Last year we implemented a new system for our summer chores using chore cards for kids and it’s been working great! Having a step-by-step cleaning card that explains what needs to be done in each room helped our children to be more independent and willing to help around the house. In this article, you’ll find out how we use chore cards and how you can get started.
Each year when summer approaches many busy parents are in a frenzy trying to figure out how to continue working full-time while their children are home.
Let the kids help with Chores!
When I took a look at my long to-do list I tried to find ways that I could enlist the help of my kiddos. One easy way was for them to chip in each day with household chores. There is absolutely no reason my 10 & 12-year-old can’t help out around the house more.
Teaching our kids to “See the need and do it.’
My mother-in-law has this great saying: “See the need and do it.“
- See a sock on the ground? Pick it up and put it away.
- Notice that the counter is messy? Take 1 minute and wipe it down.
- See that your sister is feeling really sad today, take the time to do something to bless her.
- See that your wife is absolutely overwhelmed, call and order some take-out.
It’s a great reminder that we are all capable of putting others first and it doesn’t have to cost us a thing. Being thoughtful and helpful usually only requires a few minutes of our time.
So yes, while they are still children, it is summer, and they want to have fun; they should also be expected to be helpful human beings. By having our children help with chores (yes, even cleaning the toilet-heck, it’s their mess too!) we are doing more than just teaching them how to clean.
We are instilling in them a sense of self-responsibility, respect for others, thoughtfulness, and good, strong work ethics. We are breaking down entitlement too!
Getting started using chore cards with your kids
Step 1. Edit your Chore Cards
These Chore Cards are now able to be customized easily. Simply open your file in Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free program). On my MacBook, I simply double-click on the file and it automatically opens in Apple’s Preview Program. I’m able to find the editable pages and simply type in my custom text.
The pages that can be edited are at the end of the file. There are several blank cards that you can customize.
Each editable line can only fit one single line of text so be sure to keep your instructions short.
Step 2. Print your cards
Once you have customized your cards you can print them out. I like to print mine and laminate them so they will last longer. I like to keep all of the cards clipped together using metal book rings.
Step 3. Teach Your Children how to do each step.
I had to take time to work with each child as they learned how to properly wipe down the counters, clean the toilets, and wash the floors. We worked in one room for several days in a row using that room’s chore card. We went step-by-step and worked hard to make sure the children really knew how to do each step on the cleaning card.
I had to show my 10-year-old the trick to putting fitted sheets on his bed and encourage my 12-year-old that putting away her brother’s shoes was an act of kindness, not a punishment. It took a few weeks but once they had an understanding of each step they were able to work more independently.
They really did pick up on this new system quickly.
Chore Cards Teach Children to Take Pride in Their Work
The children started to care more about the area that they just cleaned. They were much less likely to leave their stuff laying around and they reminded each other to clean up their stuff. Instead of finding toothpaste marks on the bathroom mirrors, I would often find smears of almost-wiped-off toothpaste on the mirrors (hey, at least they were trying to clean up after themselves.)
Let go of your expectations and be patient
The biggest challenge for me was letting go of my high expectations and letting them learn little-by-little. Yes, I still had to go behind them and clean up things they have missed, but this wasn’t a spring – I was in this for the marathon – the long haul. I was coaching them so that as they grew their skills improved more and more and they became more and more independent.
I remember waking up one summer morning. I went to bed not feeling well and woke up later than usual. I opened my bedroom door and went into the bathroom – I was startled to see my 10-year-old son kneeling on the counter washing the bathroom mirror (at 7:15 am!).
He took initiative and started doing his chores right after he woke up. He was learning to take his responsibilities seriously.
Customize Your Printable Chore Cards
There are several ways to customize your Chore Cards:
- Organize your Chore Cards By Room
- Create Individual Chore Cards for Each Child
- Create Daily Chore Cards
- For step-by-step Instructions.
- Make “mom’s choice” chores
1. Organize your chore cards by room.
I organized the chore cards by room. There is one card per room or area in our house. We live in a very modest townhouse so there aren’t many spaces to clean. You can start with just a few rooms and add more as your children become more confident.
We have a card for the foyer, living room, kitchen, bedroom, master bath, and half-bath. You may need more, depending on the size of your home. Because all houses are different I have a few sheets with different rooms printed, plus you’ll find a sheet of blank chore cards that you can print to make your own.
2. Create Individual Chore Cards for Each Child
These cards are also great if you want to create a checklist for each child or member of your household. This way each person can pick up their card and know exactly what needs to be done.
3. Create Daily Chore Cards
You may want to break up your chores by day. You can also create one card per day with a list of chores that need to be done on that specific day. This is
4. For step-by-step Instructions.
There are some cleaning tasks that are more detailed. For tasks like this, you might find it helpful to use these customizable chore cards to write out the step-by-step instructions to help you teach someone.
5. Make”mom’s choice” chores
These editable chore cards are especially useful if you have children at home that just need one or two tasks to do. Little ones might not be ready for a whole room, but it’s still great to include them and teach them how to help at a young age.
Another great use for the blank chore cards is to have a “Mom’s Choice” card. If you laminate the cards you can simply put “Mom’s Choice” at the top. You can then use a dry (or wet) erase marker to write down any chore that you would like them to do. Some ideas would be:
- Empty the kitchen garbage
- Vacuum the car
- Vacuum the stairs
- Water the plants
- Help with dinner
Get your Printable Chore Cards
Are you ready to have some help with the chores? Get your chore cards below and start small. Maybe introduce just one card this week and see how your children do. You might be surprised!
Once you complete the form below, your Printables will be emailed to you (double check your spam/promotions folder).