Control the Clutter with a Chore Chart for Kids
Do you have young children and sometimes feel like your house is chronically cluttered and disorganized? Let’s ask that question another way: Are you human?
Shoes, backpacks, water bottles, hairbands, toy cars, socks, books, crayons, games… you name it. If you’ve got it, chances are it spends a lot of time on your floors, counters, or (worst of all) stairs.
The first step to an organized home is to get rid of—or put into storage—items that you no longer use daily. That’s a big job. Happily, you have free labor (if you don’t count the cost of ice cream) just begging to be kicked off their devices and put to work. With summer vacation upon us, your kids are going to have endless free time. Here’s how to motivate the troops.
How to Make a Chore Chart for Kids
If you’ve been a parent for longer than two minutes, you already know you won’t get great results if you gently (and only once) ask your children to please clean up the playroom and put all their things away. You may as well be asking them to do your taxes.
In general, children will be more inclined to do something when you present options to them. If you break the work down into bite-sized, manageable tasks and present the information in a fun way—with incentives—you’ve got yourself a chore chart. The options are endless, really. You could start with a large poster board and some colorful sharpies. Label the chart something catchy, like: “Emma and Noah Will Clean for Ice Cream.”
Then, make a checklist of tasks that take no longer than 10 to 15 minutes each. If your goal is to get the playroom organized, it might include steps like:
- Take all books off shelves
- Wipe shelves clean
- Separate books into two piles—keep and purge
- Box the books we’re getting rid of and put the rest back on shelves
- Pick up toys and put them into a basket
- Put Legos back into a tub/box
There’s actually a term for this; it’s called “chunking,” and it builds executive function, but more importantly it gets your house clean! Before you know it, you’ll have five boxes ready for Goodwill or your next garage sale. The incentives are up to you. You could assign each small task a small monetary amount. Or you could say that every time five tasks are done, you’ll go to a favorite playground or have a family movie night.
You could, of course, also use a chore chart for more routine tasks like making beds, unloading dishwashers, cleaning the hamster cage, etc. And don’t worry if you’re not the creative type, that’s what Pinterest is for. There are also a few options online where you can buy a premade kids chore chart that comes with toys, kind of like an advent calendar.
Aside from making your life a little easier, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, there are a lot of benefits from adding chores to your child’s routine as early as three-years-old. To name a few; learning time-management skills, developing organizational skills, accepting responsibility in the family, building self-esteem, and setting a good foundation for functioning independently.
Kids Chore Charts Through the Ages?
Obviously, you’ll want to adjust your expectations, and your incentives, depending on the age of your children and depending on what they enjoy – everyone’s different.
What Are Good Chores for a 10-Year-Old?
If they’re in middle school, or nearing the end of elementary, for example, they could plan and hold a garage sale themselves—or even list items for sale on eBay. You could even work out a deal where they get a cut of the profits. Another good idea for older kids is to motivate them with screen time. Lots of older kids love playing Minecraft or watching silly YouTube videos – just like I did when I was younger.
What Are Good Chores for a Three-Year-Old?
If your children are very young, your chore chart might just have pictures of things like brushing teeth, getting dressed, and putting shoes away. And the incentives for them can be small toys, a few pieces of candy, or a trip to the park. When I was young, the incentive that always worked on me was a trip to the local toy and science store where I would buy geodes to add to my rock collection. But as I mentioned before, every kid is different and will be motivated by their own interests and goals.
Stay Clutter-free With Self Storage
There are always times when it just doesn’t make sense to get rid of stuff. Maybe the baby swing and stroller are taking up too much room, but you plan to have another child. Or maybe you have family antiques that you know you’d like to use one day, but just don’t have the room for right now.
At times like those, it can make sense to consider renting a self storage unit. Check out our Self Storage Calculator to see what size you need and rent online today. We offer clean, well-lit storage units in a variety of sizes—all of which can be rented on a month-to-month basis. That way, you have everything you need when you need it and a clutter-free home to enjoy. If making a kids chore chart unearths lots of extra clutter, rent a storage unit online today, and take back the playroom!