Chores for Kids

Chores & the Consequences for Kids

Assigning Chores

Assign daily and weekly chores based on the child's age and abilities. According to WebMD, a 4- to 5-year-old can handle making their bed, pulling weeds, clearing the dinner table and watering flowers. Your 6- to 7-year-old is capable of prepping and packing their own school lunch, keeping their bedroom neat and sweeping floors. Whatever is chosen, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents create a chore list to keep the child on track. If the chores become too overwhelming for the child, consider lessening them or choosing less ambitious responsibilities.

Extra Responsibilities

Add additional chores to your child's list as a punishment for unwanted behavior for or not meeting his original obligations. For instance, if your child misbehaves at the dinner table, consider adding clearing the dishes to his regular list of chores. Assigning the child additional chores during a grounding is another option. If the child performs the additional chores on top of his normal responsibilities, consider rewarding him by lifting the grounding or providing access to the family TV or video game system.

Positive Consequences

Encourage good behavior in your child by creating positive consequences for completing his assigned chores. Create a chore list that includes the specific rewards available for completing a certain task. For instance, if your child completes all of his chores for a week, he's rewarded with a trip to the park or allowed to have a sleepover. Be clear to your child that he's being granted this additional privilege because he kept up on his chores. According to pediatrician William Sears at, setting goals for your child ultimately teaches self-discipline. The child will use the positive consequence of the reward as a motivation to consistently complete his chores.

Negative Consequences

Failure to complete a chore list provides parents with an opportunity to teach the concept of negative consequences. Instead of simply punishing your child for not completing his daily or weekly chores, sit down with him and explain why he's losing a privilege or being assigned additional chores for not meeting his obligation. Maier urges parents to remain consistent. Because children have short attention spans, take away a privilege or punish the child for the unwanted behavior immediately after it occurs.

How to Motivate Teenagers to Do Chores

Hold a family meeting to discuss the chores that need to be completed. Give your teenager a chance to be heard. Try to implement some of her ideas, such as taking turns with the dishes or only having to straighten up her room once or twice per week instead of daily. This gives your teenager a sense of control, which can motivate her to complete the tasks that were agreed upon. She'll also realize that everyone else in the family is responsible for some of the chores, not just her.

Place a list of the chores and who is responsible for each chore somewhere the entire family can see it. The refrigerator is a good place. This will serve as a reminder for your teenager every time he walks by it, reducing the chance that he will forget to complete his chores.

Work alongside your teenager when possible. Raking leaves or washing and drying dishes with your teenager is an excellent motivator. The chore gets accomplished in half the time and your teenager isn't left feeling alone. Plus, you get to spend quality time together.

Complete your own set of chores in a timely manner. Teenagers need to see their parents set a good example, showing that it's important for everyone in the family to contribute. There is no motivation for a teen to keep up with chores if his parents aren't.

Compliment and praise your teenager for the chores that she did well. Don't harp on the chores that were completed half-heartedly. Positive reinforcement is far more motivating to a teenager than being constantly reminded of what she is doing wrong. Once she sees you are pleased with her work, she'll be more likely to carry this over into the rest of her chores.

Require the teenager to pay a younger sibling to complete any chores that were neglected by the teenager. After the teenager has lost a few precious dollars, he may gain enough motivation to make sure his chores are done.


Always keep your teen's schedule in mind when assigning chores. Don't give her more chores than she can reasonably complete. Some teenagers are trying to juggle school, a part-time job and sports or other extra-curricular activities, which makes it difficult to find time to take on a great deal of home duties.


Avoid bribing your teen to do his chores with money. It can backfire and he may spend more time negotiating the price rather than completing his chores. It is often more helpful to present chores as being his contribution as part of the family.

Examples of Chores for Kids


Cleaning chores for kids range from cleaning the bedroom to tackling family cleaning tasks in shared areas. Toddlers often start by helping their parents pick up their toys in the bedroom or toy room, or in common areas such as the family room. As your little one gets older, he can handle cleaning his entire room and expanding to additional cleaning duties. Preschoolers and older can carry recyclable items to the recycling bins and carry light bags of trash to the receptacle. Young kids are also able to wipe counters, dust and help with the dishes. Skip the harsh chemical cleaners if your little one is cleaning. Vinegar and water is a safe alternative he can use. Work up to more difficult tasks like washing laundry, cleaning the windows and washing the car over time as your child matures.

