Establishing a household chore routine

Kristen Winiarski

Getting kids to help around the house can feel like an uphill battle. When my kids were around two, I had them start putting away their toys, but was often met with resistance. Now that they’re a bit older, they’re better at completing tasks around the house. Sometimes they even want to help me, so I’m trying to capitalize on that feeling whenever possible! 

The most effective way to get my kids to help with chores has been establishing routines that become habit for everyone in the house. Setting clear guidelines helps them know what to expect and means that chores are met with less resistance (at least most of the time). 

Tips on establishing a chore routine for your kids

Be consistent

When trying to establish a chore routine, the most important thing is to be consistent with your schedule. If you fall behind or let your kids skip over things, you’ll all lose your rhythm, and it’ll be more challenging to get going again. Here are some tips for consistency:

  • Pick certain days for different chores
  • Pay attention to which chores your kid most likes to do and give them ownership over those ones 
  • Set a consistent schedule (every afternoon we pick up the toy or every weekend we sweep the porch)

Be clear on expectations

By being clear on what you want and how often, your kids will better understand what you expect. Kids thrive on routine, so having a structure for your household chores will go a long way.

Establish frequency

There are some chores that kids can complete daily, while others may be weekly. Make sure that they understand which these are. While they may help with dishes daily, other things like laundry and emptying the garbage will probably be weekly tasks. 

Make it age-appropriate

Different chores are appropriate for different ages. Be sure to adjust these as your kids grow. Kids between six and ten are usually capable of folding laundry, cleaning up their rooms, and helping with the dishes. Depending on your household, you can adjust or add other things.

Kids can take on more and more responsibility as time goes on, so it’s important to trust them and not redo the chores they’ve completed. Redoing everything will shake their confidence making them more resistant to helping in the future. 

Consider chore charts

Having a visual representation of their progress may help motivate kids with chores. The chart can serve as a reminder to complete their tasks and, they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment with each sticker they add. 

Tell them why chores are necessary

When I ask my kids to help out, I tell them why. By explaining that cleaning helps out everyone in the house, they better understand why it’s important. I also tell them that I can play an extra game or read them an extra book if everyone helps out because we’ll be done working that much sooner. You might also want to find ways to make chores fun (especially for younger kiddos) – set a timer and see how quickly you can pick up five toys or host a weekly sibling competition for the most perfectly made bed). 

To pay or not to pay

There is some controversy about whether or not to give kids an allowance for doing chores. On the one hand, they’re contributing to and helping the household that they live in like everyone else. On the other hand, a reward can offer incentives for certain extra-large jobs and can teach money management. You could also reward them with something other than money (like an extra special snack) for doing their part.

Creating a chore routine that works for you and your children is vital in teaching them how to contribute to the household. Establish the expectations and schedule beforehand, so everyone knows what’s expected of them, and things will go a lot smoother.


Hayden, Emily. “A Parent’s Go-To Guide for Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids.” Rasmussen University. Rasmussen University. May 22, 2018. Teichert, Bronson.

“Teaching Children Money Management.” Utah State University. Utah State University.

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