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By Request: What chores I assign to my kids

Yesterday, a bunch of you asked for more details about what my kids do for chores, and how I make their lists.

frugal girl chores

So, I’m here to oblige!

This year, our chore distribution is a bit different than before. Most notably, Joshua and Lisey are doing a little less work than they have in years past because they are gone sometimes at their jobs and classes.

This made chore-assigning a little bit complicated for me, but I put together a plan that seems to be working out ok so far.   I gave Joshua and Lisey a chore at each meal, knowing that they’d be gone sometimes.   When that happens, I just step in and cover that chore.

To make the lists, I create a document in Microsoft Word, add a simple line border, type in the chores, and print it on heavy duty paper.

DIY chore chart border

The screen in Word where you add a border

Easy and quick!

If I had a laminator, this would be a great time to use it.   But I don’t have one, and the plain heavy duty paper holds up just fine until I make new lists the next year.

So, on to the nitty-gritty:

My kids all have chores at meals to help keep the kitchen/dining room clean, and to help with meal cleanup.

DIY meal chores list(click the photo to see a larger version)

To keep things simple, the meal chores do not switch from day to day.   I assign the chores and they stay that way for a year.

Boring? Yes.   But it’s simple!

Since I switch the chores up each year, and since the chores vary from meal to meal (no one sweeps at all three meals), my kids learn how to do all the kitchen tasks eventually.

kids chores

In addition to the meal chores, they also have another chore assigned for each day.   This is general cleaning stuff that helps keep the rest of the house from sliding into a super dirty state.

DIY daily chores list(click the photo to see a larger version)

And they are all also responsible for making their beds, washing, drying, folding, and putting away their laundry, vacuuming/dusting their bedrooms, and putting away things they get out.

We don’t pay our kids for these chores, as they’re all just basic things that need to be done to keep the household running.   We have always given them an allowance, but it’s not tied to specific chores…the allowance has been more of a tool to help them learn about money management.

(I’m totally not opposed to the idea of paying for chore help…it’s just not what we’ve chosen to do.)

sonia loading dishwasher

However you go about it, I do think it’s really important for kids to do chores.   There seem to be an awful lot of teens/young adults out there who don’t know how to do basic things like laundry or dishes or bathroom cleaning*, and that’s not how I want my kids to be.

*To wit, when Lisey started her job at the ice cream shop, her boss asked if she knew how to clean a bathroom. Apparently there are a lot of teenage applicants who don’t know how.

Plus, there is the simple fact that it’s easier to run a household when everyone pitches in (at least, once the training period is over! In the beginning, it’s harder to have kids help.).

zoe sweeping

And to add to that, I think it’s good to teach kids to feel the weight of the messes they make. It’s tough to experience that if you have someone else cleaning up after you all the time.

If you never do the dishes, you’ll think nothing of grabbing a new glass every time you’re thirsty.

If you never clean the mirror, you won’t care if you spatter toothpaste on the mirror.

If you never do the laundry, you’ll wear a shirt for half a day and then throw it into the hamper.

So, yeah. I’m a big fan of giving chores to my kids, largely because I care about them and want to do what’s good for them. 😉


I hope this answers the questions you guys had. But if you have more questions, give me a holler in the comments and I’ll make sure to answer.

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Samantha Green

Friday 26th of June 2020

I totally agree with you, Kristen, "(I’m totally not opposed to the idea of paying for chore help…it’s just not what we’ve chosen to do.) Parents have different strategies on how they will discipline their kids. For me giving them allowance as a reward is fine. This will help them on how to manage their money at the same time to be responsible. I also like your idea on how you assigned the household chores for your kids.


Friday 2nd of September 2016

Thanks for sharing this! I also have many kids (5), and have struggled to find a concise but effective method of assigning chores, so this is great. One really basic question: how do you frugally wipe down bathrooms, appliances, counters, etc? Do you use a commercial cleaning spray? Vinegar? Towels or other type of cleaning cloth?


Friday 2nd of September 2016

We use sponges, washcloths, and old t-shirt rags instead of paper towels.

For spray, we sometimes use a Shaklee spray from concentrate, or Method, which we get from epantry.


Thursday 25th of August 2016

I love how organized this is.

We kind of do the same thing, except that the charts are with pictures and stickers since the kids can't read yet.

I have a 4yo and a 6yo.

They are both in charge of : * doing their beds * brushing their teeth (we complete) * do their hair in the morning (we help as needed) * Put away their clean clothes (I make piles in front of their rooms, they fold and put away) and put the dirty ones in the washing bin * Put away their toys (I put all in a big bin and they have to empty the bin a couple times a week) * Feed the fish (with reminders) * Put their stuff on the counter after meals * Wash themselves in the bath/shower (we still help with hair washing) * Keep their room tidy * The oldest had to "unload" her school bag and lunch bag when she comes back from school. She also started to swipe the floor under the table, after dinner, but this stopped. I'll have to reinforce it. And she know that she's in charge of school stuff, meaning that if the teacher is asking to bring something tommorow we will tell her once (ok, maybe twice) and then it's up to her to do it right away because if she forget then it's on her.

All of this comes with (sometime multiples!) reminders, and the 4yo is better at it than the 6yo...

They do receive weekly allowance (1,00$ for the 4 yo, 1,50$ for the 6yo), but it's not tied to chores, as I don't believe in retributions for doing their parts.

I will make them totally independent before they leave our house, you can bet on it!


Wednesday 24th of August 2016

An old boss of mine sent his daughter to college without any knowledge of doing laundry, cooking without a microwave and no idea of how to balance a checking account. I asked him why he was setting her up to fail basic skills of life in her freshmen year. And he was upset when she asked later if the "maid" could be flown out to the dorm and do her laundry. The earlier that someone learns these skills, the easier it will be for them in later years.

Linda Sand

Wednesday 24th of August 2016

We did chores because we were part of the family. We got allowances because we were part of the family. This included Mom & Dad. After all, they were part of the family. It's just as good for adults as it for for kids to have their own money to spend or save as they choose.

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