“I love chores!”-said no child EVER



If you’re a parent it’s no surprise to you that children recoil at the mere mention of chores.  Some days calling chores a battle would be an understatement.  At times, it’s easier to just give in and do it all yourself.  That is, until they become teenagers and start smart mouthing you and tell you to “Do your job and clean my rooom, mom!”

To give you a (brief) background, I’m a stay at home mom to 4 kids.  Twin 10 year old girls, a 5 year old girl, and a 2 year old boy.  The twins are (technically) my step-daughters.  In the spring of 2012, my husband and I finally saw a chance to have the twins live with us FULL time.  It’s a long story (for another day) but the twins lived with their grandmother temporarily until things settled down when my husband and his ex-wife divorced in 2005.  When he and I married in 2007,  I fell in love with those girls and I knew that when the time was right, they would live with us full time.  Fast forward to today, they’ve lived with us for almost 2 years, they call me “Mama” and I can’t fathom life without them.

When they started living with us, they didn’t have many responsibilities at their grandmother’s home.  “Chores” didn’t really exist for them.  Because living with us full time was a new thing, I didn’t want to spoil their fun at living with us either.  I certainly wasn’t in a rush to become a legendary “evil” step-mom.



I know in my heart kids need to do chores.  It builds character, teaches them to work hard, and work as a team.  Children NEED to learn to support their family and (especially) in a family of 6 like ours, they need to know we are a unit and that we all count on each other.  Not to mention that chores show them how to be responsible and accountable for their personal job.  There are limitless articles you can find that support that children need chores.  Including this one found on the New York Times website.

There are age appropriate chores for all children.  My 5 year old takes her plate to the sink, helps wash dishes, and puts away silverware to name a few.  When she was younger, she carried an empty spray bottle and paper towel or wash rag around with me and would “clean” along with me.  She has a play vaccum.  Cleaning has been a game from the start for her and for my 2 year old as well.  Not sure about what your child can or should do?  Focus on the Family has a list here for ages 2-18.

So how the heck was I going to get these pre-teens to do chores without (in their eyes) morphing into an evil step-mom/hag/witch?  Transitioning from being expected to do nothing but have fun to being expected to carry their share of the house work was not going to be an easy task for ANYONE involved.

The evil step mother does NOT live here

The evil step mother does NOT live here

What I Did aka How to Get Your Kids Started on Chores NOW

Make a list of chores you expect your child to do on a daily and weekly basis.  Type them in a fun and colorful way and post them in visible places around your home. Don’t make your first list to difficult or demanding, remember this is supposed to ease them into the idea, not frustrate them. Download ours by clicking here: responsibilty chart

Next make a reward system.  I found something called “caught you” coupons.  These also work great for behavior modification.  For example, when your child is “caught” picking up after themselves after dinner, you hand them a coupon because you “caught” them doing what they were supposed to do.  Make sure your child knows that they won’t always get a coupon, but that sometimes they will.  Hand them out sometimes just for no reason, and sometimes because you saw them do something above and beyond.  Don’t forget to HEAP ON THE PRAISE!  Your approval is the best reward you could give your kiddos.

Reward example

Reward example from Gutierrez family Blog

The next part of the system is to come up with a reward list.  Each coupon should have a point value written on the back.  When you make a rewards list, it should fit your lifestyle.  For example, if you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in your budget, stick to free rewards i.e. Stay up with Mom late for 2 hours, extra dessert, 30 min undivided attention from mom/dad, sleep in late, 15 min delay of bedtime, You pick the movie for family movie night, etc.  Click here for a few different reward printables .  Also HEREHERE…and HERE

You also need a list of consequences when the chores are not done, or if you are using this system for behavior modification, a list of consequences when the unwanted behavior is carried out.  This list, along with the chores, and rewards, should be clearly posted somewhere in your home.

A simple google search of “coupons for kids” or “reward coupons for kids” will help you as well.

Will you be using these printables? What questions do you have about this system?  How will you modify it for your family? It’s designed to be customizable!!…Please comment below!

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Playlist for this post: When a heart breaks- Ben Rector, Daughters- John Mayer, To Love Somebody- Michael Buble, I Run to You- Lady Antebellum, Tiptoe- Imagine Dragons, Wait for Me- Shane Harper, Let me Roll it- Lakeside Drive, Slumber- Need to Breathe, I’ll be Seeing You- Billie Holliday, Next to Me- Emeli Sande


12 thoughts on ““I love chores!”-said no child EVER

  1. I love the coupon idea. It sounds so creative! Much better than allowances, in my opinion (especially if you don’t have the money to give your kids an allowance). I’m going to have to remember it when I have kids….

  2. Yup, they need chores. As soon as my son could walk I had him helping me take the clothes of the clothes rack outside. He loved doing it! “I hep Mommy!” Then as they got a bit older they had to put their own clothes away, in the correct drawers. After a few days of not doing this, I took all their toys and put them in the closet. I drew 7 boxes on a piece of paper and said “you have to put your clothes away for 7 days in a row to get your toys back.” Haven’t had a problem with clothes since. (The playroom in the basement still had toys).

      • My kids are many (MANY) annoying things, but chore time extenders they are not. They love using the vacuum or the swiffer. My son, at age 1.5 was vacuuming the kitchen floor and moving all the chairs to do it! They make extra messes for me in their ample spare time, but if I enlist them, they help.

      • My youngest daughter loves to help, and although the twins enjoy helping for a little while, they tire out quickly. The challenge now is in doing quality work and teaching them to be thorough.

  3. This is a great post! So many ideas I can use with my boys. Because we are always in a hurry (me working full-time, soccer, hockey, etc…) I have just tended to do things myself because it’s faster. Now that they are 8 and 6 we’ve given them more responsibility for their own chores. My 8 yo now folds his own laundry, they both put the laundry away, unloading dishwasher, etc…

    I also love that the coupons are random. I hate it when a kid does something they should be doing anyway and then asks for a reward.

    • It definitely takes a commitment from the parent :/ But if you can put your mind to it, it is so worth it! …Those moments when you wanna pull your hair out always pass lol even though they seem like they wont!
      I had to learn to kinda let things go with the laundry…as long as it makes it in the correct drawer, I don’t mind the folding being messy. I read somewhere awhile back that kids will start to fold their clothes nicer when they hit the age that their peers start to be more concerned with their appearance.
      It drives me crazy when people reward their kids (or employees) for doing something they shouldve been doing anyway! I CONCUR lol

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