Kitchen Help

The kitchen holds the potential for kids' chores that will help you get dinner on the table faster. Setting the table is a task that young children can handle. Kids can also help with the cooking tasks. Assign toddlers and preschoolers simple jobs, such as stirring, scooping and washing ingredients. Older kids can take on more responsibilities, including planning and cooking the meal. Always supervise children in the kitchen, even if they are old enough to handle cooking and using knives on their own. Other kitchen chores that are great for little kids include taking food scraps to the compost pile and helping you put away groceries.

Pet Care

If you have pets in the house, your little one can lend a hand with the care. Toddlers and preschoolers are able to fill the pet's food and water bowls with supervision. Pets can become aggressive around their food so it's best to stay nearby to supervise and prevent dangerous behaviors from your pet. Walking the family dog is a suitable chore for older kids who are strong enough to keep hold of the leash.

Yard Work

Outside jobs are another possibility for kids' chores. Task young children with jobs such as picking up small sticks, watering plants and weeding -- with supervision so the right plants stay in the garden beds. In the fall, get your child involved in leaf cleanup. Mowing is a chore best left to older kids and adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a minimum age of 12 for push mowers and 16 for riding lawn mowers.

How Should You Punish a Teenager for Not Doing His Chores?

Avoid Traditional Punishment

The Psychology Today website cautions parents against traditional punishment in connection with a teenager not completing chores. If you punish a teen for not doing chores, you show the child that he actually has a choice about whether to do the job. If he doesn’t do it, there you are, ready to hand down the punishment for noncompliance. Instead, your message to your teen should be that doing household chores is a non-negotiable responsibility.

Two-way Street

Most teenagers have a running list of what they need from parents. Your child’s list might include transportation and money. It’s reasonable to make these needs of your child conditional on your teenager completing household chores. You might call this concept a two-way street as you explain it to your child. The family helps your child and your child helps the family.

Supervise Chores

The chore scene in your family will entail a certain amount of supervision. Left alone and unsupervised, your teenager might forget to do the chores or do substandard work. Instead, keep tabs on the chores that need to be done and ensure that your teen completes them in a timely manner and in a way that meets your standards. Yes, this might involve nagging and hassling your teen sometimes -- keep at it though. You need to be more stubborn and tenacious than he is.

Cause and Effect

Despite your nagging, if your child refuses to comply with chores, you’ll need to institute a cause-and-effect lesson. If your child refuses to take out the trash after repeated reminders and nagging from you, it’s time to teach him a natural lesson. The next time he asks you for a ride or wants you to wash his laundry, your message is this: “I’ll be happy to help you with the things you need, just as soon as you help the family with the chores we’ve assigned to you.”

Chore List for Teenagers

Encouraging Responsibility

Because your teenager is growing past the stage when she needs your supervision and monitoring for every step of her day, part of parenting a teenager is to help the teen develop a strong sense of responsibility that will ensure that she completes her work. Household chores can be an effective way to teach responsibility, counsels the Duke Talent Identification Program. By giving a teen daily requirements, you encourage responsibility and teach her how to accomplish goals and manage her time.

Reasonable Chores

Effective chores for teenagers are chores that will teach life skills he’ll need as an adult, states Fred Provenzano, Ph.D., with the National Mental Health and Education Center. Suggestions of reasonable chores for a teenager include laundry, maintaining a clean room, cooking food and cleaning the kitchen, yard work and cleaning the bathroom. Some of these tasks might need daily attention and others might be only weekly work.

Family Meeting

Before assigning chores to a teenager, engage in a discussion with your child. By approaching the situation respectfully and proactively, your teenager is more likely to respond positively to the chores. Outline the chores you would like your teenager to complete, either daily or weekly, and present them to your teenager. Listen to your teenager’s reaction and consider what she says. If necessary, you might engage in negotiation with your child to arrive at a chore agreement that everyone will accept, advises the WebMD website. Negotiating about chores can be a better alternative than arguing and fighting about the chores because your teenager doesn’t accept the assignment.

Utilizing Consequences

Because there may be times when your teenager fails to follow through with chores, communicate consequences for noncompliance to your teenager so he understands your expectations. When your teen needs to clean the kitchen, make sure he knows that this includes sweeping and mopping the floor, too. Attach a consequence to each chore in case your teen doesn’t complete the work. If he fails to clean up the kitchen properly, he may not get the car the next weekend.

How to Create Your Own Chores & Rewards Board

Lay the board in a landscape position with the longest sides on the top and bottom. Measure approximately 3 inches from the left boarder with a ruler and draw a straight line from top to bottom with a dry erase marker. Measure approximately 4 inches from the right boarder and make a line with a dry erase marker from top to bottom. This is where you will put your reward picture.

