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Chore charts for multiple children

Time for an oldie but goodie!….

Julie is back again!! Remember these FAB posts:

3 tricks to take the work out of housework

What every organized household should have

Today she is teaching us about the most anticipated subject…chores!  We finally get to find out how to put those metal squares to use helping our kids learn to work!  Thanks, Julie…


“Happy, well adjusted, self sufficient, gracious, competent, and helpful; are these some of the attributes you would like to use when describing your children?  How do we turn this wishful thinking into reality?  These questions and others like it, plague me and many other moms.  In order to help foster these desirable qualities we need to go back to basics, good old work.   “We often miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”  Thomas A. Edison.   This quote has a double meaning as it applies to teaching our kids to work.  First, we don’t want our kids to miss out on wonderful opportunities because they are unwilling or unable to work for them.   Second, training our kids to work, sometimes can seem like more work for moms than it is worth, but we really can’t let the opportunity pass us by.  I often hear moms say, “It is just easier for me to do it myself.”  This is the stone cold truth, if the issue was just getting the job done.   But the larger picture is what we must keep in mind.  Training our kids to be productive, contributing adults is the end goal.  Regular chores and work as a family is the means to that end.

chore-chart-for-multiple-children But how do we accomplish this worthy goal?  I believe the answer lies in a balance between structure and variety.  Experts say that kids thrive in a structured environment.  The paradox is that kids also get bored easily.  My mother grew up in the 60’s.  She cleaned the bathroom every week for 10 years, and guess what?  She hates cleaning bathrooms.  My two older sons loaded and unloaded the dishwasher daily for 5 years, until they were sick of it.  Without variety, we run the risk of our kids hating chores (work) and we also deprive them of learning skills associated with doing a variety of household duties.  Don’t get depressed if you have tried multiple systems and they have all fizzled out.  To keep it interesting, we must change up the system when it gets boring or stale.  In our home, we have tried dozens of ideas for handling chores.   My older kids cynically jest with each other, “I wonder how long this one’s going to last.”  But the fact is, they have been doing some type of regular chores for their whole life.  So really I have the last laugh.


We are currently using a system that is working very well.  We stick to a routine for when and how we accomplish our daily chores, but rotate specific jobs weekly to keep it fresh.  Bear in mind, that I have four sons ranging from 5-13.  We are at a great stage in life where everyone can contribute.  The kids rotate through all the jobs.  I just help the 5 year old a bit.  This eliminates any complaining about whose jobs are harder.  Kids as young as three could easily do a modified version of these routines, and I say it’s never too early to get started.  Your most eager helpers are the youngest.


My kids have a morning, afternoon, and evening routine.  These are on checklists posted on their metal squares (you can see in the picture.)  I love these magnet type charts because you can change it up easily by just adding lists, individual jobs or even notes.  The morning routine is the same every day and includes their hygiene check off list, (boys will not shower, snip their fingernails, or brush their teeth unless instructed to do so) and bedroom responsibilities.  After school, along with homework, and practicing instruments, they put away any clean laundry from the day.  The evening routine is where we use our old fashioned chore wheel.

Chore Chart for Multiple Children


This great chore chart was a product of the 70’s and still works great today.  We use a four tiered chart: 1-Name of kid, 2-kitchen chore, 3- bathroom chore, 4- room of responsibility or ROR.  Having four kids makes it easy, but I won’t bore you with the merits of having four kids.  If you have one to three kids you can add mom and/or dad to the wheel.   If you have five plus kids doing chores, good for you! More helpers means less work for you and dad.   You may actually have a hard time coming up with enough chores.  In this case, you can assign the job of Sheriff.  This was a coveted job in my home, growing up with five siblings.  The Sheriff inspects the other jobs and makes sure the quality is up to snuff.

