Chore Assignment Methods to Set Up for Your Family

Chore Charts, Box System, Lists, and More

Twin boys passing cutlery while washing dishes
Smith Collection/Taxi/Getty Images

If your house is messy or you are tired doing all the work around the house, then it might be time to corral the troops and get your child or children to become helpers who can contribute their fair share around your home.

In order to make that happen, you might want to find a way to organize the chore assignments for each individual including younger children and teenagers. Chore charts can actually be very effective at keeping track of responsibilities and tracking rewards and penalties. You do not need to reinvent the wheel to have a successful chore chart or chore organizing method. Even the most simple systems can help our children be more responsible for their chores.

You can try a variety of methods until you find the best one for your home. The main goals with a chore chart are for you to have a neater home, teach responsibility, and have your family gain cleaning skills.

Free Printable Chore Charts

There are many chore charts that will allow you to customize the number of squares, graphics, and text. These chore charts are simple and easy to use, cost-effective, easy to personalize, and easy to post up. Some disadvantages are that these charts are usually printed on paper and are not indestructible and long-lasting. They may not be ideal for non-reading children.

Here is a great selection of free printable chore charts:

Box System

The box system of chore assignments uses index cards and recipe boxes similar to the SHE system for sidetracked home executives. Parents set up the cards for their children. Kids check the cards daily and execute the chores or activities. The pros of this system are that it is specific, fairly easy to set up, promotes responsibility, and it can help organize more than just chores. Some downfalls are that it requires more effort to maintain and it is not suited for young children.

Shoe Organizer

You can set up a chore organization system using an over-the-door pocket shoe organizer and index cards written out with a chore name. Give each person their own labeled row on the shoe organizer. Label the four vertical columns of the organizer: chores, activities, extra credit, and completed. Place the tasks in the appropriate slots, and allow the kids to move their completed cards to the final spot on your chore chart.

Unlike the other systems, this system can be used with small children by using picture cards. It can be used with older children, too. Another plus, it can be hidden from view behind a door. Unfortunately, this system does take some time to set up and may not be the most personalized of systems.

Lists

The traditional idea of making a list of things to do for everyone in the house may not be flashy and can seem boring, but it is also extremely simple to set up and is inexpensive. On a single sheet of paper, list everyone and their chores for the week. Post on the refrigerator or another suitable location. People can initial, cross off, or otherwise indicate when they have completed their chores. The major disadvantage here is that, unless you are drawing pictograms for the chores, it is not a good system for younger children to use effectively.

Flowers in the Flower Pot

The "Flowers in the Flower Pot" system is a nice, visual way for children—young and old—to manage their chores. Get a flower pot, get a foam base or some other substrate, like rice, dirt, or marbles, and create "flowers" on a stick (real sticks from outside, chopsticks, or popsicle sticks). On the flower head have a name or a picture of the chore. The objective is for each child to fill their flower pot with flowers every day. This idea can be modified to whatever theme you can imagine like, for example, bees in a beehive, vegetables in a basket, fish in a tank, or birds in a cage.

This method is low maintenance but does require some time to set up and at an expense. The setup, as a craft activity, gets the child involved in establishing the chore system. This may positively affect buy-in from the child.