Split the center section, approximately 10 inches wide, into 7 equal columns. Write the names of each day of the week at the top of each column. Cover each of the marker lines with a strip of decorative tape. Cut the tape to the correct width if necessary.

Write the list of chores in the first column. Draw lines to separate the chores if needed.

Cut a cookie jar shape out of colored paper. Glue the paper cookie jar on the right-hand side of the board in the space for the reward picture.

Print out the pictures of cookies from the Internet or make cookies and print photos. Choose a different kind of cookie for each child. For example, Samantha might have pink sugar cookies while Eric has chocolate chip.

Laminate the pictures to make them sturdier and last longer. Glue each cookie to a magnet with the hot glue gun.

Have your children place their magnets on the board -- enough magnets to cover all the listed chores for every day of the week. For example, if Samantha is responsible for doing dishes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but Eric is responsible for them the rest of the week, then Samantha should place her sugar cookie magnets in the line to the right of the word “dishes” under Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while Eric should place his chocolate chip magnets on the same line under the other days of the week. Have the kids do this for each of the chores on the list.

As each child completes a chore, he should move a magnet from the chart to the cookie jar, creating a full jar of treats. When the cookie jar is full, the entire family should get a reward -- something fun such as a family movie night, or an afternoon in an arcade.

Things You Will Need

  • Magnetic dry erase board, 11 by 17 inches
  • Ruler
  • Dry erase markers
  • Decorative tape, 1/4-inch wide
  • Colored paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pictures of cookies, approximately 1 inch in diameter
  • Blank magnets, 1/2-inch squares.


Instead of a cookie jar, consider a tree with red, green and yellow apples or a vase with blossoms on magnets.


Make sure that you assign age-appropriate chores for each child.

Games for Motivating Children to Do Chores

Pick a Card, Any Card

Write down different job assignments that need to be completed on a daily basis. Include easy tasks and more difficult ones. Kids can then take turns picking cards. You can decide whether they get to read them first or pick at random. After the kids take a turn picking, parents can pick a card. This strategy shows that everyone plays a critical role in maintaining the home.

Hidden Treasures

Before chore time, hide a small amount of money or other token items in the locations where the kids will be cleaning. Some options include loose change, scratch-off lottery tickets or coupons that give kids more privileges or a later bedtime for a one-time use. These treasures could be hidden under furniture, under canisters or on shelves that need to be dusted.

Beat the Clock

Kids love a challenge, so setting a clock or sand timer can motivate your kids to clean an area as fast as possible. Or ask each child to clean for an amount of time that's based on her age -- one minute for every year of age.

Horse Race

Showing your child some tangible sign of his progress may help motivate him to get through the work week. Make a small track on cardboard with even spaces. For each day that your child does his chores, allow him to advance a certain number of spaces. If he reaches the finish line by the end of the week, give him a reward.

Musical Chores

Based off of the classical "Musical Chairs" game, Musical Chores offers a similar process that incorporates housecleaning tasks. Play some music and when the music stops, the kids move on to a new chore. Continue until all areas are cleaned up.

Dash for Trash

Give each child a waste basket or laundry basket. A timer provides a specific time in which kids will have to go through the home and remove items that are not where they are supposed to be. The person who gets more items back in their rightful location by the time the timer sounds wins.

How to Create a Chore Chart for a Special Needs Child

Make a list of chores that must occur daily and weekly around the house. Consider adding activities of daily living, such as self-hygiene, as well as tasks like making the bed or cleaning a room.

Put a star next to activities your special needs child can accomplish, even those he can do with some assistance. Also consider those tasks your child does not do by himself currently but that you would like him to learn. Special needs children might become frustrated with tasks they are unfamiliar with, so make sure you have chores at which your child can be successful, such as picking up his toys or putting his dirty clothes in the laundry bin.

Draw straight lines on a piece of paper to make a grid, using a ruler and pencil. You can also make a grid on your computer if preferred. Make a row for a list of chores and one row for each day of the week.

Write the list of chores in the top row and the days of the week in the first column of your grid. For each chore, you can place a sticker or check mark for each day of the week the task is completed.

Color coordinate the chores for special needs children who are particularly visual learners. Your child will begin to associate the color with a task, which grabs your child’s attention and might reduce the amount of times you need to remind your child to do the activity. You can also use pictures next to the words of each chore to aid learning.

