Listen, I’m not going to lie to you. Getting your kids to do chores is about as fun as potty training or taking away the pacifier. It’s not fun. (Keep scrolling to find the FREE kids chore chart!)
It takes more work for you to get them to do the chores than it would for you to just do the chores yourself! At least, in the beginning. That is the honest truth.
It’s not enjoyable, but it’s one of the parenting milestones that you eventually have to get to. And don’t skip this one, mamas. You are responsible for teaching your children work and responsibility. No one else is going to teach them.
Children need responsibilities around the house to learn work ethic, caring for their belongings, organization, money management, and gratitude. Kids that don’t work and don’t have any responsibilities in the home are at risk for ending up lazy, or worse, lazy and entitled. Don’t let that be your kiddos. We want to raise strong, smart, hard-working, humble, grateful children!
That being said, I know it’s tricky, but let’s delve into a few ways we can motivate and encourage them to get some work done in the home.
It’s not complicated! Here’s where you can start.
- Give your kids some responsibility around the house
- Give them opportunities to earn money for their work
Two Schools of Thought on Paying Children for Chores
There are two main schools of thought about paying kids to do chores. I have talked to dozens and dozens of mamas to get the low down! There are variations and nuances to these, but these are the two main ways most people tend to do it:
1. Pay Children for Chores
Either give them chores to do and pay them at the end of the week (like an allowance) if the chores have been done, OR pay them per chore (like a commission). Either way, kids are getting paid for regular chores.
2. Don’t Pay Children for Regular Chores, but Give Them Other Opportunities to Earn
Some parents feel that they shouldn’t pay their kids to do regular chores because it’s just an expected part of being a member of the household. They may give their kids opportunities to earn money for extra chores, big projects, etc.
I’ve heard really good arguments for both ways. Neither way is right or wrong.
The important thing is to make sure that they are working and they have some kind of opportunity to earn money of their own.
How to Keep Organized
With either method, I highly recommend a chore chart!
Chore charts are simple, structured, fun for kids, and easy for parents to keep track of.
I have an adorable and FREE kids chore chart you can download now!
Before I designed this chart I took a poll from my readers asking you which chores you had your kids doing! There were 31 top answers and I made sure my chart has an adorable icon for all the most common chores for little ones! You’ll love it!
The icons are perfect for kids who can’t read yet, but the chart works for readers too, as you have the option to write in the chores if you want.
When Should Kids Start Doing Chores?
Most kids are ready to take on a few small chores around 3 years old.
My almost 4-year-old really drags her feet, but my 5-year-old can read and complete his whole chart on his own (not that he does every time, but he is capable).
If your child has different abilities, adjust as needed. Some may be ready earlier and some may need a little longer.
How Much Should I Pay Them?
You decide, of course! This is very personal, so use your judgment.
My kids, 5 and 4, do their chores every day and then I give them $2 at the end of the week. They can always earn more money by doing extra projects for me, but they aren’t really old enough yet to be motivated for that.
I decided on $2 per week because it’s enough for them to buy themselves something small each week like a candy or ice cream, or if they save it up for a month, it’s enough to buy a small toy. That was my logic! If they don’t do their chores all week (like maybe they did half of them), I only give them $1.
The Key to Implementing Chores Successfully: YOU
Stay Strong, Stand Your Ground
Getting my kids to do chores has not been easy. My kids still avoid their chores at all costs hoping I’ll be too tired to enforce them (and they are smart, because sometimes I am). But I know I need to keep at it and do my best to help my kids grow into responsible adults.
Here Are a Few Things to Remember:
- Consistency is good for kids and they will notice if you are enforcing the chore gig.
- Having a set time each day to do chores, a routine, will help. For little ones, at the beginning of the day before any TV comes on is a good idea. For older kids, right before or after school. Something along those lines!
- Don’t be too hard on yourself if you struggle at first. I’m usually pretty happy if my kids have finished and marked their chores off 5/7 days of the week.
- Done is better than perfect. Stick with it, and it will get better! We are all human. Don’t give up if you aren’t perfect!
- The methods are very simple and don’t really matter that much, the magic is in enforcing it, sticking with it, and consistency. You can do it!
Here’s What We Do
Once per day I tell my kids it’s time to do chores. Sometimes they aren’t allowed to watch TV until the chores are done. We are working on a routine of doing them right after school gets out! My kids start their chores and mark them off on their chore chart as they finish (I have to help my 4-year-old). Once they say they are done, I check each one and “check them off” confirming they are done for the day. At the end of the week, if they’ve done 5-6 days of chores, I give them $2 which they save in an envelope I keep on the fridge.
We use a kids chore chart that is laminated so they can use dry erase markers on it, and at the end of the week, we just erase it with a magic eraser and start over. It’s really easy! We’ve been using this method for 2 years, and I recently designed my own chore chart that you can download for free now!
Want a Free Kids Chore Chart with 31 Adorable Chore Icons so you can Totally Customize it?
This kids chore chart is perfect for those who can’t read yet or prefer visuals. I designed this with you in mind, after crowd sourcing the most common chores you have your kids doing! Get it for FREE here!
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I have 3 sons-2, 3 and 4 years old. Since the 1 year old I teach children to help around the house and self-care. The eldest child I raised with printable charts. But you need a lot of them. I use the Manini app for three children. It’s like printed chores cards, but in a phone. I like it so much that they get carried away and resort to asking for more tasks.