3 Downloadable Chore Charts for Kids—And How to Use Them Effectively

Organize your kids' household responsibilities with our free printable chore charts, and learn helpful tips for using them properly. 

Even children as young as 2 can help out around the house. The secret? "Parents should present chores in a way that makes little ones feel they're contributing to the family," says Robert Billingham, Ph.D., a human development specialist at Indiana University in Bloomington. By setting the dinner table, for example, kids see that they are important and needed—both of which build their self-esteem. "Chores also help children develop a sense of responsibility," says Dr. Billingham, and they teach important skills like time management.

So how do you keep your family on track with household duties? Many experts recommend a daily or weekly chore chart. These charts help children remember what responsibilities need to be done, and they give an incentive to finish tasks—especially if you have a reward system in place. Keep reading for tips on implementing a successful chore chart for kids, with three free options to print at home.

Family Meeting Discussing Chores
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Setting Up a Chore Chart

There are oodles of chore charts online, and many of them can be overwhelmingly complicated or too specific and not flexible enough to fit your home, family, and lifestyle. A chore chart should be a simple, easy-to-understand chart that your kids can refer to when it is time for them to complete their tastes. That said, there are a few important things to keep in mind when choosing a chore chart to help keep your whole family on track.

Consider your child's age

Chores should increase in difficulty as your child ages. A preschooler's chart, for example, might include simple tasks like "brush teeth" and "clean up toys." A tween's chart could list "fold laundry," "rake leaves," "set the table," or "vacuum living room" as potential tasks. Make sure to adjust the charts regularly based on your child's abilities and schedule.

Give instructions

Whether your child is in preschool or high school, you should explain each task on their chore chart, making sure they can complete it independently. Also, realize that mistakes are inevitable, says Dr. Billingham, and patience is key. In the beginning, you may find yourself wanting to hover or micromanage, especially if you've been in charge of that particular chore for a long time, but try to resist that urge. Instead, let your kids make mistakes and learn from them.

Decide on rewards

Many experts suggest holding off on rewards until elementary school or later; younger children are often motivated by praise alone. When you do implement incentives, it's usually best to link payday to their overall weekly or monthly contribution, so your children won't expect bonus points every time they chip in. Some fun reward ideas could be:

  • Screen time
  • Pizza-making party
  • Spending money
  • An experience like visiting the zoo or the movies

Print the chore chart for kids

After printing the chore chart, hang it somewhere accessible, like the fridge or bulletin board. Kids can use the chart for reference throughout the day and mark tasks as completed with check marks, stickers, or whatever method you desire. Make sure you have fun stickers or bright marker colors for your kids to mark off the chores they complete.

Switch up the chores

To help curb boredom, try switching up the chores each week or month. To make it fun, have the family sit down and do chore swaps or think about adding a seasonal chore that is worth more points. By adding a little bit of novelty, you can make chore charts an interesting and even fun experience for your kids.

Turn chores into a game

If your kids are resisting their chores, try adding a sense of play to their responsibilities. For example, have your kids dust while dancing to music. Or slip on some old, thick socks and let your kids "mop" the floor. You can set a timer and see who can fold the fastest or sort the recycling. By turning chores into a fun game, kids are less likely to complain and may even like getting their tasks done!

Consider apps for older children

Downloadable chore charts work great for toddlers and school-age children, but tweens and teens might not respond to these "old-school" organization methods. Instead, parents can easily make digital chore charts with Cozi, a free app that syncs across your family's devices. Children can "check off" the tasks they complete on Cozi, and parents can track their progress virtually. Cozi has several other functions as well; for example, parents can create to-do lists and shopping lists, a shared family calendar, a database of recipes, and a family journal. The app helps your family stay organized despite everyone's busy schedule. Click here to learn more about Cozi. (Free; iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Android).

Printable Chore Charts for Kids

Teach kids how to handle responsibility with these three printable chore charts. Download the best option for your family, hang it somewhere accessible, and let the household duties begin!

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Family Chore Chart

Weekly Chore Chart Template for Kids

Fill in chores that are unique to your family in the available blank spaces. Mark them as completed with stickers, stars, or checkmarks. This chore chart helps families plan what should be done each day of the week, and it simplifies the process of tracking completion.

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Age-by-Age Chore Chart

Age-by-Age Chore Chart for Kids

Need help designating tasks? This chore chart breaks down age-appropriate responsibilities, with blank spaces to fill in tasks of your choice. Print one for each child and personalize it by adding their name, fun stickers, and fun reward at the end of the week.

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Easy Chore Chart Template

Colorful Chore Chart for Kids

This chore chart template contains instructions on how to organize a colorful system for different kids, which is especially handy if you don't want to print out multiple charts each week. You'll need supplies like a dry erase board, markers, sticky notes, and a ruler. This chart is easy to customize based on your family's preferences.

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