Chore Chart

   I decided to pursue a dream of mine to become an author one year ago. As soon as I began to pull attention and energy away from my first dream, being a stay-at-home-mom, I disrupted our family dynamic. After writing about some of my early struggles in "My Galapagos. The Spacebar.", I realized my home was in desperate need of structure. In my never-ending quest to improve my mothering/home management skills and especially after reading Coach Mom by Brenna Stull, I decided it was time to start teaching my daughters the importance of contributing to the family, i.e. chores. Of course, the chore concept is only part of the bigger picture to create a sense of teamwork, pride in one's accomplishments, appreciation and respect for us parents, and the preservation of the last of mommy's sanity. Since Baby Girl was only two years old, I suspected her short attention span would prevent her from completing many tasks. But Little Girl was four. It was time. Then, my husband planned a trip to Disney World. Long story short, my first trip to Disney was when I was twenty. My fears of creating tiny, over-privileged, ungrateful monsters (pictured below) took over and lit a fire under me. It was time.

   First stop: Pinterest. I picked up several ideas from links to other blogs there and began shopping for supplies. This one was my favorite:

Purchase here on ETSY!

   I was originally attracted to the idea of teaching them how to count money along with completing their chores. In the end, I chickened out. We're not quite there yet. I modified the great example a bit and ended up spending way more money than if I just purchased it on ETSY. Go figure.  Luckily, I genuinely enjoy working with my hands. If you're not crafty, you can purchase a completed chore chart here on ETSY for only $27.00.  If you are a bit crafty but are concerned you'll never finish, cover a dollar store cookie sheet with chalkboard (or your choice of color) paint, poke two holes with a hammer and nail, thread some ribbon through, add names with chalk or letter stickers, and buy chore magnets here for $10.50.

Read more great tips here!

   If, like me, you enjoy creating things then I hope you have as much fun as I did. Here is what I came up with:

   I have two children so the two frames on the left are for chores they finished. Right before bed we talk about which tasks they completed throughout the day. Most times they get inspired to earn more money and, at the last minute, they'll quickly put away the last of the toys or brush their teeth notably longer. Then they take each magnet from the bank of choices on the far right, stick them to their respective boards, and we count them up. I will eventually personalize them with little name letters, but we need Baby Girl to exit this destructive phase first.  Since we don't go over our contribution chart every night, I allow one quarter per chore. The girls love checking their progress receiving rewards for their hard work and planning how they will spend their earnings.  And I adore any and all help around the house! Win, win.

   As I mentioned earlier, my husband planned a week long trip to Disney World with our four and two year old daughters, which spurred my need for accountability in our home.  Luckily enough for my girls they were able to cash in their chore chart earnings for Disney Dollars!  I explained that these are magical dollars that are only accepted in Disney World.  They were also told the only money they could spend on things in the park would be Disney Dollars. These are the Disney Dollars we used.  Click here for a link to the free printable!
Here is a quick step-by-step for this DIY Chore Chart:

  1. Go shopping.  I ended up choosing these frames for my surfaces from Hobby Lobby. They need touching up from banging around the clearance section. Although, I'm sure my girls will add their own dents and scrapes too. Buying frames took the guessing out of how I would hang the charts since they come with hardware already attached. I bought two bags of small wooden discs for the chore magnets. These are available at any craft store and are super cheap.  I chose one paint color for the background but it might have made more sense to give each child their own color.   For the actual chore symbols, I wandered into the scrapbook sticker section. That's where I spent the most money.  Try and hit a sale if you can. And don't forget the actual magnets.  I bought the magnetic tape that can be cut with scissors. It has held up pretty well. For the sheet metal, I bought a small roll at the hardware store. While there, I realized how sharp the edges are and grabbed some jute to cover them.
  2. While using gloves, I trimmed the sheet metal to size with a regular scissors and tried gluing it to the fabric mat of the frames with rubber cement. It didn't work. I found an old tube of that heavy-duty Goop glue (also from the hardware store) and it worked like a charm.  I laid a few thick books on top and let it sit overnight.
  3. Next, I used the hot glue gun to cover the sharp edges of the sheet metal with jute. I think it's a cute way to keep my children's precious little fingers safe.
  4. Then I painted one side of all the wooden discs and let them dry overnight.
  5. The following day I attached the magnets on the back of the wooden discs. Again, I laid thick books on top and let them sit overnight. I should have used Goop then because every once and a while I have to glue a magnet back onto a disc.
  6. Once the discs were ready, I pressed and/or glued on the scrapbook stickers.  (I think we'll be ready for name stickers soon. I knew if I put them on a few months ago Baby Girl would've ripped them right off. But she's been pretty gentle with the magnets lately.)
  7. Finally, I hung them on the wall in our mudroom.  We pass them many times a day coming to and from the car in the garage, so they're in the perfect spot.  Just make sure you hang them low enough so they can reach.


