A Chore System Motivating Kids to Work

How many Chore Charts have you tried as a parent?  I can’t count how many…LOTS.  Teaching the value of work to our children is vital in this “entitlement” generation.  I was listening last year to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University last year and he said something that made a lot of sense.  {I’m not quoting him exactly.}  He spoke of how in real life, we are paid for our efforts.  He said children should also receive a ‘commission’ for their efforts in the home.  Therefore, children should earn their money by helping out around the house.  I completely agree!

You know, I believe, part of the problem is me.  Ouch, that was hard to type.  I have been known to say in the past, the only thing I am consistent at is being inconsistent.  Not something I’m entirely proud about, but it kind of goes with the ADD territory.  Knowing this, however, helps keep me in check {on good days.}  Let me also add being inconsistent is also known as being spontaneous.  Spontaneity can add a wonderful spice to life and is the up side to this weakness of mine.  That is a whole other topic I could write about. {Another day}  Anyway, part of the problem is sticking with a chore chart and many of the ones I have tried have been too complicated and time wasting for me as the Mom.

So here I am, a Family Manager.  It’s my responsibility to encourage and teach my children to work.  Nothing does this better than good ole fashioned money!  This is not bribery.  This is preparing my children for the real world.  If they don’t do their chores, they don’t get paid.  Just like, if we don’t work, we don’t get paid.

I came across this beauty:

Courtesy of More Than A Memory

I already had the idea in my head to make job cards with the amount they would earn for doing the card.  However, this is cute and looks way better!  With the above as my inspiration, I re-purposed a magnetic/dry erase calendar I no longer use thanks to Cozi {if you don’t know what Cozi is click here.}

{One of the kids wrote on the dry erase board with a permanent marker}  Time to give it a makeover.

Found 2 sheets of 12×12 scrapbook paper and adhered with double sided tape.

Next up: I got on the computer and typed in jobs with $ earn amount.  {It is important to confer with your spouse on this part.}  Printed the jobs on card stock.  Raided the scrapbook tools and used my circle punch to punch each job into a neat circle.  Some of the jobs were a little too big for the circle punch so I used the stamp looking one for a few.  I found some self adhesive magnet sheets made to go on the back of a business card.  Cut the sheets into small squares and adhered them to the back of the punched cards.

I like how it turned out and I didn’t have to buy anything for the project, used what I already had on hand.

The magnetic holders were used previously with a chore card system I tried with the kids names on them using letter stickers.  I added these to the bottom of the board so when they have completed a chore/job they place them in their pocket.  At night we record in my planner how much money they made for the day.  My Son wants a paycheck once a month.  The girls might want their ‘paychecks’ on a weekly basis.  We’ll have to work that out.

Does it work?

Yesterday was my kids first day back to school after their 2 week holiday break.  Guess what my kids did instead of fight, watch tv and play on the computer after school?

My 8 year old did the following chores:

  • Give Mom Your Meal Plan .50
  • Deep Clean a Dining Chair (10 min) $1 {never done before}
  • Deep Clean a Dining Chair (10 min) $1 {they are sparkling now!}
  • Put Away Clothes $1
  • Don’t watch TV ALL DAY $1 {this is MONUMENTAL for her!}
  • Feed Daisy .25
  • Practice Music {piano} 30 min $1 {this is HUGE for her!}
  • Don’t Play on Computer ALL DAY $1

She made a total of $6.75 yesterday!

My 13 year old did the following chores:

  • Practice Music {Trumpet} 30 min $1
  • Don’t Play on Computer ALL DAY $1 {this is HUGE for him!}
  • Clean Bathroom Mirror & Countertops $1
  • Purge & Organize a Drawer .50
  • Take Out Trash (whole house) $2
  • Clean Out Backpack .50
  • Clean & Organize Locker & Drawer .50
  • Make Bed .25
  • Vacuum Stairs $2 {never done before}
  • Unload Dishwasher $1
  • Set the Table .50
  • Clear Off Table .50
  • Put Away Clothes $1 {Made this a high amount of $ because it is important to me}
  • Clean a Toilet Inside & Out $1
  • Clean a Toilet Inside & Out $1 {Yep, he cleaned 2!}
  • Give Mom Your Meal Plan .50
  • Sweep Garage (10 min) $2
  • Put away clothes $1

He made a total of $17.25!