We keep the same chores all week and rotate the wheel on Sunday.  After dinner before anyone is excused, we do the kitchen chores: everyone clears their own plate, rinses and stacks them in the right hand sink.  The kitchen jobs are 1. load, 2. clear & wipe countertops, 3. sweep  4. unload.  Dad takes out the kitchen trash.   This system ensures that the kitchen is always presentable and sanitary.   Then before bed, the kids do a bathroom job 1. Wipe down toilet exterior, swish bowl 2. Wipe down countertop, sink and mirror. 3. Disinfect floor and wipe down 4. Spray and rinse shower and tub.  And they also do an inspection of their ROR, putting  away anything out of place, 1. Living room 2. TV room 3. Downstairs Bathroom 4. Stairs and hallways.  On Saturday, they do a full scrub job on their bathroom job and dust and vacuum their ROR (obviously I vacuum for the 5 year old.)  When they are out of school, I give more detailed jobs in their ROR.  You can also use the detail jobs for penalties for infractions.


Infractions are like little citations for all those bad habits you would like your kids/husband to break.  For example, leaving out coats, shoes, backpacks, towels on floor, toothbrush on countertop, not cleaning up the kitchen after a snack, or if they don’t do a chore, or do a poor job.  The penalty for infractions must sting a little bit, so find out what really motivates your kids.  At our house it’s allowance money, and privileges.  The consequence is to pay 50 cents per infraction or forfeit an hour of video game time.  I give them 10 minutes to correct the mistake before I fine them.  They are pretty good about getting on it because if they don’t do it right away sometimes they forget and when the timer goes off, it’s too late.  We keep infraction cards in a recipe file box in the kitchen.  For the readers out there, this whole concept is detailed in Pam Young & Peggy Jones book “Get Your Act Together.”  The reason I love this system is that it eliminates nagging, or yelling on the part of mom.  If you end up doing the job, you aren’t angry about it because it seems like you are in control.

If you are serious, or even just curious about training your kids to be high functioning adults, I highly recommend the book “Parenting Breakthrough” by Merillee Boyack.  She developed a grand plan, a list of tasks kids should be able to perform at certain ages as well as detailed instructions for how to train kids to do each job.  Even if you aren’t a reader, this book is a great resource to have in your home.

I am terribly long winded about this topic, but for those of you still hanging with me, here is your take away:  It really doesn’t matter how you go about setting up a chore system for your family.  What is important is that you start something, and do it now.  Don’t wait around trying to find the perfect idea, or procrastinate by making cutesy frou-frou charts (or even reading umpteen parenting books).  Don’t get discouraged when something you try doesn’t work.  Grab your whip, get back on the horse and get those kids working.  They’ll thank you for it someday.”

I Love it!  I am cracking out the excel spreadsheet of responsibilities…the kids will be so excited when they get home from school:)  Thanks again Julie for your inspiring ideas!

If you need more ideas check out these posts:

How Does She get her kids to do chores

Chore chart for multiple children

chore charts for multiple children

    1. February 24th, 2011 at 9:11 am
      Alison says:
      Julie that is awesome! Thank you for helping us keep...get things organized!
    2. February 24th, 2011 at 9:58 am
      Jen says:
      Great idea to switch things up for kids. My kiddos do "Daily Jobs" and they have "Weekly Jobs" on Saturday. They are expected to show up ready to work at 9:00 :) However, they are getting a bit bored with their routine...I didn't think about having them rotate jobs. Thanks!
    3. February 24th, 2011 at 1:27 pm
      Crystal says:
      What a great idea!! I have 2 boys (5 & 2) and they are IN NEED of some responsibility in our house. I think I may have to break something like this out. Love this site! Thank you ladies for all you do.
    4. February 24th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
      Leslie says:
      What about those of us who only have one child? I can't find a chore chart or guide anywhere for a single child home. Not everyone has that many children which makes it harder to adapt these types of charts to single child families. I would love to see a chart example/tutorial for that.
      • February 24th, 2011 at 5:14 pm
        Missy says:
        Julie mentioned adding you and dad to the wheel - then you'll have three! You could try that:)
      • February 24th, 2011 at 5:48 pm
        Tara says:
        Here's a cute one! I based my kids' chore chart on it.
        Hope that helps!
        • February 11th, 2013 at 11:07 pm
          Tara @ Suburble says:
          I just did single-child "Responsibility Charts" (to zap the word "chore" out of there!), if you'd like to take a peek:

