Let’s Talk About Chores


Let’s talk about chores for kids and how to keep track of them as they get older. 

Research suggests giving kids chores is good for them. Benefits of chores include learning time management and organization skills, taking on responsibilities and feeling like a part of the family, having opportunities for success and feelings of accomplishment, and setting them up for independent life in the future.

a mom and her daughter carrying folded laundry as they do chores

Where Should We Start?

Set expectations and make chores a normal part of the daily routine. Even toddlers can help. Start with simple one-step directions. Put your toys in the box. Take your plate to the sink. Make it predictable and be consistent.

Chore Tracking and List Keeping

As kids get older, you may want a way for them to keep track of their chores. My kids are 14, 9, and 7. I got tired of listing their daily responsibilities. We have tried a few methods for keeping track of their chores.

When they were younger, we used a visual chore flip chart and they could close the task when finished.

Daily checklists are another option we tried. I put the checklists in plastic sheet protectors. They used dry-erase markers to check off a completed task. The problem we had was where to store all of the checklists. (Each day’s chores were not the same.) They ended up leaving the checklists on the living room floor.

I have been looking into various digital options. There are plenty of chore tracker apps that may work for your family. I haven’t found one that is perfect yet. I don’t want my kids to have to use their own device to check off the completed chores. I want a centralized location with one device.

We used our Amazon Echo to track chores for a year or so. There is a chore chart blueprint that you can customize. It took a while to set up and it’s not super easy to modify. However, my kids loved it. They would ask Alexa what their chores were for the day. Alexa would list them. They could tell her that they finished. She would give them points for completing tasks. At the end of the week, they could compare point totals.

We eventually stopped using the app because it took so long for each person to hear their list. It would be much faster to read it.

I thought about getting an Amazon Show to see if it would list the chores. From what I can gather, it just reads them like the Echo. There’s not a daily checklist that resets itself.

Since looking at chore-tracking apps, I started getting targeted ads for a digital display that does way more than just track chores. It seems useful but expensive at $600 plus a $9 a month subscription fee.

a chore jar on a table with chores written on slips of paper scattered on the tabletopOur Current System

We are currently using Nipto, a simple app that can schedule and assign chores to members of your household. Each member can use their own device, or you can share devices. This app also works with Alexa although I haven’t set up this feature yet. The free version of the app allows for 5 chores to be scheduled. The premium version is a one-time fee, no subscription.

I have the app installed on my phone as well as an old iPad. They can check their to-do lists from the iPad without having access to actual screen time/games. I taught them how to switch between people and mark off the chores they do. I set it up so I have to approve completion of the chore before they get points for it. If it’s not complete, I can send the chore back to their list.

The points in the app can have meaning if you would like. You can add rewards that they can work towards. For now, my kids just get points and they are content with that. Once the newness of this system wears off, I will add rewards to help them continue the routines we’ve hopefully established.

Final Thoughts

I recognize the importance of chores, and I want my kids to help around the house. A solution that makes them more independent is what I would love.

Do you have a chore system that works for your family?