Wish your kids did more around the house? Simplify your system. These chore sticks get your kids pitching in–and make it a lot easier on you.
Does getting your kids to do chores feel like, well, a chore?
That was my problem. I was intent on having kids who understood what it took to keep a household running, were competent at everything from setting a table to scrubbing a toilet, and grew up to be adults who could keep a home reasonably clean.
But any system I tried wasn’t quite right–and felt like too much work for ME.
I tried weekly chore charts, but none of them seemed to last. I tried sticker charts and rewards for each job completed, but my kids weren’t motivated by money or stickers.
The solution couldn’t have been simpler
One day I changed my tune.
I started writing a small list of age-appropriate daily chores for each kid, based on what really needed to get done around the house that day.
I made those chores mandatory, no stickers or quarters or extra screen time involved. Chores were simply part of being a family member. (And grumbling about chores? Every complaint bought you an extra chore.)
But making lists every day was work too. So I grabbed some popsicle sticks from a drawer and wrote a different chore on each one, setting out a few each day to be done.
And a funny thing happened…
To my surprise, my boys accepted this new chore stick system just fine (and I only had to add an extra chore for grumbling once).
And all of a sudden, the house was cleaner, my boys were pitching in every day, and it didn’t feel like a chore to make it happen.
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Why the Chore Stick system works
Unlike chore charts, the chore stick system allows you to choose from a lot of different chores, depending on exactly what needs to be done that particular day. So it ends up being a lot more helpful for you.
Obviously, this system works for kids who are reading. You could adapt this idea by making laminated pictures for younger children and move to popsicle sticks as they learn to read.
How to do it:
- Write a variety of household chores on popsicle stick (catch all random, one-time chores with an “Ask Mom” or “Ask Dad”) chore stick)
- Each day, choose which (and how many) chores you’d like your child to do
- Put that day’s chore sticks a special jar or envelope labeled with the child’s name or glue a magnet on the back of each to stick on the fridge–or simply set them on the counter for your kids to see (that’s what I do)
- Establish some ground rules like “complete all chores before screens come on”
- Optional: Create a reward if you’d like, such as an allowance or special privilege when chores are done
- Have kids move their chore sticks to a drawer, or another jar or envelope when they’re done, so you can quickly see what’s completed
Chore ideas for kids
Everyone’s household chores list will be slightly different. But if you’re looking for chore ideas, I’ve got some!
Chores for grade-schoolers
- Take out the garbage or recycling
- Load or unload the dishwasher
- Take sheets off of the bed
- Wipe off counters
- Clean your room
- Put away laundry
- Help cook and bake
- Set the table
- Water houseplants or garden
- Feed pets
Chores For teenagers (& tweens)
- Mow the lawn
- Wash the car
- Weed the garden
- Cook dinner
- Clean toilets and sinks
- Do laundry
- Walk the dog
- Dust the furniture
- Wash dishes
This simple chore system is the only one you'll ever need:
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