SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Chore Wars | Family Economics

By Trisha

The war of getting our kids to do their chores can often be a daily battle on the home front. With five kids and a huge mom chore list myself; I came to a place in my mom journey where I was tired of asking, begging and pleading for help. I was tired of asking my kids, “Did you do this? Did you do that?” I knew I had to find a chore system that worked for our family and would cease the daily “did you” questions.

Are you ready to end the chore wars in your home, ready to get your kids on your team and begin helping you around the house?

The steps we took in our home were simple, flexible and can be implemented in any home. Create, Communicate and Conquer.


Step 1 - Create a list of age appropriate chores.

Step 2 - Create a chart system that works for your family that allows you to list each family member’s chores and a place they can record their progress. You can create your own on your computer or purchase one. There are a variety of ways and ideas including check off lists, wall charts, online chore charting systems, etc.


Step 1 - Host a family meeting to discuss chores. Get your children involved in the process by allowing them to help choose their chores. Go over the chore chart system you have chosen to use so that they understand their responsibilities.

Step 2 - Teach them the chores by modeling and practice with side-by-side training. Show them a positive attitude while doing chores.

Step 3 - Encourage your child when they complete a chore even if it is not exactly to your expectations. Give them extra praise when they begin doing their chores on their own without reminders.


Step 1 - Schedule time each day or week for your children to complete their chores.

Step 2 - Be proactive and decide ahead of time what the consequences will be if their chores are not completed. Make them clear, fair and consistent.

Step 3 - Rotate the to-do list. Give your child a chance to do different chores daily or weekly. This gives them an opportunity to learn new skills.

Step 4 - If the system is NOT working, FIX it. Don’t give up - try a new plan of action. Take time to evaluate what works and what isn’t working. Vacations, sport schedules, ages, stages and other changes require flexibility.

For this mom, it was wanting to end the, “Did you do this? Did you do that?” Not just their chores, but brush their teeth, practice piano and homework. So, I created a check off list of both their chores and the basic daily tasks each child needs to accomplish. It has worked for our family.

End result: chores teach kids responsibility and that they are part of a family community. It’s not about what system you use, if you pay or don’t pay, it is about your family and what works for you to bring a little less stress to your home each day.

How do you get your children to do their chores?

4 Comments so far

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On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, momisbestjob in Tacoma wrote

Thanks for the encouragement to try to FIX it if it's not working instead of just giving up!!

On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, mom of 3 in WA wrote

I like the weekly family meeting....I need do this more!

On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, need organization in WA wrote

For School age made 2 sections of the check off for when they first got home from school (lunch box unpacked and away, book bag unpacked and away) thing I wanted done before freetime/dinner. The 2nd section things I wanted done before bed (homework, clothes for the next day, etc) This made the list not as overwhelming to them.

On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, mom of 3 in WA wrote

Started off by putting basic things on their check off list (get dressed, brush teeth, etc) helped them get use to having the check off list and having success....then fazed out the basic things and add "chores"


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