          I love these ideas, especially the wheel! I may have to tackle that one!
    5. February 24th, 2011 at 5:45 pm
      Tara says:
      This post came at the perfect time! I just designed a tin chore chart for my kids with bottle cap magnets with their chores on them. My kids have been doing chores since they were each 5 yrs. old (now 12, 10, and 8) but it's time to mix things up a little since they've been, shall we say, a little unmotivated lately. :) Anyway, your post just gave me tons of ideas and I'm thrilled! Thanks so much! I've loved all of Julie's posts. Please beg her to share more! ;)
      • February 24th, 2011 at 5:52 pm
        Tara says:
        Sorry, forgot to mention that I just downloaded Merrilee's book (per Julie's suggestion) to my Kindle and it had me laughing by the 2nd page. I can't wait until I have time later tonight to read more.
    6. February 24th, 2011 at 6:04 pm
      Janelle says:
      I have never done chore charts, because I'm not a linear person, and honestly, with 5 kids, I can't track it with stickers, etc on a consistent basis. BUT I LOVE the responsibility wheel!! I could do that - and I think the kids would like it too. I actually often find them offering to do each others' chores because they get bored & sick of their own. Also, thanks for the references on the books. Out of all the blogs I track, this post may be the most usefully inspiring in a LONG while.
    7. February 24th, 2011 at 11:43 pm
      Lynette says:
      In a house with more than 2 kids - it's NECESSARY to teach your kids how to help out with the household! There is so much MORE work that needs to be done when you keep adding people to the household - that simply a Mom will exhaust herself, just trying to do the work. That's the argument I use AGAINST the idea that teaching them how to do things is more work, and we can simply do it faster! When I'm teaching my kids (my oldest right now is 8 and learning how to wash dishes! Oy vay!) if it's been a hard day, or I'm stressed, or just in a hurry to get out the door - I might skip that time having her do the dishes, and instead do them myself. Then later that afternoon, I simply start again with her picking back up and working again on learning that chore. I now watch my 4.5 yr old folding towels, and 5 months ago when she started doing them, it was difficult for her to do it, or even remotely do it right (as in lining up edges to fold them - we're talking hand towels!) And today she was able to do a whole basket of them by herself and even put them away without her big sister's help (who is just thrilled that she doesn't have to do all of the folding by herself any more! Just wait until little sister is helping to fold clothes along with big sister and not just helping to put away her own clothes!) Everything with our kids is a process, but it's so important - just for my sanity, and understanding- that we are all a family, we are in this together and we help each other out - including the kids who have their own chores to do! This is what I tell my daughter right now, every time she tells me "Well, I didn't play with it" or "I didn't pull it out!" Mommy doesn't eat all the food, but she certainly cooks it for everyone!

      Great post! My kids are 8,4,2,&1 right now - but my hopes in the future were to have something similar to your metal boxes up on the wall - but instead have their names laminated and just up on the wall and underneath each name a sheet protector hanging monthly chores (cause if you change it every week than you have to remember who's room is what each week, or who's chore!) I want to list the chores on a piece of paper and put it in the sheet protector so it could be rotated, so we all learn different chores and there is no boredom that sets in from doing the same chore year after year (my brother STILL hates to dry dishes - his job growing up - and I hated washing for a long time, though as a Mom and being forced to do them all the time I've kinda grown out of that (kinda....)
      Love the idea of having them do one aspect of the room each night before going to bed though! Great way to have something being cleaned in each room regularly! Will have to think about my sheet portected chores list and just how I'd like to accompolsih it! Thanks!
    8. February 25th, 2011 at 4:02 pm
      Jill says:
      LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!! With my 4 kids, I have tried lots of different kinds of chore charts, and I find that the breakdown happens in me. The kids are willing to help, but I forget to use the tools that work. I love the wheel and I love the idea of incorporating routines into it. And I like the infraction idea with the 10 minute grace period.
      Thank you for your great ideas! I feel more motivated!!!
    9. February 28th, 2011 at 1:35 pm
      Tricia Richner says:
      Great post. Could use more information such as this one.
    10. February 28th, 2011 at 6:13 pm
      Crystal says:
      Thank you so much for this post! I have six kids and it is always a challenge to keep things moving in the chore area. We have tried many things and changing things up for them is valuable. I love the rotating chart. We will be using that. And I love the references you offered. I will be checking them out! Thanks, again!
    11. February 28th, 2011 at 10:49 pm
      Bill at FamZoo says:
      Love the points you make about mixing it up and I particularly like the chore wheel and infraction cards - great ideas!