Here is an explanation of each chore I selected for preschool ages from top to bottom:
  • eat fruits and vegetables; can also be used for tried a new food
  • took all their medicine without a fuss or remembered to take multi-vitamin
  • had a "happy heart" when we left somewhere fun (explanation in Coach Mom)
  • brushed hair, brushed and flossed teeth, took a bath
  • put dirty clothes in hamper, helped put clean clothes away
  • exercised, played outside
  • helped cook in the kitchen
  • put toys back in their place

  • walked and/or fed the dog
  • helped water the flowerbeds
  • worked on homework, learning the alphabet or numbers, etc.
  • either set the table or helped put clean dishes away (mostly just the silverware- it's easy to match them with their slots in the drawer)

   I also like the strategy to reward your well-behaved, obedient children with fun activities and outings instead of money. I couldn't find these balls anywhere or I might have done this with the chore chart!  The mom from NieNie Dialogues actually labeled each ball with a chore.  This might be a better idea than a chart altogether.
Click here for more about "Job Balls"!

   I know I'm still new at this "mommy" business.  My oldest is about to turn five.  However, I have learned a few tricks of the trade when it comes to discipline I'd like to share.  I have two diagnosed, classic cases of strong-willed children.  Sometimes I need a few more tricks up my sleeve than just Love and Logic mixed with my own neurosis.  I mentioned rewarding "happy hearts" earlier (which honestly never fails, and we use it all the time) but I liked this warm fuzzy system too! 

For more details, click here!
   When either of the girls makes a large gesture of kindness, such as makes the other's bed and lays out all her stuffed animals, or offers up an obviously coveted toy with grace, I add a warm fuzzy to her bank of money earned from chores.  She can cash this in for a small, special treat for ice cream or a new headband, etc.  A teacher, from A Love for Teaching, uses this technique in her classroom.  I like it for home use as well.

   The "Mommy Ransom Box" is also turning out to be a new favorite of mine.  Anytime the girls are being particularly sassy and/or rebellious about respecting a new toy, or not putting things away properly, or even as punishment for trying to scratch one another's eyes out, I pull the "Mommy Box" card.  If they aren't following the rules or have blatantly disobeyed, then one or more of their beloved toys goes in the box.  Then I hold it as ransom until they choose a chore to bail their lovey out.  Works like a charm.  Thank you to Just Another Day in Paradise for the great idea and free chore printables.

Click here for the free printable!

   While they are toddlers, little things like the "Calm Down/Mind Jar" to learn coping mechanisms and even a kitchen timer at the park to instill limits can be helpful.  However, I know the worst is yet to come!

Click here for the fantastic Calm Down Jar instructions!
We have used this many times!

   I plan on adding these to my arsenal as they enter the horrifyingly hormonal tween/teen years:

Click here for more details!
   What's that?  You're bored?  Well, then grab a slip of paper from the mysterious "Bored Jar".  You could choose a dreadful chore or you might even get assigned to something fun!  Or don't ever tell me you're bored in the first place!

   Speaking of bored, do you have siblings fighting over the laptop, iPad, or Wii?  Do you have some mommy guilt from letting your children watch too much TV?  Ration out "Technology Tickets" for the kids each week and skip all the negotiating.

Visit here to learn more!

   Last but not least, I am in love with the following version of Mommy Ransom for older children:

I believe this is the original photo source here.


  1. I love this post! My boys will love this and I will love crafting it together :). Thanks for pulling together several ideas and unveiling your thought process! xoxo

    1. Thank you for reading, Catherine! I hope y'all get lots of use of your chore chart! ;]