Kids Chores and Routines Checklists

Kids Chore Check Lists -v

You might remember me mentioning in my post about our Quarter Jar Reward System that I have some wonderfully normal children. Beautiful, smart, clever, and amazingly normal when it comes to needing reminders and help to do what they are supposed to do.

For a while I felt like I needed to record my voice after school and just press play when they walked in the front door. Now, I have a single catch-phrase that encompasses it all. “Have you checked your list?”

“Hang up your backpacks and jacket, put your shoes in your baskets, wash your hands, bring your lunchbox to the kitchen … Put your shoes in the baskets, not on the floor right there … nope, your jacket does not go on the couch, please hang it on the hook … You need to finish your homework before you ___…”. You get the idea. 

Personally, I needed their routines and chores up on a list in a visible place, so that I could refer my children to the list instead of holding the list in my head. The lists have changed everything.

Child a,b, or c: “Mom, can I play on my iPad?” or “Can I play outside?” or “Can I go to my friend’s house?” or “Can I watch tv?”
Me: “Have you checked everything off on your list?”

See? It is a beautiful system!!!

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophitication

The List

I’ve had lists up for my kids for years now and I still love them, though the look of the lists have changed over the years (which is why this post was updated – holla!).

Confession: I started out a little too complex and the kids didn’t respond to that as well as I hoped. I played around with different complexities and eventually realized that the SIMPLER I could make the list LOOK, the simpler it FELT. The power of suggestion is very powerful to a child. So now I present a completely simplified version that is way better than the complicated one, because well (simplicity is sophisticated after all).

I call them responsibilities instead of chores, because not all the things on the list are “chores”, some things end up being reminders of ROUTINE things, like “Wash hands after school” or “Hang Coat & Backpack”.

Aqua Mint - Example Kid Chore List



There are a few things I’ve learned over the years that make using these stay practical.

  • Keep the lists current and timely. Make the lists different for summer and the school year so that everything on the list is applicable.
  • Print multiple lists at the same time so that printing new lists doesn’t become the excuse not to be starting a new week on time. Ours are kept up on a clipboard on the wall, so I just clip multiple copies into the same place and the kids tear down the old sheet when it is done.
  • Print 2 per page to save eye-scanning space and paper. I like things on smaller sheets of paper, so I print these 2 per page (in my printer settings) and cut the paper in half.
  • Make Different Lists to divide chores between multiple kids. I have four kids, but only three are old enough to read and do checklists. I have divided kid chores into 3 and I’ve split them between three different lists and made them three different colors. The kids rotate what color list they have so no one ever has the same color.
  • Let children make a difference in the home – this builds true confidence! If you have kids do pointless jobs that don’t really matter if they happen or not, but are only for the “exercise” of them having chores, they figure that out pretty quick and lose interest. Make their work matter. Give them age appropriate things that make a difference to the family so that their work can be appreciated and that you “rely” on them!
  • Display the check lists in a place where the children can see them clearly and frequently. {My chore list area is in a DIY-construction zone right now. I am updating the area, changing the checklist holders out and making the area prettier. It is almost done – hopefully I’ll be able to show you next week!}


***FREE DOWNLOAD*** I have an editable pdf that I’ve created for your personal use. I’m offering the black and white version for FREE Download. Click HERE for your FREE Editable PDF!



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Kids Chores and Routine Checklists

{Important Note about using the Editable PDF – To utilize the Editable PDF Files, you will need to download and save the file to your computer before storing information in the file. Use PDF viewing programs, like Adobe Acrobat or Preview. DO NOT open and make changes using a web browser, because it will limit the functionality. All highlighted text-fields can be written in. You can save your changes, close the document, open again and return to see your changes.}


One of my daughters asked me TODAY – “Mom, do kids that don’t have to do chores either have a really messy house or do their moms have to do all the work?” I replied that one of those would usually be correct. She said that one of her friends didn’t have to do chores and that her friend’s room was very messy …

If you have wonderfully normal kids, this might help you too. :)


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Kids Chores Check Lists - SHOP

39 thoughts on “Kids Chores and Routines Checklists

  1. Hi Mary…I was just wondering if you were still using the chore sticks and how those work together with this system. I am ready to try one or both with my 3- and 5- year-olds but need to figure out which would suit them better or how they can be integrated. Thanks!

    1. Yes, I still love chore sticks! I am converting my chore stick jar right now to more “random chores” that they can do to occasionally earn money or earn back a privilege. I think the chore sticks worked best preschool-kindergarten (right where you are), because checklists are a learned skill. :) Good luck!!