      Have you seen chore dice before. Fun idea too. Saw them here:

    12. March 1st, 2011 at 3:45 pm
      Rebecca says:
      I have to point out that something very important is missing from this post. Especially with Infractions. Kids will act up if they under the thumb too much and only penalized - Where is the reward system to balance that out?
      I have 4 children (3 in 3 years) and I had 6 siblings growing up and we did not receive an allowance, my kids don't either. I don't think they should be paid for helping the family. But we were rewarded for good behavior- doing chores with a happy face gets a point towards an award etc. the points go towards a goal, movie night etc. that way I am not punishing them all the time- there has to be a balance.
    13. March 1st, 2011 at 5:55 pm
      Jamie says:
      I love this post! Can you tell me how you made those metal signs with the kids names? I love love love them!
    14. March 3rd, 2011 at 7:18 am
      Tmfriz says:
      Julie's posts are great, very detailed info, balanced & easy to understand. I wish she was a permanent contributor!
    15. March 3rd, 2011 at 7:52 am
      Pam says:
      Wow lots of work for you. How do you keep that up. I would think it would be easier for you to just do the chores yourself instead of keeping up these charts!!!
      • January 15th, 2013 at 8:16 am
        Jujubee says:
        How do you teach your kids accountability and responsibility if you do all of the work yourself & don't give them chores? It may be work to keep it up but it's a good way to keep them focused on what needs to be done.
    16. March 4th, 2011 at 11:33 pm
      Rose says:
      I love the chore chart for multiple children!

      We have a "Confiscation Box" that anything left out of place gets put into. The owner than has to do a chore from the job jar to get it back. My kids love to catch me forgetting to put something away and putting it in the box for me to buy back with a chore. But it has helped so much with reducing random clutter.
    17. March 4th, 2011 at 11:34 pm
      Rose says:
      I love the chore chart for multiple children!

      We have a "Confiscation Box" that anything left out of place gets put into. The owner than has to do a chore from the job jar to get it back. My kids love to catch me forgetting to put something away and putting it in the box for me to buy back with a chore. But it has helped so much with reducing random clutter.
    18. March 7th, 2011 at 3:02 pm
      Kathy says:
      Am I the only one that doesn't understand how to rotate the 4 tiered wheel? I LOVE all of these ideas and want to make it work for my family, like, today! Do you just rotate the name wheel and the chores stay grouped together just the way they are? Do you rotate one chore wheel each week? Am I making this too complicated?
      • July 8th, 2014 at 6:02 am
        April says:
        No, I don't get it either. :(

        If I had to guess, maybe every other layer turns the opposite way? So the names rotate one place to the left, the next layer to the right, the next layer to the left, and the final layer to the right. Maybe??? I don't know.

        Does anyone else know?
    19. March 9th, 2011 at 3:33 pm
      Rachel says:
      With four kids the "Wheel" worked well for 6 years. We turned it weekly, but what I noticed was the kids weren't owning their chores. They even slacked off on the harder jobs hoping the next person would cover their laziness. They needed a longer amount of time at the job, but no so long that they would become discouraged.
      July 1st of last year we made four responsibility sheets that rotate every SIX months. The areas of responsibility are four basics: bathrooms, floors/garbage, laundry and kitchen. The kids are 16-11, so they can handle larger assignments.
      After our first changeover, I am thrilled with the results! It seems the time is long enough for them to develop habits of cleanliness and see a light at the end of the tunnel. Saturday morning chores are easier, because everyone knows exactly what they need to get done in the morning. And by the time they relinquish their position, they are capable of teaching the next person how to do it.
      It won't be long before my oldest leaves for college. I have great peace of mind knowing that no one else will have to teach him how to keep the bathroom clean, sweep the floors, do the dishes and wash his own clothes!
    20. April 11th, 2011 at 1:11 pm
      Sharilee says:
      The best chore plan that we have ever used goes like this:

      I divided our home into zones, one per child. We have the Family Room, Living Room, Misc, Bathrooms and Outside zones. I printed out a list of what jobs have to be done each day for each zone, including a dinner-time chore (help mom, set table, clear table, wipe table, sweep under table and push in chairs) on a half-sheet of bright cardstock . Each child is responsible for their zone and has to "police" it at all times. This saves my husband and I from having to bug kids to pick up their shoes, backpacks, etc. because they remind each other.

      For each child, I cut a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet protector in half and wrote their name on it with permanent ink using a cute alphabet stencil (you could use vinyl letters). I mounted these on the side of our fridge with heavy duty tape with the cut end on the right side. The zone chore cards go in the sheet protectors and each week, I switch them out so chore boredom doesn't set in. It is so easy to ask, "How does your zone look?" The kids take pride in a zone well kept.
    21. June 23rd, 2011 at 11:50 pm
      Angela says:
      Hi Julie!!! I loved this post so much that I passed it on in my own blog. I hope you don't mind! I provided plenty of link-backs for you. I have tried all kinds of systems but yours is the most attractive and functional I have seen. Bravo!!


      Here's where the post is:
    22. August 10th, 2011 at 9:26 am
      Alysa says:
      I love this idea. I can not find the metal sheets. Please email me. Thanks for always sharing.
      • August 23rd, 2011 at 10:55 am
        Missy says:
        Home Depot and Lowe's have them, just have them cut it to the size you want.
        • February 11th, 2014 at 1:03 pm
          Misty says:
          Hello, Missy. I'm working on a similar chart for my kids. I love this! I went to Home Depot and didn't have any luck finding the metal sheets. Is it just galvanized steel? Do they have a particular name?

          Thanks so much!
          • February 12th, 2014 at 11:44 am
            Missy says:
            shoot! I don't know what it was called...maybe show an employee a pic of it on your phone or something and see if they can direct you?? I just told the employee what I was looking for and they took me to it...I didn't think to check what it was called...sorry.
    23. August 11th, 2011 at 1:14 pm
      simply heidi says:
      Love this! Found via Pinterest.
      I'm doing a series on kids and chores. Tomorrow I'm having a link up about chore charts and systems. Would you consider linking this up?
      Email me if you want more info.
    24. January 17th, 2012 at 2:50 pm
      Therese says:
      As a mommy of seven, I find my time quite scarce. I am so glad I came across your website!! I will certainly be using these suggested tools and techniques in my own home. Although we are on a strict schedule, I often find things to be "all over the place". The ideas are wonderful. Thanks for sharing! :)
    25. January 25th, 2012 at 3:39 pm
      Janice says:
      I really like this post. I'm trying to get things together in my house right now. I homeschool too, so it's a little more challenging get things together. Add to the fact that I have a 7 year old, a 2 year old, and a 5.5 months old - well, it's very hard not to end up doing chores all day long! Any suggestions?
    26. September 15th, 2012 at 9:01 am
      Katherine Leibforth says:
      How do you make, or where did you buy, the changeable magnetic responsibility charts?
      • September 17th, 2012 at 11:24 am
        Missy says:
        They are just pieces of metal with holes drilled for the ribbon for the back. Then for the magnets, you can just print from your computer what you want and then laminate and put flat magnets on the back. Super simple! Have fun!
    27. November 13th, 2012 at 10:55 am
      Tabitha says:
      where did you get the metal squares and the magnets?
    28. January 12th, 2013 at 8:02 pm
      elizabeth o. says:
      LOVE! Julies posts. She always gives so much substance to be able to actually walk away with and implement. Keep em coming Julie!
    29. January 14th, 2013 at 3:24 pm
      Ashley L. Falcon says:
      This website was such a treasure for me to find. I am the step mom of 3 children two are twins 13, and a 10 yr old. My two children are 12 and 14, so you can imagine the, I call it "diversity." I am a student in college working towards my Masters in nursing, lots of homework and I also work at the local hospital on the weekends. I have been trying to find some sort of system that will work, it's still new for our family and the children shudder at the sound of the word "chore." This website made a way for me not to look like the iron hand to these three precious children that God has blessed me with, so I say thank you for such imagination and incentive.
    30. January 17th, 2013 at 7:03 am
      Betsy says:
      Hi, Julie! Thanks for the wonderful input--I'm putting the chore wheel and daily routine postings to work right away!
    31. January 23rd, 2013 at 1:51 am
      susan says:
      What a wonderful idea :) thank you for sharing this with us xx
    32. January 31st, 2013 at 9:48 pm
      sue says:
      who does the pots and pans? We just made our wheel and split it into 5. Our kids are 9,6,3 so we will be doing the lion's share of the work but we are still excited!
    33. March 1st, 2013 at 11:32 am
      Katie says:
      Forgive me if this has already been answered but where in the world do you get the metal boards? I checked Amazon but they are about $20 a pop. Is there any place that sells them a little cheaper? Thanks in advance!
      • March 1st, 2013 at 12:45 pm
        Alison says: sells them every once in a while. Thanks so much!
    34. August 14th, 2013 at 9:04 am
      Nancy says:
      BEST book ever about this topic: "Cleaning House: How to Rid Your Home of Youth Entitlement" by Kay Wills Wyma. I laugh out loud as I read it. She tells you things she says to her kids. Then, she tells you what she was really thinking. She calls it the "Experiment." You HAVE TO read it! It is full of encouragement and fantastic ideas.