Important Note: In the beginning, it is important you take the time to teach them HOW to do these jobs if you haven’t already done so.  It is also important to teach them what products they should use on what and how to use them properly.  My 8 year old did not know that using a magic eraser on dark wood ruins the finish. 🙁  Make sure they understand if they are using a product with bleach in it that it can bleach their clothes white if they accidentally spray some on their clothing.

Equally Important Note: The kids need to report back to you when they are done completing a chore.  This way you know they completed the job and you can inspect to make sure it is done to your standards.  This is the part where I have to tell myself to stop whatever I am doing and check their work.

If you would like a copy of my chores {in case you like the ones I chose} with their monetary value click on the links below:

FBJ Chore System Buttons Page1

FBJ Chore System Buttons Page2

FBJ Chore System Buttons Page3

Each family will most likely want to customize it to their families needs & wants. 😉
I will have to report back in about a month to let you know if the kids continue to work.  But let me tell you how much I enjoyed seeing my kids work!  It was heavenly!

Please let me know your results if you decide to try this as well. 🙂

Disclaimer: I was not paid by Dave Ramsey to write this post.

Linking Up:

Thirty Hand Made Days





Get those kids working,


  1. Linda from the Edge of Nowhere says

    I need more info like, how often are you going to pay for some of those things? ? ? $17/day is a little steep. I’m looking forward to the monthly report.

    • Linda, the system is meant to run daily. At night we record in my planner how much money they made for the day. I think J overdid it the first day. He has made around $2 each day since so far. My housekeeper who came once a week quit last month. Believe me, paying them is much cheaper than paying my housekeeper. Besides, I would much rather get them helping out around the house. I am tired of my kids whining and being idle. It is nice to not have to harp at them all the time. They know what to expect and hopefully it will work for a while. I understand this may not be ideal for everyone. I’m just sharing what I’m doing. Anyone could tweak it to fit their household if they find the idea enticing.

  2. OK, that might actually work in my house BUT the child that needs to do chores is a teenager. Maybe I’ll “pay’ him with computer time or number of texts he can send each day/week. I’d go broke with the money thing…besides, he needs the computer and texting to maintain his social life, lol.
    Shasta Farrar recently posted..I Did Something Crazy… Now I Need Your Help

    • Shasta, I completely understand your point of view. My oldest is 16. Like I mentioned above to Linda. The $17 day is not an ordinary day. It was the first day of the system and the first day back to school. My 13 year old didn’t have any homework and was excited at the prospect of making money. I think you could definitely use other forms of payment if you think it will motivate them. Every family is different. Thank you for your support. 🙂

    • Yes, with older children there are some days the money can appear to be a little steep, but what we have done is continue to take the Dave Ramsey teaching even further to put some financial responsibility back on them for items that parents sometimes purchase for their children. For example our children know our community carnival comes up in August and we buy a very small amount of ride tickets and they know the rest of the responsiblity is theirs.

  3. I love this idea, but we do it slightly differently. We have gotten away from paying them “commission” and probably need to get back to that… but we have a few daily chores that must be done without pay. This teaches them that there are certain responsibilities that everyone must do to maintain a household. In exchange for “room & board”, they must complete certain responsibilities each day – like picking up after themselves, doing homework, hanging up coats, putting shoes away, etc. Then, we have three daily chores that rotate between the 3 kids – dinner duty (set & clean up), dishwasher (unload & load) and laundry. They don’t get paid for those responsibilities. The actual house cleaning (like toilets, vacuuming, etc.) were paid jobs. Right now, we are paying someone to clean our house (due to health problems), so we took away the commission for cleaning in order to pay a professional. If/when we stop paying someone else, we’ll probably go back to a commission system. Thanks for your ideas – I love the magnet chart!!
    Amy recently posted..It’s GO Time!

