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Assigning and Charting Chores

Which Chores for Whom?

What types of participation should your child be asked for? It's really a matter of “know your child.“ A lot of books list tasks for kids and the ages the jobs become appropriate. I don't like to do that because kids vary so widely, in their development, skills, and interests.

This list of household tasks is here to get you thinking. Choose tasks that you (and your child) think are appropriate, both in terms of development and temperament. Remember, this is only a starting place:

Emptying wastepaper baskets Vacuuming family areas
Washing and folding laundry Organizing the bookshelves
Setting the table Organizing the videos and CDs
Clearing the table Cleaning the attic
Doing the dishes Cleaning the garage or storage shed
Loading and unloading the dishwasher or drain Clipping coupons
Straightening family areas Polishing doorknobs, railings, or silver
Dusting family areas Mopping floors
Cleaning toilets or sinks or showers Organizing the recycling
Caring for the pets (walking, grooming, feeding, cleaning cages) Taking out garbage
Exterior of house (windows, mowing, raking, gardening) Making a shopping list
Washing the car Shopping
Washing dishes Cooking meals

Charting the Chores

Parents rely on a variety of motivators and reminders to get their kids to do their chores. Some schedule the responsibilities on chore charts. Some paste gold stars on the calendar every time the child completes them. Some use a chip system-add a coin (or chip) to a jar every time a chore is done. When the jar is full, the child can trade the chips in for special treats. Use whatever works in your family.

No matter what method you choose, one thing is clear: Organization is key, and the bigger the family, the better the organization needs to be. If you are trying to set up a chore chart, you can use the example here as a model (notice that all the kids, even the little ones, are included):

Rotating Chore Chart For the week of ______
Who? What? By When?
Maria Take out all trash Tuesday evening before bed
Maria Set the table 5:25 P.M. every night
Maria Empty dishwasher Tuesday and Thursday after school
Tony Clean parakeet cage Tuesday evening before bed
Tony Clear table and load dishwasher After dinner every night
Tony Empty dishwasher Monday and Wednesday after school
Little Liz Help Mommy with the grocery shopping Wednesday afternoon
Little Liz Hold the parking lot ticket Every morning


You can trade in one of your jobs this week in exchange for:

  1. Ironing the pile of clean shirts in the laundry room, or
  2. Spot cleaning the carpet (ask Dad for the spot remover), or
  3. Cooking Sunday brunch and cleaning up! (Reminder: Grandma and the cousins are coming. This is a big job. Dad will be your assistant.)


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Well-Behaved Child © 1999 by Ericka Lutz. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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