The craziness of parenthood leaves behind messes both big and small, with the adults often taking on the responsibility of cleaning them up. Chores serve a dual purpose -- your child learns how to be responsible and you get a helping hand with the household tasks. An organized chore list keeps track of the family efforts and helps create a routine. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, family routines cut down on chaos and support organization that keeps the house running smoothly. Creating a customized chore list allows you to meet your family's needs.
Write a list of responsibilities that your child must do no matter what. This includes things like picking up after himself, doing his homework and taking care of his belongings. These duties stay separate from the additional household chores he tackles. If your child has difficult remembering these tasks, post a list in his room as a reminder.
Jot down the household chores you want the kids to handle. Choose tasks that are age appropriate and safe for your children. Ideas include picking up common rooms, dusting, cleaning windows, sorting laundry, taking out the trash, caring for pets and helping with dinner preparation and cleanup.
Assign a frequency to each task on the chore list. Chores such as feeding the family dog or setting the dinner table need to happen every day. Others only need to happen a few times a week or less. For example, your child only needs to empty the trash every few days.
Determine the number of chores each family member will take. Young children can usually only handle a few tasks, while older kids can handle more responsibility.
Decide if the kids will have fixed chores that remain the same or rotating chores for variety. Sheila Gains of the Colorado State University Extension suggests allowing kids to choose their chores so they have some control.
Enter the chores into a spreadsheet to track the tasks and the frequency. Place each chore in the left column, listed by person. For example, list all of your youngest child's chores first, followed by a space and all of your older child's chores. Enter each day of the week along the top row, with a column for each day. Indicate the frequency of each task by marking the corresponding square on the grid.
Leave blanks to sign up for chores if you allow the kids to choose what they do. Set guidelines for choosing tasks, including the minimum number each child needs to take. If the kids fight over chores, have them take turns picking tasks so the first child to sign up doesn't take all the favorite chores. Another option is to rotate the tasks without letting the kids choose, or break down the chores into different categories with a minimum number from each group.
Print a new copy of the chore list each week, or slide the sheet inside a plastic page protector and use dry-erase markers. This allows the kids to cross off the chores as they do them.