Let your child draw a check mark or place a sticker in the chore chart once he completes a task. This action will boost his self-esteem and encourage him to repeat the tasks daily or weekly.

Things You Will Need

  • Paper/poster board
  • Ruler
  • Stickers
  • Markers
  • Pictures of chores


Draw your chore chart on a large poster board and use bright colors to grab your special needs child’s attention. You can place sticky notes in each grid on which to place stickers or check marks, so you can remove the notes and re-use your poster board each week. Don’t be afraid to modify the chart. Once your special needs child is able to do a task successfully, add another component to the activity. If your child struggles with a chore and becomes frustrated each time, take it off the chart until he is ready to try again.

Chore List for a Five Year Old

Figure out the amount of time you want your child to spend doing chores each day. While you don't want your child spending hours a day on chores, a few select chores helps to teach him about contributing and responsibility. These little jobs can also help to instill a feeling of self-confidence and pride for a job well done.

Write a list of chores that are appropriate for your child's age. Five-year-old children are generally capable of more than they are given credit. Chores that will help your child contribute and are appropriate for this development level include making her own bed, putting away clean laundry, emptying small garbage cans in bedrooms or home offices, straightening shoes on shoe racks, dusting furniture and wiping window sills or ledges. Choose two or three to make up your child's chore list.

Hold a practice day and do the chores with your child so he knows what's expected of him. Praise him for a job well done to help bolster his confidence level. He will be much more inclined to work hard when you recognize his efforts and he feels capable of completing the tasks.

Provide an easy daily reminder with a chore chart. Draw and decorate the chart together and then hang it on the refrigerator. Pick up magnets with pictures and use these in place of check marks on the chart so you can reuse the same chart each week.


If you decide to offer rewards for chore completion, consider ideas such as extra story time together, a mom-and-me afternoon and other rewards that focus more on the relationship than physical items like toys and treats.

Chore List for Working Moms

Toddlers and Preschoolers

Toddlers and preschoolers love helping Mom out with chores, and it can actually be good for them. Chores give young children a sense of responsibility and get them into the habit of helping out. While your little one probably can't do household chores completely on her own, she can do some with a bit of help from a parent or older sibling. Chores that toddlers and preschool-age kids can do include making their bed, picking up toys, assisting with setting the table, dusting and helping match socks when the laundry is done.

School-Age Kids

School-age kids can begin helping out more at home, since they are able to complete some chores on their own. Kids like to make a contribution to the family and feel needed. At this age, your children can choose their own clothes for the day and dress themselves, help fold laundry, carry the trash out, vacuum or sweep and put clean dishes away. Kids can also start learning how to put their own clean laundry away and how to prepare some meals with your help.


Tweens are at an age where they are just learning to become more independent and can handle additional responsibilities. This means your tween can accomplish a larger variety of chores and be expected to complete them successfully. You can teach your tween how to do some laundry and how to properly keep the bathrooms clean. She can wash the dishes and learn how to load and unload the dishwasher. You could also begin to teach your tween how to help with younger siblings, by watching them while you run an errand, or how to help get a sibling ready for school in the mornings.


Your teenager is old enough to know what his responsibilities are and to get chores done without being asked. This doesn't always mean that he'll do his chores, however. Teens are focused on creating their own identity and learning to become independent people, but it's still important for your teenager to learn how to be responsible and keep up with his chores. Not only does this help you out, it also teaches him how to care for himself when he is living on his own, either at college or in a first apartment. Your teen should be able to clean up after himself, do his own laundry, help with yard work, assist in preparing family meals and help with grocery shopping when you give him a detailed list.

Household chore list for teens

Challenging Teens with Cooking Chores

Cooking chores are important lessons for teens who will soon be taking on the responsibility for feeding themselves during college years. Challenge your teen to make one meal a week, preferably on days they have no scheduled after-school activities or weekend jobs. Suggest simple menus for beginners and encourage them to learn to make favourite dishes for the entire family. Work alongside them as a mentor, teaching rudimentary cooking skills and offering support materials such as cookbooks that contain recipes for their favourite foods. This chore also includes serving dinner, dish washing, cleaning the stove and putting away the dishes and pots.

Age-Appropriate Improvements on Cleaning Chores

Ask a teenager who already tidies and cleans her own room to assist and teach a younger sibling to do the same, but define the limits as to what the teen can expect from younger brothers and sisters. When the teen has extra time during the holidays, ask her to take on a spring cleaning project for specific rooms or the whole house. Regularly review existing chores to see if they are more appropriate for younger family members and "promote" a teen to more responsible tasks.