    • Amy, you are wonderfully organized and systematic about managing your family’s chores. I love what you shared. I mentioned to Linda above that our weekly housekeeper quit last month. Therefore, the commission to my children is definitely cheaper than paying her. My kids have been spoiled because of our housekeeper. It might have been a blessing in disguise for her to quit. A family needs to work together and help take responsibility of their spaces and possessions. Too much idle and entertainment time has turned my kids brains to mush. This magnet board is to help give them a little ‘kick in the rear’ without me having to harp on them all the time. Thank you so much for following and joining the Family Brings Joy readership. I’m excited to read your blog and enjoy your awesomeness at organizing! 🙂

  4. Your board turned out really nice! You’re quite crafty with your make-overs! We’ve never done a monetary system as we want the kids to realize that some things in life must be done without compensation. We try to teach that a good feeling inside for doing the mundane is actually a reward. Hopefully they’ll enjoy the word ‘service’ someday. For now they just roll their eyes — ha! Your plan correlates with some of the suggestions by Richard & Linda Eyres in their parenting articles.

    • Dana, I absolutely adore Richard & Linda Eyre. I listen to their show on BYU Radio and really enjoyed seeing Linda and her daughter speak at Time Out for Women last year.

      We, too, have taught for years that many things in life must be done without compensation and will continue to do so. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t sunk into their brains, yet. I hope over time they will understand and gain a testimony of doing acts of service without payment or reward. If my kids just rolled their eyes when I asked them to do something I wouldn’t have to motivate them using a chore system. I can handle the eye rolling. It’s the blatant, “I will later” or “I don’t want to” or literally “But I didn’t make that mess!” The talking back and whining was out of control.

      I believe y’all are doing a fabulous job of teaching service to your kids by example. Y’all are the epitome of service and I admire you so much for that.

  5. Hi Shan,
    What a great idea! I love this!!! I forwarded to my daughter who is always looking for a way to be consistent with her boys doing chores. My kids are all grown up…but maybe I could do it for my husband and pay him a different way :-). I bet things would get done pretty fast around here!!!!

    I’d love it if you shared this at a party that I have going on at Project Queen.

    I’m your newest follower.
    Mandy recently posted..A Clean and De-Cluttered House In 30 Days!

    • I always LOVE positive feedback, Mandy! I am very happy to have you as a new follower and am honored to be invited to participate in your party. I’ll see you there! 🙂

  6. Hi, I LOVE this idea! My kids are 11 (twins) and 4. They can all participate in this chore system – I am implementing today! Did you cut some of the magnets into circles to match the circle chores or just adhere them to the magnet squares? I know a few chores are squares. Thanks for sharing this great idea!

  7. Hi Shan, I’ll be featuring your chore system tomorrow night at Project Queen. I love your system and thank you so much for linking it to my link party!

    PS I hope that you don’t mind that I copied a a different picture than the one you linked with. If so, please let me know.
    Mandy recently posted..Kind Hearted Blogger’s Pledge

  8. What does it mean when your kids give you their menu plan?
    Dana recently posted..My 1st 2-Week Menu Plan

  9. Just found your blog for the first time. What a delightful entry. Thanks so much for a great idea, but mostly for your courage to be transparent about how hard it can be to be consistent about things. I struggle with this too and it is always an encouragement to know I’m in great company. As mamas we try hard to do so many things ‘right’. But, ultimately it is our humanness that endears us to one another and to our families. The journey, not perfection, is the real prize. I will be exploring more.

  10. Shan,
    Did you know you can write over the sharpie marker with a dry erase one and then wipe it off? The sharpie comes clean with the dry erase, I did this alot when I was a special ed assistant before I became a SAHM

  11. As a former teacher, I can tell you first hand that alcohol takes permanent marker off of white boards (hair spray works too, but makes it a little sticky…water takes the hairspray off). 🙂

  12. One question: what is your “meal plan” in reference to?


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