I don’t think I’ve ever written about one of my favorite parenting hacks to date: how to make a simple chore chart. The thing I love most is that IT IS SO EASY, and seems to work wonders for my kids, even today, when they’re big. I love things that take the burden off the mom’s shoulders, and also helps kids learn some extra responsibility.

Kids want to know what is expected

You see, kids really, really want to know expectations. My wise husband explained this to me one Saturday years ago as I was dishing off jobs to our kids like they were going out of style. I gave them their lists of chores to do, and then just kept thinking of more to tag on. The powder bathroom needed to be cleaned too and I had forgotten it on the list. And oh! the fridge was pretty gross too. I remembered there were muddy footprints somehow on the back porch that needed to be washed off. Why not just get all this stuff crossed off our list while we were in “cleaning mode?”

But, as you can guess, there wasn’t a kid in the bunch who was happy about this. We had whiners and complainers galore. I was a little exasperated with their lack of enthusiasm to work together. Dave, who had overheard some of our interactions while he was doing his own jobs, explained that if his mom had kept adding on jobs as a kid he would have gone berserk. Even if it was going to be a long task list, he wanted to know what it was from the get-go. Tell him what was expected and he could see a clear goal.

Of course, he was right. We all want to know that there’s an end in sight when we’re working on a task, right?

Write down all the chores that need to be accomplished

This can turn into something bigger, like our lists for Saturday chores. We used those suckers every Saturday and it made it so simple and easy to have expectations outlined thoroughly.

But I love this simple chore list because you can just whip it up any time, anywhere. It doesn’t have to be a Saturday tradition. It could just be on a random day when you need “all hands on deck” to unpack from a trip or get ready to go to a party, or just set the table for dinner.

I just whip out a piece of paper and scribble everything down that needs to be done:

job chart with bubbles to fill in when jobs are done

And also apparently this magical chore chart can be done quite sloppily too. Ha!

Nothing at all fancy about that up there, right?

But I’m telling you, it’s magical as can be.

Put a bubble beside each

Next to the things that need to be done, I slap a little bubble to be colored in when tasks are complete. Everyone has a chance to write their initials in the bubbles of the tasks they would like (or are willing) to do.

Some chores, like “clean out rooms” or “unpack” can be divided evenly for everyone to do their own little “piece of the pie.”

When they are done and the bubbles are colored in, voila! The chores are done seamlessly without whining and complaining. Ok, at least most of the time!

Here’s another example for Sunday dinner:

dinner job chart

It makes it so easy (and dare I say fun?) to divide and conquer, and work together.

Apparently no one was too excited to “rub mom’s back”…that was a joke btw.

There you go, a little parenting hack for how to make a simple chore chart that makes your work as a parent so much easier.

Getting your family onboard with family chores is sometimes tricky business. Here are some other posts to get your mind going:

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for these ideas, always looking for more help in the chore department. I love that it is so simple and your husband had a good point with needing an end in sight. I love any tips to help family life run smoother and to have the family on the same page. Thanks again!

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