decorate--Decorate the chart to make it appealing to your kids. Use colorful markers to write the chart information. Stickers, cut-outs of favorite cartoon characters or personalized drawings can make the chart fun.

You can also use a chalk board to create a simple chore chart. Use different color chalk for the chore information and decorations to make the chart visually appealing.

Examples of family chore assignments include:

  • Wash dishes
  • Dry and put away dishes
  • Set the table
  • Feed the pets
  • Wash laundry
  • Fold and put away clean laundry
  • Put the toys into the toy box
  • Empty the cat's litter box
  • Water plants

How to Use a Family Chore Chart

Once you have a chore chart, you need to learn to use it effectively. A chore chart is only effective when family members want to participate. Here are some ideas on how to use a chore chart for maximum participation:

  • Fun activities--Provide incentives for completing chores. Examples of incentives include making the chores into games or using the chores as a way to earn some privilege. Preschoolers may enjoy playing a game of duck, duck chore. The person who is it must complete a simple chore like water the plants.
  • Family input--Ask family members what chores they prefer. One of your kids may like doing dishes while the other kid may prefer to vacuum the living room. It is easier to get a kid to perform a task he chose versus an assigned task he hates.
  • Rewards--Celebrate completed tasks with verbal praise and some type of visual reward. Rewards can simply be a star next to a completed task on the chart or a candy prize.
  • Age appropriate--All chores should be age appropriate so that kids are not frustrated by an impossible task. Kids enjoy completing a task successfully because it makes them feel responsible and grown-up.
  • Proper Placement--Place the chart in a place where all family members will see it on a daily basis. Good places include a refrigerator door, a family room or by the back door.

Use the chart as a part of family quality time. If every family member spends 15 minutes completing a chore before a fun family outing, kids will complete the tasks with more enthusiasm.

Printable Chore Charts from LTK

LoveToKnow offers several printable chore charts for your use. These are in PDF format, so you'll need Adobe reader to view them:

Other Free Printable Chore Charts

A number of free printable chore charts are available online. These premade charts are a quick solution for a busy parent who does not have time to create a chart. The following websites offer free printable charts:

Conclusion

Parents of children of all ages will find charts useful to encourage family chore participation. Charts are a versatile tool that can be incorporated in family activities or educational lessons. It's not just the kids who can have fun with a chart. When you incorporate a chart into an enjoyable family activity, even the adult family members will want to get the chore completed so they can move onto the fun activity. If your family needs a little encouragement to help out around the house, a family chore chart may be the answer.

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