I recently mentioned in this post that one way you can reduce the amount of housework you have to do is to engage your children both young and old in household chores. Today I’m going to expand on that suggestion. No Mama likes feeling like the cleaning lady and children need to help around the house so that they feel like valued contributors in the home. Basically a win win situation. So if your kiddo is going to help out around the house now, you’re going to want a beautiful chore chart for your kid to be proud of their accomplished work.

In this post I’ll be teaching you a few reasons weekly chores are important for children that may surprise you and how to encourage your young child to complete chores. I’ll also include the links to 25 amazing chore chart ideas you can make with your kids plus I created a free, exclusive chore chart printable just for my lovely readers- you!


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Do you want your child to be successful in her education, career and relationships?

Of course you do. Well then it’s time to Minimize your kiddo’s schedule, Mama, because the biggest indicator for future success as discovered in the results of this study isn’t extra after school activities, taking a slue of advanced classes or learning an instrument and a second language. While all of those things on their own can be beneficial, the best thing you can do for your kids is to assign them household chores and do so at a very early age.

The research in the study above says that beginning as early (or earlier) as age three is best. The biggest benefit to beginning chores at this age is a young child’s willingness to volunteer. My three year old regularly asks if she can help me cook dinner. I’m sure you can think of several tasks right now that your children ask to help you with each day. Write these down. This is a great starting place for a chore list your child will want to complete!

Teach ’em young!

I may be an extremist. I taught both of my children how to independently carry out household chores as soon as they mastered walking. Don’t nobody get a free ride around here! haha If you make household chores part of your child’s daily routine from the very beginning your child will never know anything different. This will make your life easier as a Mama and you’ll feel proud of what you’ve taught your child each time he succeeds with his chore list.

And if you’re a Mama of older kids who you wish would help you more around the house the kids’ chore chart ideas I’ll link to at the bottom of this article will help motivate your child to complete her chores in order to receive a predetermined reward. The reward could be one-on-one time with Mom or Dad, the wifi password for the day or simply providing an allowance.

Chores are just as important for your child’s mental health as for yours.

This study by Michigan State University lists a few of the ways that asking your child to do chores will benefit her now as well as in the future. A few reasons your child should be doing chores are:

  • Chores build children’s self-esteem, self-efficacy and self-worth.
  • The benefits to your child of completing chores don’t stop at responsibility and independence. When you use clean, concise language and props (shoes, for instance) to demonstrate actions you are fostering language development and building your young child’s vocabulary.
  • Two words, Mama: life skills.
  • Less work for you to do and more time you can play together.
  • An allowance opens the door to teaching money management skills to your child.
  • Being expected to do chores along with homework duties teaches time management and real world situations.
  • Using a chore chart teaches your child how to track their completed work. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of 25 DIY chore chart ideas!)
  • Using a chore chart allows your child to display his work to anyone who visits your home building a sense of pride in his abilities.

When you teach your child responsibility through chores you are encouraging independence and therefore self-worth. You’re building character. Simple chores are something a child can do alone and feel successful doing. The message I want my children to know by doing their chore list is, “You are important. I value your help. Your work is good work.” Assigning your child chores will benefit you both and with both of you working together you’ll have more time to spend with each other playing.

Chore Chart Kids First Easy chores for kids

So if chores are so great, why are only 28% of parents requiring them?

In a 2014 Braun Research research poll by Whirlpool, 1,001 parents weighed in on chores. 82% of the parents stated they had been required to do chores as kids, but only 28% are regularly assigning chores to their kids. What gives?? Chores are a gold mine for developing character in our children!


FREE Rainbow Chore Chart

Chore chart printable

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What kind of chores can a toddler do? Isn’t he too young?

In a nutshell- no. Children are a lot like goldfish. They’ll grow to the size of the limits you set for them. Children can do whatever you believe they can do within reason.

chore chart easy first chores for kids mamabearmartin.com

The first chore that you teach your child could be something as simple as asking your 18 month old to put his shoes away each day when he gets home. When deciding on a first chore to teach a child consider these three things:

  • What is an age appropriate chore that my child can successfully do 100% by himself?
  • Is my child able to carry out the movements that it will take to accomplish this chore?
  • Once you begin teaching the first chore, you must stick with it. Don’t change it up and begin teaching a new chore if you aren’t seeing fast results. Keep practicing with your child. If you feel like you’ve made a mistake and chosen a chore that is too difficult for your child’s age then take a 2 week break and begin again with a new chore.

At our house…

We store our shoes out of sight in the bottom cabinet of a bookshelf we keep by our front door. When I taught The Boy to put his shoes away it took several demonstrations. To begin I would get his attention and say, “Put your shoes away.” He would stare at me confused for a few seconds and then I’d pick up his shoes, make eye contact with him and say, “Shoes. *wiggles the shoes* Put your shoes away.” Then I would demonstrate the steps exactly as I want him to do the chore- open the cabinet door, place the shoes neatly inside and shut the door.

