Kids and chores. When is the best time to start?

I say now.

With more of us at home than ever, this is a great time to begin daily chores in my house. After a quick Google search, I came across a lot of different routes to implement this culture change in my home. If you’re considering adding chores to your kids’ daily routine or maybe need to switch up your tactic, here are some helpful tips to get you on your way.  

First, consider the age of your child.

folding clothes
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

This will help you determine what kind of chores are appropriate for them to do independently or with a little assistance from you. My goal was for my children to begin by helping me. As they gained confidence and I trusted that they had mastered the task, then hopefully they could do it without me.

My kids are early elementary age, so I have modeled the chore for them and done it with them for the first few weeks. My kindergartener’s favorite is folding towels, and that is definitely something he can do on his own. Here is a list of chores to get you started.

Second, come up with a system.

Many printable chore charts are available online for free or for purchase. Just like the type of chore, the format you choose to assign the chore will depend on your child’s age. You can use this one from Melissa and Doug that would be great for pre-readers. Or this one with stickers that allow children to see their accomplishments over the course of the week. For a splurge, you can even get this cute one from Pottery Barn Kids that can be personalized.

I ended up choosing this chore stick method and was able to get my craft sticks and pens for pretty cheap. These chore sticks work for us because they can be changed daily and adapted over time as my kids are able to do more to help around the house.

Finally, pick an incentive or (choose not to have one at all).

I think you need to consider your overall goal of implementing chores.

  • Is it to teach responsibility?
  • Make them accountable for their part in maintaining the home?
  • Help them understand how to earn money?

Whatever your purpose, set it and then determine what their incentive will be to do the chores. I did not want to monetize the chores, so I chose to give them some extra screen time at the end of the week if they completed their daily chores and did not complain about doing them. 

spray cleaner with glove
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Although we’re only a few weeks into our new system, I have to say that it’s going pretty well.

My older son has given me a little pushback, but he generally finishes his chores by dinnertime. My younger son is all about it, though. He looks forward to opening his chore envelope each morning and finding out what his jobs are for the day. 

But the best part is that my kids have gained a few new skills and some confidence. I have also taken a few things off my plate and shared them with those who actually make the messes. 

Do you require chores in your home? What method do you use?