How To Use A Chore Chart And Why They Help

Chore chart? Are you wondering what the heck that is?

In my mission to try to raise financial literacy, we need to talk about how we teach our children about money. But let’s imagine something first...

Imagine your daughter calls you, some 20 years from now. Two minutes into the phone call you understand that she is broke again. She couldn’t make the payment on her credit card this month and the debt is starting to pile high now.

You know she needs help to pay rent this month, but she’s too proud to ask you. You tried to raise her to be smart about money and teach her everything you know.

We try our very hardest to teach our children the important lessons in life and money is one of the big ones, right?

Are you using a chore chart for your family yet? We've discussed if we should use a chore chart or allowance in our family and decided on the chore chart. This post includes a free printable if you want some inspiration.


The educational system in most parts of the world only brushes the subject of personal finances. Most our lessons seem to come from statements like Money doesn’t grow on trees and other clichés. And that doesn’t help us understand money.

Those kinds of statements only lead to limiting beliefs about money. Limiting beliefs our children might carry with them all their lives.

It’s our responsibility as parents to raise children that understand the value of money and how they make the most of the money they have. There are several ways to do this.

Some families give their children an allowance to have some money of their own. It’s then the child’s responsibility to care for that money so that it lasts until the next allowance.

Another way to help raise financial literate kids can be with a chore chart. It’s the tool of choice for our family, which is why I’m biased to write about it.

What Is a Chore Chart?

A chore chart can be a simple note with a task. But, it can also be a something more advanced like a checklist to track weekly or monthly activity.

The basic idea of the chart is to keep track of tasks in a household and also to show their completion somehow. When used with children the chores are in some cases linked to some form of reward. The accomplished chores can help the parents decide what allowance the child gets.

Why Use a Chore Chart?

We all want our children to help out around the house, right?

How do we motivate them to do that? There are about six hundred things that compete with their attention. All which are more interesting than chores.

First, we need to make it clear to them what we expect them to do.

This is where the chore chart comes into play. Here we list available tasks, or chores, that we want to be done and to encourage our kids to do the things, we use rewards.

Now, this takes us to the sensitive topic of paying your children for chores around the house.

Some people argue that since the children are part of the family, they should help without getting paid.

I tend to agree with this statement.

Allowance or pay-per-task?

We’ve discussed this back and forth in our family and it took us a long time to decide on how to treat our daughter’s “allowance” when she’s old enough to get one.

What we’ve decided on is a form of monthly payment that we base on a value, let’s say $10 per week for instance.

As in a regular job for us adults, the payment comes with certain responsibilities. The child needs to do them on a regular basis - like cleaning the room and doing dishes.

On top of the regular chores, we are going to use something we call a good-behavior-fund. It's a list of bonus chores that our daughter can choose to do.

Chores done from the bonus list grants a higher weekly reward. Think of it as a Christmas bonus that can occur every week, if we translate it to grown-up terms.

If it’s a positive trend that all, or most, of the extra chores, gets done it can lead to an increased weekly payment. Permanently.

Contrary, if the regular tasks are not taken care of as they should, the weekly payment might be up for review.

This might result in a deduction that week. Or a permanently lower weekly payment if it’s been a trend to slack with the “duties”.

Our intention and our hope are that this will help our daughter understand the benefit of helping.

It will also show that if you do more than what's expected of you, it can lead to rewards.

The choice of a monetary reward (or penalty) is to prepare her for the similar system she will encounter with salary.

How to Use a Chore Chart?

As I said earlier, a chart can look very different. To have something to refer to, you can look at the chore charts I’ve created here.

In this example, you can see how there are two different kinds of charts.

One chart for the regular weekly chores and one for the bonus chores.

The regular chores chart looks the same every week, but the extra chores one is empty. This is because the extra chores might not be the same from week to week and you make them as you go.

Chore chart example for your kids. Have you thought about using a chore chart instead of allowance?

The Weekly Chore Chart

Let's look at the weekly chart. Here you enter the things you expect, one per line.

To make it as clear as possible, circle or color the days you want the kid to do something. This makes it clear with things that only happen once or twice per week. Like vacuuming their room, or watering plants.

If it gets done, check it off in the box you circled.

I decided to add a space to add the week number at the top too. You might want to keep track of things that get done.

If that's not interesting to you then you could write "Weekly" or in that space and copy the filled out chart 52 times.

The Bonus Chore Chart

The bonus chart is a bit different. You need to do these weekly.

At the top of the chart, write what area of the house the task is about, for instance, Bathroom.

If the plan is to get the bathroom cleaned you have to explain step by step how to do this.

The next box could be Dust cabinets. The next step could be Clean mirrors, next Scrub the bathtub, and last Vacuum the floor.

This makes it clear what you expect the child to do in order for the entire task to be complete.

It’s also easier to get to work if you know exactly what to do.

A few of these extra chore cards per week could be reasonable that your child can handle. You know the child’s situation best though and will have to put the bar at what you think would be doable.

This makes it clear what you expect the child to do in order for the entire task to be complete.

It’s also easier to get to work if you know exactly what to do.

A few of these extra chore cards per week could be reasonable that your child can handle. You know the child’s situation best though and will have to put the bar at what you think would be doable.

Do you think the chore charts that I've made could help your family? I offer them as a free download. You only need to enter your email adress in the box below.

Thank you for your interest!

Chore Chart to Encourage, Not To Overwhelm

Remember that the idea of all this is to encourage action and not create overwhelm.

If you expect too much from your child, they might think that they disappoint you if they don’t handle every task. This can lead to negative feelings for them. And you don't want that.

Make the reward for each task attractive, but not amazing. Unless it’s an exceptional task they handle.

Keep in mind that there are studies done that show that unpredictable rewards encourage and keep behavior going.

This means that it could be good to not reward every time, or give differently sized rewards. Be creative and see what motivates your kids and make sure they have fun along the way.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt if you think this is fun too.

What chores then?

Of course, the chores you can expect your children to do depends a lot on how old they are.

For children who are 2-3 years old, they probably don’t read yet so you have to explain what you want them to do. Or, use images.

The chores for so young children should not be too difficult and could relate to tidying up the playroom.

So chores like Pick up your toys, Put the books in the bookshelf, Hang your clothes, and so on could be more than enough. It might help to motivate with making it into fun and games.

Older children, aged 4-6 are likely more used to being told what to do in places like preschool and kindergarten.

They can handle a bit more complex tasks like Make the bed, Put dirty clothes in the laundry, Dust the furniture in your room, Help an adult empty the dishwasher, Set the table for dinner, Clear the table after a meal, Water the plants.

As they get older, add more complex tasks that also require them to focus a bit more. What you can expect depends on how your child develops and what they enjoy doing.

Don’t give them things that are too hard to handle, or dangerous for their age. For instance, trying to get a 7-year old to mow the lawn might not be a good idea. That can end badly in so many ways.

Always remember that you are doing this for the child’s sake.

It's not to get out of doing stuff yourself - they are still kids and should be allowed to be kids. 

What Do You Think?

Are you using a chore chart or allowance in your family? What do you think of the chore charts and the system I'm writing about here?

A chore chart for your kids can be a great tool to teach them financial literacy. In this article you can read about the benefits of a chore chart and download a free chore chart printable for your own kids.
Do you use a chore chart for your kids? This article is about what benefits there are to using a chore chart. Read it now or Pin it for later.

About the Author

I've always had an interest in personal finances and money. Since money is so closely connected to our happiness I want to share what I've learned during the years. My mission is to make things a bit better in the financial area for people who read my post.

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