Eventually, a day came where there were no more confused stares. He surprised me by doing exactly what I’d asked and then was heavily praised. If your child doesn’t independently begin carrying out the chore you are teaching you can try placing the shoes in his hands to see if he’ll fill in the blank by finishing the steps and putting the shoes in the cabinet.

What are other easy first chores that I can teach my toddler?

These same steps can be used to teach any chore. The first chore I taught both of my children once they could walk was to throw things away in the trash. I mention teaching that skill in this post. This is especially helpful after diaper changes when they can put their wet (never soiled) diapers into the wash bin or trash without help.

Other great ideas to choose from for first chores are teaching your child to unload the dishwasher, wipe spills, scrub floors (The Boy loves this one & drives the brush around like a little car.), wipe walls with a damp cloth and put dirty clothes into the clothes hamper to be washed.

Then what?

After my children master their first chore they learn to switch loads of laundry from the dirty clothes basket to the front loader then to the dryer (with supervision). They can put their dirty clothes into the hamper to be washed and my three year old is now learning to sort clean clothes after they come out of the dryer. My children put their dirty dishes into the sink (plastic dishware because it usually comes in with a crash! lol) and they learn to move their clean dishes from the dishwasher into their dish drawer.

They can both independently retrieve a dish towel from the drawer and wipe up a mess after one of them has spilled something. They can feed Ninny’s cat without help and they can pick up their toys around the house. I make toy clean up easier for them by storing their toys visually (I love using cube shelves for this!) and using a vacation box. You can read about our vacation box in this post and my best methods for storing toys in this post. Swipe a FREE copy of my ebook, The Ultimate Toy Storage Handbook, while you’re there!

There will be a learning curve. Remain consistent.

My children are not exceptional. Any child can be taught to do chores that are appropriate for their age if you are specific about what you want them to do and keep the job simple.

When I ask one of my kiddos to do one of their chores I’m only a few steps away so that I can encourage or steer them back on course if one of them get distracted for more than a few minutes. Of course my children don’t do all of these chores every single day, but the message I want you to take home from this example is that they both understand how to do all of these things and they are 18 months and 3 years.

There are days when I struggle to have the patience it takes. It would be easier to do all of these things myself… today, but my eyes are focused on the future. I want my children to know basic life skills so that I never have to catch them using an #adulting hashtag. Sometimes I have to repeat that to myself like a mantra. Think of the future… think of the future… think of the furture.

My kids do chores because I never want to see them use an #adulting hashtag. Chores teach valuable life skills. - Leah 'MamaBear' MartinClick To Tweet

Chore Chart Kids First Easy chores for kids

Chores are not punishment.

The golden rules of chore training- Don’t overwhelm your child. You’re not creating a tiny cleaning army, but rather an independent, little helper who will grow up to be a capable adult. Start with one chore and repeat it daily using the same, simple phrase words (such as, “Put your shoes away.”) to make the instructions easily identifiable even for the very young. Also- chores shouldn’t be a form of punishment. Chores should be used as a constructive and effective way to build self-worth in your child.

Chore Chart For Kids

Now that you know why to assign your kids weekly chores, it’s time to cover the how. To help you get your child excited about doing chores, I took to Pinterest and rounded up the best DIY kids’ chore chart idea blog posts! Without further ado-

FREE Rainbow Chore Chart

Chore chart printable

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Our First Crack at Positive Rewards and Chore Charts

Free Printable Chore Cards Tutorial

Life Skills Checklist

Chores For Kids: A Guide to Cleaning With Kids By Room and Age

I Have the World’s Messiest Kids!

15 Easy Chore Charts that Your Kids Will Love   (**this one is my favorite!)

Simple Chore and Reward System Your Kids Will Love + Free Printables

34 of the Greatest Chore Charts for Kids We’ve Ever Seen!

DIY Cookie Sheet Chore Charts (**this idea is genius and budget-friendly!)

13 of the Best Chore Charts for Kids

Create Kids’ Chore Charts to Get Whole Family Involved in Household Chores

Magnetic Chore Charts

Lovely DIY Chore Charts for Kids

Our Morning Routine (**by far the most adorable chore chart for little girls)

Lovely DIY Chore Charts for Kids

Chore Charts for Kids

Chore Charts for Kids

Contribution Chart

Work for Hire Chores

Go Clean Your Room: Help for Young Kids (**Perfect for kids who aren’t reading yet)

Chore Sticks: The Simple Chore System for Kids That Really Works

Chore System for Kids

I Did It! Chart

Printable Chore Cards (**These chore cards look super handy- even for an adult!)

The Creative Homemaker- Ang’s Laundry System– (**This chore chart is genius! Everyone gets a turn.)


Do you expect your children to do chores or do you let them take a seat while you do the work? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

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