Does it sometimes feel like you’re always frustrated with your kids NOT doing their chores? You’re not the only one. It’s something most parents deal with at one time or another.
I’ve tried many chore systems with my kids over the years, trying to keep track of their tasks and motivate them too. I’ve finally figured out a simple chore system for kids that actually works.
In fact, it works so well that my kids actually beg me for more chores to do! (I never thought I’d say that!)
We call it Chore Sticks. This chore system is super easy to put together and requires only a few inexpensive materials.
How Chore Sticks for Kids Works:
Basically, kids can earn chore sticks for doing chores. You determine how many chore sticks they earn, then the kids can turn in their chore sticks for privileges, treats, or even allowance.
I made a free printable “Chore Stick Chart” here that you can fill in with what works for your family.
(Right click & save. Then print. Optional: Upload to PicMonkey & add text for your chore stick rewards.)
Another free printable option:
My kids turn in chore sticks for TV, Minecraft, or tablet time, and also things like treats (salsa, chips, popsicles), 1/2 hour later for bedtime, and allowance money.
Our Chore Sticks reward chart has a place of honor on our family command center where it reminds everyone of these incentives.
This chore system works so well because it’s like a pretend money system within the family. You work, you earn things. You don’t work, you don’t get stuff. Simple.
The chore sticks themselves are like the play money. The kids have to actually hand over a hard-earned stick in order to earn their reward or privilege so it’s a good way to teach them how money works at home.
My kids have chosen not to watch TV because they wanted to save chore sticks for a new toy! That NEVER worked with old basic chore charts.
I use this along with our Zone Chore chart – my kids usually earn 2 chore sticks for completing their zone chores with a happy attitude.
That’s the other thing – I don’t have a set amount of chore sticks. My children earn based on their performance (did they do a good job or did I have to tell them three times to sweep all the crumbs?) and attitude. If they have a poor attitude, they’ll earn less or nothing at all.
It’s like the real world. If you work hard, you’ll be rewarded more (most of the time.) If you have poor performance and/or a bad attitude, you’re not going to get very far.
We’ve found this chore system for kids to be much easier than simply earning allowance. Occasionally, I’ll buy a toy or something like a swim goggles that’s on sale and put it away until that child has earned enough chore sticks to pay me back.
It’s amazing how well this chore system for kids works!
How to Make Chore Sticks:
- 2+ small mason jars (1 for the main chore stick jar and 1 for each child)
- approximately 50 craft sticks (more or less, depending on how many kids you have)
- washi tape or thin decorative duct tape
- tape or hot glue gun
- chore stick labels (Free printable below)
- chore stick reward chart (free printable above)
The kids can help with this part. Wrap small amounts of washi tape or thin decorative duct tape at the top of the craft sticks. Do this for all the craft sticks.
Print & cut out your chore stick labels here:
(Right click, save, then upload to PicMonkey and add your children’s names for the blank labels (I used free font “Eraser Dust”)
Laminate or cover the labels in clear tape for added durability.
Wrap a piece of washi tape around the top of the chore stick mason jar. Attach the labels with tape, removable adhesive, or even a glue gun.
One jar will be the main chore stick jar…
…and the others will be for each child. Let them decorate their own jars- they’ll love it!
All the chore sticks go into the main chore stick jar until they are earned.
Fill out & print your Chore Stick Reward Chart (above) and hang it in in an obvious spot where everyone will see it.
You’re ready to go!
Say good-bye to all the fighting with this simple chore system for kids. Chore sticks will help teach them responsibility and the value of hard work, along with helping to keep your home cleaner and neater!