Looking for a simple family chore chart and management system to implement in your home? This one has been a winner for our family!
Growing up, my mom rarely made me responsible for any household chores because she wanted to free up time for me to study and get into college. Maybe you’ve considered doing the same. Kids have busy lives with way more demands on them than they should have.
The trouble came when I moved out and got married. I didn’t have a clue how to clean anything. I had never done a load of laundry. And the stove? Well, I could make Rice Krispies treats and frozen waffles.
When I became a mom, I wanted to find a way to both teach my kids the basics they would need to take care of their home and give them time to study and learn amazing things.
I tried a lot of chore charts. I’d cut out the pieces, get all excited, bribe my kids for a while, and then give up hope. I just couldn’t get the typical chore chart to work for my family. Probably because I didn’t have time as a single mom to monitor their every move.
So I switched to a team effort. I created a family chore chart system adapted from something a friend was doing and I LOVED it! It works because it gives families a flexible lifestyle while also making sure things get taken care of.
Why Should I Have a Family Chore Chart?
Chores are a valuable part of family life. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids to miss this opportunity! I have my children do chores because it:
- teaches excellent work ethics
- helps them learn to work for someone else
- builds a sense of loyalty toward the family
- prepares them for life
- enables mom (especially this single mom) to actually manage the whole house
Again, you don’t want to end up with a 20-something who can only cook waffles and Rice Krispies treats. Ha! It’s our job as parents to equip our kids for all of life, not just get them into college.
A simple family chore chart will help you prepare your kids for whatever God calls them to do, whether it’s a mom of ten, widowed dad, or even single man.
Family Chore Chart
I’ve played around with a lot of systems over the years. The family chore chart I have found that works the best is really very simple. Our chores are divided into zones. Zones 1-3 are done daily. For a long time, I had a recycled piece of cardboard and clothes pins that I rotated through each zone.
I tweaked and edited the zones until they contained an equitable amount of chores. Eventually, we settled on a piece of cardstock that I printed and put up on the fridge. I used clear glass beads and printed the first letter of each child’s name, then glued them on with mod podge. I glued a magnet to the back and the project was done. Super simple.
These are the zones —>
Zone 1: Dishes and Counters
The person in charge of this zone loads and unloads the dishwasher, makes sure all food is put away, and wipes the counters.
Zone 2: Living Room/Laundry
The person in charge of this zone makes sure everything in the living room is picked up and straightened. This includes the foyer and the hallway to the kids’ rooms. Once a week, this area must be vacuumed. This person is also in charge of starting a load of laundry and then making sure it gets in the dryer. Once it is done, he/she brings it out and sorts it into piles. Every child in the family then comes and folds his/her own laundry and puts it away.
Zone 3: Kitchen Table/Floor/Bathroom
This person is in charge of clearing anything left on the kitchen table (including school supplies) and wiping the table off after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They will sweep the floor after dinner and tidy the bathroom. Once a week the entire bathroom is cleaned (toilet, tub, counters, etc.).
At this time, all of the other zones are a group effort, such as the backyard and the car. As I mentioned, each person is responsible for his/her room and folding his/her own laundry. And that’s it. Simple huh? I wish I had figured out the zone thing years ago. It has been such a help to me.
Each day, our chores in our family chore chart are a part of our daily checklist for homeschool. Once completed, the kids check them off and turn in their notebooks. I “grade” their work for the day, along with their chore. They do get paid based on this checklist, but not for just doing the work. I only pay them for doing an excellent job.
Of course, if you adapted this idea in your home, your zones might look different. Your high traffic areas might not even be included in my list. I would suggest that you begin writing it down and, little-by-little, just tweak it until the zones seem to work for your family.
Chore Challenge Game
Sometimes I do a “chore challenge” with the kids. Once they have their zone finished for the day, the challenge begins. We can play one of two ways: Mom’s pick or peer judge. Both are pretty effective.
In Mom’s pick, I use the score cards to pick the zone that has been done the best that day. In my house, that person gets a bonus $.25 in their allowance for the week, but you could keep score for a period of time and reward with other things.
I really like this idea because it teaches my kids to be able to handle rejection, with a good attitude, when someone else getting picked. It also teaches them that excellence is the standard I desire the most. A “good” job is a good thing, but I want them to understand the difference. I’ve found that children really need us to help them grasp this.
In peer judge, they each trade zones and check off the score card for their sibling’s zone. I find that this one can be brutal. They are way harder on each other than I am! Just like in Mom’s pick, there is a winner chosen from the highest score and the 25-cent bonus is awarded.
The surprising result of this way was that my kids began to work together more to help their siblings attain the goal of a perfect zone.
Get Your Free Printables
I have made a fully editable version of the family chore chart. I pray that these free printables bless your family and help you bless others this year.
When Should I Start a Family Chore Chart?
Simple chores can be done as early as age 3! That probably seems crazy, but at that age, kids are eager to help. Jump on the opportunity! If you allow them to learn while they are interested, it will be second nature when they are older.
That said, the family chore chart below has a few prerequisites. You should have at least two kids and they should be school-aged or close. If it’s too early for you, check out our chore chart ideas post for a better fit.
I am so thankful that I started chores with my kids when they were very young. If I had it to do over again, one thing I would have taught my kids was to play with one thing and put it away. As a small child, this can be taught. I just didn’t do that. Nonetheless, I did teach them a lot about chores and how to help around the house.
It is indeed more difficult to do my own chores when I am teaching a young child. I can easily see why many parents abandon the idea. Many times it just seems easier to do it ourselves, but we have to think long term here. Our goal is to teach them, not to make our own lives easier. (But eventually, you will get that too!)
I begin holding my children accountable for chores around age 3. This is about the time when they are constantly asking to help and think it is really exciting to have the opportunity. Capitalize on that and find fun ways for your child to be involved.
In the early years, our schedule looked a little like this:
- Nathan (age 4) was responsible for putting away the silverware, clearing plates from the dinner table, dumping the bathroom trash, and putting away his folded laundry.
- Rachel (age 7) was responsible for wiping the dinner table and counters, sweeping/mopping the kitchen floor, scrubbing toilets, folding ALL the laundry and putting away her own.
- Leah (age 8) was responsible for unloading and loading the dishwasher, scrubbing bathroom sinks, vacuuming the carpet, sorting and loading laundry to be washed, and putting away her own.
Today, years later, all four of them contribute to the family through chores. The older three rotate through a zone schedule in the family chore chart. Using the chart, they are responsible for the entire house between the three of them. They do bathrooms, sweep floors, do all the dishes, wash and fold all the laundry, and keep their rooms clean.
My youngest child, Luke, also has responsibilities, he’s just not ready for the family chore chart yet. He helps me with tasks as much as possible. He also unloads the silverware and dumps the bathroom trash. All the children rotate with helping me prepare the dinner meal each day.
As a single mom, this is a big relief. We are home most of the time and our house easily gets wrecked. Having the children responsible for almost all the chores really lightens my load so that I can tend to other tasks and it teaches them strategies they will use for years to come. Their contribution to the family takes only about 30 minutes of their day, but it saves me hours.
Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.