      Thanks for the post and all the awesome comments.
    35. September 17th, 2013 at 8:17 pm
      Laurie@The Baking Bookworm says:
      You are my hero! My husband and I have tried so many different charts/Excel spreadsheets/nagging to get our kids to do and remember their chores. Usually my kids are pretty good about doing chores but today was not a good day so onto the internet I went and found you. I love the circular chart and the fact that the kids have responsibilities in different rooms even at different times of the day. We always assigned certain chores/kid/room and that apparently isn't working well. My kids generally do their chores well but a more organized system is needed. Thanks for the info. I'll be setting this system up tomorrow for my family.
    36. February 18th, 2014 at 9:35 am
      Krystal says:
      I really like the spinning chores chart. Is there one like that for only two children? I want to use it for my family.
    37. March 20th, 2014 at 7:19 pm
      Caroline says:
      This etsy shop has the best chore magnets if you want organization! You can get a different color for each kid. They even have ones for mom!

      I am going to go to home depot this weekend to try and get those metal boards. I love that idea!
    38. July 21st, 2014 at 1:37 pm
      Maria says:
      Just great! Thanks for the ideas, they work at home and in a classroom!
    39. August 31st, 2014 at 9:26 pm
      Christine says:
      I wanted to make your metal chore chart with magnets. They look amazing! How did you get their names printed on the metal? Thanks.
      • September 1st, 2014 at 9:11 am
        Missy says:
        She used vinyl for the names
    40. September 5th, 2014 at 3:11 pm
      kooka7 says:
      Thanks so much for the chore wheel... we have 5 kids (7yr/6yr/4yr/3yr/17months) so this will work for the 4 and when our youngest is old enough, with a little tweaking will add our 5th. Such a fantastic idea. I will be heading to the dollar store to buy the materials I need and get the kids involved with cutting out the shapes and helping me make the colour wheel.... atleast the routine rewards board won't be a wall in length now LOL!
    41. October 20th, 2015 at 1:11 pm
      Michelle says:
      I absolutely love this and I am going to implement it in my house starting this weekend! However I have a question on the infractions part what do you have on your notecards?
    42. November 23rd, 2015 at 2:34 am
      Ethel Adams says:
      Really useful ideas! I have two kids and they are helping a lot when it comes to house cleaning and organizing! I have never used a chore chart till now but I feel that I need to make one because the have started to fight over who did more cleaning. Thank you for the lovely ideas ! I really like the chore wheel! :) Greets!
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