Do you have a family chores system set up? Let me help you do that, or tweak the one you’ve got.
In the world of chores, there are personal chores/responsibilities, and then there are family chores.
Personal chores are cleaning up things that personally benefit yourself or things you’re personally responsible for. Like cleaning up your room, organizing your closet, putting your shoes away when you come home, ironing your shirt for that job interview.
Family chores include tasks that contribute to the overall good of the household and, in some way, to each family member. Family chores are also known as house chores. This could be cleaning up the living room area, wiping down the kitchen counters, and loading up the dishwasher after a meal.
One of the keys to a successful family? Is dividing up the family chores + ensuring each person takes responsibility for their personal ones.
Because if you don’t have each member of the family contributing towards the household duties on top of taking care of their own, then chances are, you’ll build up resentment. (And not just between kids and parents, but also between partners!)
How to Create Your Family Chores System
You’re ready to either create your first family chores system, or to tweak the one you’ve got.
Let me outline for you what goes into a family chores system.
Step #1: Establish Your Household Chores Schedule
When are the family chores expected to be done by? Is the deadline different for everyone due to scheduling conflicts, or do you guys tackle all the chores in one fell swoop on Thursday nights or a Saturday afternoon?
You’ll want to choose your household chores schedule and stick with it as much as possible. Consistency is so important!
Step #2: Establish What Chores Each Person Gets
Choose the chores that each person will get (more on this in the sections below).
How will you rotate chores – when kids grow out of them, or weekly, or when you feel like it?
You might want to peek at my age appropriate chores list for kids, curated after surveying 179 mothers about what chores they’re giving to their kids.
Step #3: Establish an Oversight System
Have you ever seen those chore wheels – you know, the ones where you spin the wheel and whatever chore it lands on is the one you get?
I love that idea, but would like to see it used in a different way as well.
Instead of making chore choices random, make oversight choices random.
What I’m talking about is creating a Chore Oversight Wheel, with a picture of each family member at each spoke. Then when you spin it, the person it lands on is the person you will provide oversight for at the end of chores day or the task they’ve completed.
I think this is a fairer way to provide oversight – it’s not just the older sibling always looking over the younger sibling’s shoulders, and it’s not just the parent always looking over their kid’s shoulders.
And in the process of making sure big sister or Mom did the job right? Your child will undoubtedly learn better how to complete the task.
Hint: if you’re concerned about standards here, you should know two things. The first is, the chores process is a learning one. Mistakes and faulty cleaning techniques will run rampant. It’s okay. And the second is you can create some chore oversight cards with specific household chores checklist the oversight person can check off for some standards. Talk about some good prep for reviews from future bosses!
Step #4: Do Something Fun Together
I’m a proponent of having a Family Chores Day, which means that at the end of getting everything done, I think you all should do something fun together.
Don’t have time or the schedule allotment to make all the chores happen in one day? No problem. You can still choose a Family Chores Reward Day as a target/deadline for when all chores + oversight needs to be completed. If it’s done right, then the family gets to do something fun together.
Ideas for Family Chores Reward Day:
- Takeout Dinner
- Family Movie
- Air Hockey/Pool/Board Game Tournament
- This hilarious Fool’s Café Family Dinner Idea
- Host Family Field Day Games
I’ve outlined how to set up a Family Chores System above, but now I’d like to talk about some important things to consider when choosing the chores you’ll be dishing out for everyone.
Choosing Chores to Keep the Family Growing
I have an entire article on chore ideas for how to choose chores to help your child grow in 5 key ways, but I’ll definitely give an overview of it here, as well. Because I think it’s so important!
If you’re going to go through the trouble of giving your children chores – getting them to do them, providing oversight, and starting all over again next chore day – then you might as well get the most learning-mileage from the experience you can, right?
Here’s the extra value you can get out of chores if you choose the right ones:
- Teaching your child how to master a skill: Wow does this one help with self-confidence! Just think back to how proud your child was when they mastered the potty (ours just did this past summer!), or when they helped you prep dinner for the first time. Chores are no different.
- Teaching your child how to work through a challenge: You shouldn’t just dole out chores that are simple and at the capability level of your child; I challenge you to give them chores that challenge them (and to help when needed).
- Teaching your child how to instruct others: Don’t be too quick on passing down a chore your child has mastered. Allow them to then instruct their younger sibling on how to do it right, in turn teaching them how to instruct someone else (do you ever notice that when you have to teach someone something, you learn even more about it?).
- Teaching your child how to be responsible for themselves: Give your child some of the chores that they’ll be responsible for for the rest of their lives, such as doing their personal laundry.
- Teaching your child how to be a team player + team contributor: Choose chores where your child is not the main beneficiary. For example, if they clean their room, then they get a nice clean room to live in. But cleaning the living room? Well, that benefits everyone.
And one more thing before you choose chores for kids that I’d like to add: don’t forget to choose money chores as well.
Family Chores Should Include Money Chores as Well
Think about it – when your child grows up, not only will they have to do laundry, clean dishes, and cook themselves dinner. They’ll also have a whole bunch of money chores to take care of, like basic account maintenance, money management, resource management, rolling up change from the change jar, searching for discounts for items they need to buy, etc.
And while our culture is big on giving kids chores to do in prep for the real world, for some reason, we don’t consider giving them money chores as prep to the money tasks they’ll have to complete when they turn into adults.
You can change this!
Here are some Family Money Chores to pick from:
- Roll up the coin jar to prep for depositing at the bank (you can get the coin wrappers at your bank).
- Gather all the change from around the house + car (look in those seat cushions and don’t forget the laundry room!), then put in the family change jar.
- Coupon clipping for commonly used household products.
- Prepping for an annual family yard sale.
- Researching prices for the next family trip.
- Scanning receipts into cashback apps, like the CoinOut App (I checked – kids are allowed to do this!).
You’ve got what you need now to create a family chores system. I’d love to hear more about how chores work in your own household!