Assigning chores to our children can often feel like a tug of war, and honestly, we often just let go of the rope because it becomes overwhelming.
- What age-appropriate chores should we assign our kids?
- Should we grant them rewards for doing chores?
- Should we pay our kids for chores? If so, how much should we even give them?
- How do we keep track of all chores?
I mean the list goes on…
Then, we go online looking for a free, basic printable chore chart in hopes that it helps us magically put something in place that works. But in turn, that leaves us with nothing but a blank chore chart because we don’t have a system in place…. and who are we kidding, we don’t even know where to start!
Does that sound familiar? I thought so because I have been there myself.
But, no worries my dear friend!
Today we are talking all about chores, rewards, and everything in between so that once you leave here you have all of the tools you need to implement a successful chores routine that works!
* This post contains affiliate links. Click here for more info.
So, why assign chores?
Well, in a nutshell, the introduction of chores in young children sets the foundation for their personal and social responsibilities later in life.
Studies have shown that children who are assigned chores from early on, “have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school”. (Source)
Chores teach responsibility. In turn, learning and practicing responsibility from early childhood ensures that later in life our children:
- are self-efficient
- are more responsible
- learn how to contribute
- are more grateful
In addition to the future benefits of doing chores, they also provide our children with a great sense of pride and accomplishment after successfully completing their assigned tasks.
It also helps them feel important, appreciated, needed, and a valuable part of the family nucleus. It teaches them about contribution, working as a team, and being responsible and accountable for their needs and their belonging.
So, before we deep-dive in assigning chores and choosing the right Chore Rewards Systems that best suits your family dynamic, here is a Complete Chore Charts and Rewards Toolkit (Printables) that will help you put everything we speak about today in motion without having to write a single thing down!
About that later! But first…
How do you reward kids for chores?
It is often up for debate if, and when, children should receive rewards, compensation, and/or praise for completing their chores.
Every family has its own dynamics in the way they implement family systems. For that reason, we will be going over the main 3 Chore Rewards Systems, so that you can pick what works best for your family.
Some experts believe that although praise and positive reinforcement are effective at promoting good habits, setting a recurrent monetary compensation for kids may create a false sense of entitlement.
After all, the whole purpose of chores is to help them create healthy habits about their personal and social responsibilities as being part of the family nucleus, without expecting anything in return.
While there is logical truth in what some experts claim, there is also a lot of data that proves that positive reinforcement in small doses such as Rewards and “Work-for-Hire” chores are in fact very effective— more than we can say about “Allowances”. Read on…
Although allowances are encouraged as part of some family dynamics, they should not be linked as “payment for chores.”
Think about it, should kids be receiving a “paycheck” for making their bed in the morning or cleaning their room? I think we can agree that the clear answer in, NO!
If however, you opting for allowances as chore compensation, consider only doing so for kids who already understand the concept of chores. Allowances are given as a recurrent weekly/monthly incentive and are highly discouraged for younger children.
With that said not all monetary compensation for chores is frowned upon. In fact, “Work for Hire” is a parent and expert favorite— more about it next!
Weekly and Monthly Rewards
A better alternative than “Allowances” for completing chores are Weekly and Monthly Rewards.
As positive reinforcement for kids who successfully complete their chores, they will be given the option to select from:
- a weekly reward (typically consists of a small incentive such as stickers, new pencils, or their favorite dessert)
- bi-weekly reward (medium rewards such as going bowling or having a friend over)
- monthly rewards (are higher valued rewards like a video game or new toys)
At the beginning of each week— or month depending on the route you choose— you and your child will agree on a reward ahead of time and write it down on their Chore Chart as motivation.
Another great idea is to create a “Chore Store”. It simply consists of a bin or box full of inexpensive items from the Dollar Store or Amazon, where kids can pick a price at the end of every week if their Chore Charts have been checked off.
“Work for Hire” (Chore Bucks!)
Now, THIS is my favorite Chore Rewards System.
Here is why…
The ”Work for Hire” Chores System allows them to earn money on extra chores that have been deemed as “compensatory.”
”Work for Hire” chores are typically harder in nature and they shouldn’t interfere with their assigned chores.
The benefit of the “Work for Hire” System is that they aren’t receiving compensation for things that they should be doing as their contribution to the family nucleus. Instead, they get compensated for extra chores parents need help with around the house.
This method prepares them for the real world as it mimics was adults do: We don’t receive compensation for our daily house chores and home responsibilities, but we receive a paycheck for “working”.
- the kids are learning about their personal and family responsibilities (without compensation)
- they are given the option to earn money on extra chores by putting in the work
- they learn how to manage and value money
- you get some help with things that need to get done around the house
- …and everyone is happy
A great system is to use Chore Bucks—included in the Chores Toolkit Bundle below—and creating a ”Work for Hire” board which would be placed next to their Chore Charts.
Children who willingly complete a particular chore in the ”Work for Hire” section will save their chore dollars and collect their payment at the end of the week/month. Then they can save their money to buy things they really want. This principle is very effective in teaching them the value of money.
Greenlight Debit Card for Kids
If having to deal with paper money (real or fake) sounds too complicated, or you would like to put a system in place where your kids can have ongoing access to their earnings, then the Greenlight Debit Card for Kids is a fantastic choice!
Greenlight is a debit card for kids, managed by parents.
I cannot recommend this resource enough, and once you learn what this is all about you will see why!
Listen to this…
The Greenlight Debit Card has great advantages for kids with FULL parental control.
Some of the benefits include:
- Chore Management (you can create an in-app chore lists and tie their chores to payments).
- Automatic Transfer to their accounts.
- Money Management (they can divide their earnings by Save, Invest, Give, and Spend accounts).
- Instant Transfer (send money instantly to your kids’ accounts anytime, anywhere).