      1. That makes sense! Since mine aren’t reading yet, this checklist wouldn’t allow them to work on things independently. I have simple routine checklists for them with pictures, so we will stick with those until they are older. We picked up some popsicle sticks today so they are excited about setting up the chore stick jar!

        1. Yeah, the sticks are so good for the non or early readers because you can draw a little picture on them or you can tell them what it says. The detailed routine list would be more work for the parent of younger children. I’d say 1st grade is a good time to start, because they should be reading independently by then and that is a wonderful thing!

  2. Which items on the list do you give quarters for? I’m looking use this with your quarter jar idea for my seven year old (and the quarter jar and chore sticks for my 4 year old). I’m debating when to give the quarters (the true motivator :))

    1. We use the quarters to form new habits, so I will give it for anything that we are specifically working on, but once it becomes a habit, the quarter target changes a bit.

  3. How can I get this chore chart? I’ve started charts and reward system with my kids a few weeks ago and would like them to have chores. If you have a link or explain how I can print it out I would appreciate it very much.

    1. Search on the side bar for “how to keep your home perfectly clean” or “laundry” or “Household Checklist”. Those will point you in the right direction. :)

  4. Thank you!! If I could send a hug electronically I would!! Thank you for making it editable & sharing your hard work!! God Bless you !!

  5. Found you via Pinterest, and have to say that your checklist is awesome! Thank you for the customizable file version. I was able to edit the chores for my younger boys. I was trying to find something to fit our needs and found yours at just the right time! I think I may laminate ours though, and have them use a dry erase marker to reuse instead of printing for each week. Thanks again!

    1. Not sure … I did get an email from Box over the weekend saying they were doing some maintenance. Maybe try again? Of course, if you are on your mobile device and trying to download the excel file, that might have its own issues. You may want to download that to a computer.

  6. Is there a way I can get this and edit it to work for our house hold. I love this. I know that visual things are the best

  7. Hi Mary! I absolutely love all your challenges with taking care of your home. I wish you had one that could teach me step by step( even if it took more than 91 days!) how to get my kids to do what yours do. I really mean it! I have a chore check list for them in order to do the ipad. In the morning we have a list of jobs they have to do before they go to school. They are really simple like wash face, brush hair, eat, make bed etc. But its hard for me to get them to pick up after them self since they are all over the house and i am not with them every second. They leave things everywhere. They leave or even collect little items and garbage in their rooms. They don’t clear their dishes i am constantly after them for so many things and i am often preoccupied with the baby somewhere else so i cant be constantly on top of them….Do you think you could give me advice? Or if you have a challenge for this kind of “children training” I would most definitely do it!! :)

    1. I know that I have not written enough about this, you are totally right! I will be adding a lot of posts this year about kid stuff. (Spoiler alert!) There will be a big one coming up during this Spring Cleaning, and there will be more scattered through all of the other challenges that specifically address the kid stuff, especially during the August time-frame. :)

    2. Jill…I feel your pain. My 2 wonderful sons, 10 and 12, are doing the same thing! I wish I had the excuse of a baby for my not being on top of them, lol. I’m SOOOO tired of sounding like a broken record and can’t wait to try this list and some of Mary’s other suggestions.

      1. I was re-reading the chore lists I made for my kids and laughing. “Wash hands after school”, “Hang up backpacks” … I think I must have recorded all of the things I was saying on repeat and put them into the chore list. I had forgotten how much I used to say those things, because it has been a while since I’ve been a broken record. It works!

  8. Thank you!!! Love this! I am definitely going to use it! After decluttering my kid rooms a month ago i used some of the ideas from your blog and they are now keeping their rooms clean and making their beds every day for a month now! I use the checklist system you have. I hope you keep writing more about this! How do you avoid power struggles with your kids? Sometimes i have this problem when it comes to doing chores, homework, etc. I try the ipad or TV reward system. But then they just dont seem interested in ipad or TV after a while cause its too much work to get that reward. Funny, huh!
    Thank you so much, Mary!

    1. I know exactly what you mean, which means the reward wasn’t the right one! Different rewards for different kids. Constant reminders. I’ve figured out that while they are young, it is just a hands-on job raising them and that it will involve lots of reminders and encouragement. :) What the reward is – is a constant moving target, but I keep rolling with the times. :)

  9. These checklists look great! I can’t find a link or copy of the one that is broken down into parts of the day. Am I missing something?

      1. It was so old, I didn’t realize people were still coming to download it! I’ll put it on my queue to add it back in. Sorry about that! :)

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