I’ve never met a family who doesn’t want their children to contribute to household chores but I have met many who have given up because it feels like too much hard work!
One of the reasons that families struggle with getting their children to help out around the house is that the system that they have tried may not have been a good match for their child/ren. What will motivate and inspire one child will be very different to what motivates and inspires another and because of this, it is worthwhile trying a few different options until you find a system that works for your family.
Here are 5 different types of chore charts that accommodate different personalities and developmental needs
Traditional chore chart - With blank spaces for chores to be filled in, and a checkbox for each day of the week this is a popular way for chores to be listed and marked off when complete. Some chore charts in this format have enough space for more than one child to be included.
Best for - Children of reading age
Not recommended for - Children who need pictures as visual cues.
Example: My responsibilities chart
Rotating chore chart - This chart is similar to a traditional chore chart except it includes a column that specifies who is responsible for a particular chore on a certain day or week. This is a fantastic option for families with more than one child as the chores can be rotated between the children within a certain time period which, speaking from experience, can go a long way toward avoiding swabbles over fairness.
Best for -Kids who are obsessed with fairness and who are a similar developmental age.
Not recommended for - Younger children
Example: Champion chore chart
Single chore system - Some children get overwhelmed by seeing too many things at once and need to have instructions given one at a time, before moving on to the next task. This is particularly true of ADHD children who can be easily distracted. With this system, each chore is presented on a card, a piece of paper, or even a popsicle stick, and children are either given, or select themselves 1 or more chores depending on their developmental age. This is a really flexible system that can be adapted to suit the needs of each family. Ideas include
- Moving chores from a to-do jar to a done jar
- Randomly selecting chores from a hat
- Allocating the number of chores per day or week relative to your child's age
- Linking chores to an incentive system by rewarding points for each chore (e.g. 10 points might equal 10 minutes of screen time).
Best for -Children who need to process one instruction before moving on to another, as well as children like variation and the autonomy of choosing their own chores. When the chores are shown as pictures, these can be a fantastic tool for children who are visual thinkers (often the case with children who are ADHD, ASD, Dyslexic) and for those children who are not yet able to read.
Not recommended for - Children who like predictability and consistency
Example: Task tiles
Customizable chore charts - Online editing programs allow for parents to customize a chore chart for their chart, within a traditional design template. This can be a great option for families where the chores are consistent from week to week, because you fill in the chore and child details once, ready for your child to mark off as they go. It’s also a great option for parents who like a tidy option because the details are typed, not handwritten. The templates are typically designed to be fun and engaging for young children.
Best for - Young children who like to choose a fun design, and whose parents like things to be tidy and consistent.
Not recommended for Families whose chores change regularly
Example Customizable chore chart
Blank chart template - Another version of the customizable chore chart, blank templates are the most simple yet flexible design. Instead of fitting within a traditional chore chart style, icons can be dragged and dropped to anywhere on a page which allows for as many or as few chores to be included. The result can be a clean, clear, visual summary of chores which can be really useful for children who are visual thinkers and who respond to images more easily than words. Some templates have the option to upload your own photographs or images, which can be particularly beneficial for children who are autistic.
Best for -Children who respond well to clean, simple designs and visual cues, and children who respond well to photographs rather than images.
Not recommended for - Children who prefer to tick off chores as they go.
Example: Blank canvas template
So you’ll see that not all chore charts are created equal! If you have struggled with getting your child to help out with chores in the past then hopefully this post will have given you some ideas about some alternative systems to try because it really is worth the effort! Contributing to family tasks does not only take the load of the parents but it also gives our children a sense of responsibility and autonomy, while equipping them with skills for the big wide world.