Tailored Laundry Chores

Many teens already take responsibility for their own laundry, including the washing, drying, ironing, folding and putting away of clothing. Offer to swap a chore they like least for another chore on your to-do list. An example of this is taking over the washing and drying of their clothes, an easy automated task for the parent who is preparing the evening meal, and trading it for washing up afterward.

Safe Garden Chores

Suitable garden chores for teens depend on their level of physical strength and development, skill and safety awareness with tools such as motorised lawnmowers and trimmers. Safe outside chores for teens of all ages include washing cars, driveways and paths, sweeping and bagging up leaves, putting out trashcans on collection days. Encourage teens to learn about recycling by teaching them to separate glass, cans and garden wastes into the proper bins.

Ideas for Rotating Children's Chores

Keep it Fair

When you decide to rotate children’s chores, make sure the chores fit the kids. Taking out the trash probably isn’t a suitable chore for a 5-year-old and feeding the dog might be something too easy for a teenager. Rotate chores that suit the age and skill level of the kids to make sure the chore assignment is fair. A family with kids of multiple ages might separate “easy chores” and “hard chores” into different groups to assign to younger and older kids.

Rotating Chore Chart

Creating a chore chart that rotates on a weekly basis ensures that kids don’t get bored with chores. You might have a set of chores for each kid to do on week one, week two, week three and week four. This will give kids a variety of chores to learn and complete throughout the month without letting them fall into a rut from doing the same work day after day. You might post the new week’s chore chart on the refrigerator every Sunday so the kids can dig in to the new week’s chores.

Chore Cards

Write chores down on index cards and fill a box or jug with the cards. Have the kids pick at least one chore from the container every day as the chore they’re responsible for completing. Once the kids complete the chore, return the card to the container so it can be completed again next time. Make sure the chore cards are appropriate for the ages and skill levels of the children. If necessary, divide chores into separate containers for younger kids and older kids.

Rotate the Unpopular Chores

When no one wants to take out the trash or clean the toilets, spread out the joy amongst everyone in the family. Determine which chores are the unpopular ones and then take turns with these tasks. By divvying up the chores no one wants to do, you make sure no one feels unfairly stuck with the bad jobs and no one gets burnt out on trash or toilets.

How to Set Up Chore Jars for Kids

Create age-appropriate chore jars for each child. For example, a chore suitable for a 15 year old, like cleaning the attic, wouldn’t be appropriate for a 6 year old.

Make two chore jars for each child: one jar for uncompleted chores and another jar for finished tasks. You can use any unbreakable plastic containers, such as mayonnaise or peanut butter jars, or empty coffee cans. Wash the containers and remove the labels with a dish scrubber, if necessary.

Cut new labels for the chore jars from pieces of construction paper to fit the height of each jar. If the container is clear, you will want the labels to cover the entire outside of the jar, so the children can’t see inside the container. Write “To Do” on one label and “Completed” on the second label with a felt-tip pen. Attach the labels to the outside of the chore jars with child-safe glue.

Write the name of each different chore on separate tongue depressors or craft sticks with the felt-tip pen. As examples, write “take out trash,” “walk dog” or “wash dishes” on different sticks.

Place each child’s chore sticks in their “To Do” chore jar. Have your children select one or more sticks daily or weekly; whatever chores they pull from the jar is their responsibility for that day or week.

Place the sticks for the completed chores in the “Completed” chore jar. Once all the chores have been finished, move all the chore sticks back to the “To Do” chore jar, to be done again.

Things You Will Need

  • 2 empty jars per child
  • Dish scrubber
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Felt-tip pen
  • Child-safe glue
  • Tongue depressors or craft sticks


To help inspire enthusiasm and cooperation, have your children help make the chore jars.

Rather than just giving your kids an allowance, assign a monetary value to each chore to help encourage children to do more work. Make the value appropriate to the chore and child’s age range. You may need to set a weekly monetary limit so you don’t go broke. Alternatively, hand out “privilege coupons,” which grant the children additional benefits, such as an extra 30 minutes of TV, instead of money, for each completed task.

Summer Chores for Kids

Little Ones

Toddlers to kindergartners can help with simple chores such as walking and feeding the dog, sorting laundry and putting outside toys away. The child might enjoy a small garden plot where she can grow summer flowers or something for the dinner table. On a picnic, your little one can be in charge of straightening out the blanket and setting the table before lunch and rounding up the trash and depositing it in a trash container after the meal is done.


