A DIY chore chart for kids is a great way to set expectations and develop good habits. Learn how to make a chore chart that’s easily customizable and age-appropriate.
“So, how many times a day do you brush your teeth?” the dentist asked my seven-year-old son as she poked around his mouth.
“Uh, once?” he mumbled around her gloved hand while looking at me for reassurance.
He told the truth, but it was the wrong answer.
Although my husband and I are AM and PM tooth-brushers (there’s no bad breath here!), we could never get our kids to brush in the morning. It was one of those morning routines that never stuck. There was never enough time, and more than enough yelling already, so why start my day with another fight?
Brushing teeth in the morning should be simple and expected. So should putting dirty clothes in the hamper.
But when you have kids, nothing’s simple.
My embarrassment at the dentist’s office forced me to figure out how to make my kids take responsibility for themselves and our home.
I was sick of yelling, nagging, and doing stuff that my 5-year-old and her 7-year-old brother could do for themselves (or with minimal help).
I don’t want to yell at my kids first thing in the morning and again at night, but it was happening, anyway.
Something had to change.
So I rifled through my craft area and created a DIY chore chart for kids that would (hopefully) end the nagging and instill some sense of responsibility in my two little troublemakers.
Supplies to Make a DIY Chore Chart for Kids
This post contains affiliate links which connect you to products related to this post. If you click and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. Please read my disclosures for more information.
This is an easy DIY chore chart for kids, but not as quick as the projects I usually share. Let the kids watch two episodes of their favorite show, then you’ll be done with the chart (and so done listening to “Vampirina”).
First, gather your supplies:
DIY Chore Chart: How to Make One in 5 Steps
This homemade chore chart organizes chores and responsibilities by the time of day and whether or not they’re complete. I wanted my kids to see what was done and what remained while creating morning and evening routines.
These are totally customizable chore charts! Each child’s chores are spelled out on craft stick that they move from the “to do” section of the chart to “done” when completed, or at least by the end of the day.
Here’s how to make a chore chart it in five steps.
Step 1: Divide the Chart
Use your ruler to draw guides for where you’d like the washi tape to divide the poster board. If your kids typically have more responsibilities in the morning, make that section larger. Once you have your measurements down, have your kids choose washi tape patterns and colors to use on their chore charts. This will help make them feel included in the process and (hopefully) more likely to use it.
To make my daughter’s homemade chore chart a bit more interesting (and add the pink sparkles she requested), I layered skinny tape on wider tape.
Step 2: Add Letter Stickers
Now that the DIY chore chart is divided into sections, use the letter stickers to label each section. The columns are for status (“to do” and “done”) while the rows are for the time of day (am or pm).
Step 3: Make the Chore Sticks
Since this was our first time using a chore chart for kids, it was important to me that I set my own expectations about what my 5- and 7-year-old kids can realistically accomplish. Do I want my oldest to be responsible for picking up the dog poop in the backyard? You betcha. Will he do it without a horrible fight? Not a chance.
Instead, I focused on the daily tasks we expect them to do each day but often argue about, and brainstormed on a piece of paper before committing them to the label maker.
Making the bed was a stretch goal for them. Although my kids are capable of doing it, brushing their teeth in the morning is far more important than ensuring their beds are neat before we rush out the door.
After you decide on the chores and responsibilities you want your kiddos to accomplish each day, print them out on your label maker and stick them on to the craft sticks (one chore per stick).
Here are 14 chores for kids that most toddlers and young elementary school aged children can handle:
- Put toys away
- Put dishes in the sink (clear the table)
- Empty backpack
- Make bed
- Do homework
- Put clothes in the hamper
- Brush teeth
- Put on shoes
- Empty lunchbox
- Put on pajamas
- Set the table
- Feed pets
- Sweep floor
- Clean the table
Using labels or writing chores on tape makes it easy to switch chores around as kids grow and take on new responsibilities. Just remove the label or tape from the stick and replace with a new one!
Step 4: Make the Chores Stick
Now, it’s time to use the Velcro adhesive dots. The diameter will likely be a bit larger than the width of your craft sticks, so you may need to trim them up a bit. Below, you can see the dots on the left before I trimmed them, and the finished sticks on the right.
Now’s the time to add a bit of color to the chore sticks with washi tape in a complementary color or design. However, I don’t recommend sparkly tape because it doesn’t stick to itself and looks a bit messy.
Finally, remove the backing from the dots and stick them to the homemade chore chart in the order that makes sense for your kids.
Step 5: Choose a Spot
When your DIY chore chart for kids is complete, it’s time to put in in a spot where they’ll see it and use it. My kids put theirs on their bedroom doors so they could move the chore sticks to “done” before going to bed. I used removable poster adhesives to secure the charts to the doors.
So, are my kids super responsible now?
Here’s what happened after we mounted the DIY chore charts on their bedroom doors:
- There was an immediate frenzy to accomplish all the things.
- They became incredibly competitive with one another over who had more chore sticks in the “done” sections.
- Mornings and evenings were less chaotic.
All this lasted approximately one week before the excitement wore off and they haven’t moved the sticks since.
But, that doesn’t mean they stopped doing the chores.
I had to do something to encourage my kids to be more responsible for themselves and our home. Making the DIY chore charts forced me to think about what I really want them to do and what they’re capable of doing.
Even though they don’t pay attention to the chart anymore, they know what’s expected of them.
Our morning routine is smoother because they know to brush their teeth, pack their bags, and put their shoes on before watching TV.
Sometimes we need to remind them (especially the younger one), but there’s less nagging. I credit the routines and expectations set on the chore chart for these positive changes.
Should you use a reward chart?
I’m very torn about whether to reward my kids for doing household chores. Could I convince them to use their chore chart regularly if I dangled a carrot from the stick? Okay, well definitely not carrots, but maybe a lollipop.
Part of me believes kids should learn that keeping a clean home and helping the family is simply the right thing to do and doesn’t require a prize.
But the other part of me sees that our dog won’t do anything she doesn’t want to do unless lured with a treat.
So, why should kids be any different?
I’ll pose this question to you:
Do you reward your kids for helping around the house, and if so, what’s the prize?
Check out these other ways to get kids organized:
- How to Organize Kids Crafts So They’ll Actually Use Them
- How to Organize LEGOs Without Losing Your Mind
- How to Declutter Toys in a Day Without Yelling at Your Kids