Elementary school kids are responsible enough to take on more complex chores. Your child might clean up the yard once a week before the lawn is mowed or help drag the lawn sprinkler around so your grass doesn’t die in the summer heat. A summer garden keeps your child busy for an hour or two pulling weeds, watering, and bringing in the ripe produce so everyone can enjoy the fruits of his labor. He can go through his things and decide what needs to be passed down to a sibling, added to a family yard sale or given away.


If you have younger children, your tween will be a big help keeping an eye on her siblings while you get your chores done. This might be a good time to teach her to do her own laundry and prepare food in the kitchen. Assign a few simple housekeeping duties such as vacuuming, dusting and organizing her room. She can help wash the windows and screens so you can open the windows when the weather is warm.


Teens can take on many of those tasks that need muscle and stamina, such as caring for the lawn, cleaning out the garage so you can get the car in, watering around your home’s foundation and helping with home maintenance tasks that you can’t get done in colder months. If you need a babysitter, your teen might fill the bill and appreciate the cash that comes with the chore. Summer is a good time for catching up on the car maintenance and your teen could profit from knowing how to check and fill the car fluids and learning simple car repair skills. Permission to use the car could accompany responsibilities to keep the car interior and exterior clean and ensure that the tank stays full.

How to Entertain Toddlers While Trying to Do Chores

Grab a refrigerator box and turn it into a playhouse, rocket ship or bear cave. You could also build a fort out of blankets and chairs. Encourage your child to grab picture books, a couple of favorite toys and crawl into her special place. A bin of dress-up clothes works, too. While she’s safely playing, you can escape to dust or vacuum.

Throw some special toys in a bin and hide it somewhere that your child will not have regular access to. When it’s cleaning time, pull out the special toys. When your toddler loses interest or you’re done with your chores, clean the toys up and put them away.

Turn her into a special helper. A kiddie broom and dustpan can turn her into a cleaning machine. Give her a handful of socks to pair up or a couple of shirt to try to fold. It might end up crumpled, but at least you were able to put the rest away. A washcloth and a squirt bottle of water are distracting and entertaining. She might even get some of the dog slobber off of the windows while she’s at it.

Pull out a bin of art supplies and tell your toddler that Daddy needs a welcome-home card, her brother would like a smiley picture or grandma needs a thank-you note. Paper, markers, glue sticks, buttons, ribbon and foam shapes can distract a little one for a long time.

Ask an older sibling to read to your toddler or play a game with her while you work. If siblings aren't around, try coordinating with another mom to exchange play times. That way, you both can schedule your cleaning time when your child is playing with the other child. If all else fails, call grandma.

Clean when your child is napping. Although this is not the time to vacuum, you can clean the bathroom or mop the floor in a quiet manner so you don't disturb your slumbering child.

Things You Will Need

  • Refrigerator box
  • Blankets and chairs
  • Books
  • Toys
  • Toy bin
  • Art supplies

How to Divide the Chores When There Is a Stay-at-Home Spouse

Hold a family meeting to discuss the needs of the household and the division of the labor. With one parent in a stay-at-home position, it’s likely that this parent will take on more of the parental responsibilities than the parent who works outside the home, advises the Family Education website.

Hold a family meeting to discuss daily schedules and responsibilities of each family member to determine who will accept responsibility for household chores. For example, the parent who stays at home might take on meal planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation as well as laundry detail and daily clutter control. The parent who holds a job outside the home might take on after-dinner cleanup and weekend cleaning chores. Any teens in the house might be responsible for yard work, shoveling snow and cleaning bathrooms. Younger children might help sort and fold laundry, vacuum and feed pets.

Make a chore chart to keep track of each family member’s household chores once you figure them out. You might agree to try the new system out for one week to make sure the schedule works for everyone. Post the chore chart in a central location so everyone can refer to it as necessary, recommends Gains.

Reassess the system after one week to ensure everyone feels satisfied with the workload. If any family member feels overwhelmed with too many responsibilities, discuss the situation and make adjustments.


Approach the division of labor and assignment of chores with a positive attitude to teach children that chores don’t have to be unpleasant. If any family members refuse to work as a team to accomplish household chores, apply a logical consequence, suggests Mary Schroeder, extension educator with the University of Minnesota Extension. Tell an uncooperative family member that if he won’t pitch in to help the family, he will not receive blessings and services such as rides to activities, computer time and having friends visit.