- Real-time Notifications (get an alert any time the card is used or declined).
- Store Control (Greenlight is the only debit card that allows you select each store where kids are allowed to spend. If they try to spend where they shouldn’t, you will receive an alert immediately).
- Educational App for Kids (for kids that have smart devices, they can track balances, work on their chore lists and more).
- Total Parental Control (turn card on and off at anytime from your phone app).
- Saving While Spending (kids can round up purchases to the next dollar and automatically add the change to their savings).
- Receive Compensation! (receive $10 each time to refer Greenlight to family and friends).
- …and much more!
Needless to say, the Greenlight Debit Card for kids is incredibly beneficial and very easy to use.
You get the first month free and you can cancel anytime.
You can get access to the Greenlight Debit Card for only $4.99 per month, and it includes:
- Debit cards for up to five kids.
- No minimum age. No minimum balance.
- No transaction, international or overdraft fees.
- Greenlight covers the first replacement cards.
This recourse is a lifesaver as a chore reward and/or allowance account, especially for older kids who are learning about the value and management of earned money.
Chore Charts and Rewards Toolkit (Printables)
If implementing any of these rewards system sound confusing, complicated, and overwhelming, then you might want to check out the Chores Toolkit Bundle.
It brings all of the resources you need to put a Chores Routine in place that covers everything we just spoke about.
Here is what’s included:
- Step-by-Step Instructions… reminding you what to do.
- Chores and Allowance Master List… age-appropriate chore ideas for kids of all ages.
- Chore Chart (Daily/Weekly Tracker)… that can be printed and used week after week.
- Reward Systems Guide… which walks you through the reward options covered in this article.
- 50 Reward Ideas… for weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly rewards.
- My Reward Ideas Brainstorming Sheet… to write down reward ideas they would like in the future.
- Chore Bucks Cutouts ($1, $3, $5, $10)… to use for as “Work for Hire” payout.
- No-Chores Coupon Cutouts (1-Day, 3-Day, 5-Day) which are great as birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, good behavior, good grades, and more!
Currently, the Chores Toolkit Bundle sells for only $10, and trust me, they will be the best $10 you have spent in a while. Establishing any kind of successful routine with your children and keeping our sanity in the process is priceless!!
50 Chore Rewards Ideas (Printable)
The following 50 Chore Rewards fall in all spectrums: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, free, expensive, time investment… I mean you name it!
The idea is that you pick and choose from this list what ideas work best for you and your family.
No need to write them down either. Here are 2 FREE downloads that will make your job a whole lot easier. Feel free to come up with your own and write them down in the “My Reward Ideas” Sheet also included in this free download.
Here are 50 great Chore Reward Ideas you can write down in your Chore Chart as part of your Chores Routine.
1. Go out for ice cream. What child doesn’t love to go out for ice cream? This is a great idea for weekly or bi-weekly rewards.
2. Movie night. This is one of our family favorites and it is great for weekly chore rewards. Take them to the movie theater instead for a bi-weekly or monthly reward.
3. Bowling. Another great bi-weekly treat!
4. New App for their Tablet. Most kids nowadays have a tablet and they are constantly asking for new Apps. This would be a great chore reward for a bi-weekly or monthly chore.
5. A new video game. Video games are another big request, especially amongst older kids. This is a great monthly or eve quarterly (4-months) reward. Also because this is a costly item, they can save up their “Work for Hire” earnings and buy it themselves.
6. A night out with mom. This reward should be granted regardless, but just to ensure that we don’t get busy at the last second, they can write it down as part of their rewards so that nothing gets in the way.
7. A night out with dad. Same as with mom this is a great opportunity to spend time together. Whether you opt to make a “night in” for a weekly reward, or a “night out” for a bigger reward… you are sure to have a blast together!
8. New board game. Board games are a great gift for any occasion. As chore rewards, in particular, you can offer them as bi-weekly rewards.
9. Have a friend over. Making this idea part of their weekly or bi-weekly reward will serve as great motivation for them to get things done. Trust me.
1o. A new book. New books make for great rewards. Not only are they inexpensive—if you know where to buy cheap books—but they are extremely beneficial to their development. My advice… buy them in bulk for as much as 90% OFF retail price at KidsBook.com and use them as rewards throughout the year! #momwin
11. New clothes. Yes, it is our responsibility to provide clothing for our children. But, it isn’t our job to buy them the latest trends. So if they have something in mind they really want, they can write it down in the rewards section of their Chore Chart as bi-weekly or monthly rewards (your choice). Or they can buy themself when they save enough Chore Bucks.
12. A “no-chores ” pass. If you’d like, you can also include “No-Chores” passes—included in the Chores Toolkit Bundle— as part of their weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly rewards. Good news? These rewards won’t cost you a penny!
13. Favorite dessert. This is another great weekly reward. If your kids are anything like mine, they would do anything for baked goods, haha.
14. A small toy. Small toys are great go-to’s for weekly rewards. The best way to go about it is to set up a Chore Store, which is simply a box full of dollar store toys they can pick from every week.
15. $10 shopping spree (Dollar Store). For some rewards, the Dollar Store could be your best friend.
16. Art supplies. My son loves art! So most of his go-to rewards are art-related. Think about what your child likes to do and include some of those tools and supplies as options for chore rewards.
17. School supplies. School supplies are always needed, especially throughout the school year when they run out of things. Or, when they just simply want school supplies because they are, well… infatuated with them. I know I am!
18. Bubbles. Bubbles are a great chore reward for young children.
19. Chalk. This is another great weekly reward for kids who love chalk.
20. Go to mini-golf. Family outings of any kind are super fun. Put this on their chore chart reward and watch them check off that list faster than lighting.
21. Stay up past bedtime by 1 hour. This is every child’s wish so it is a great addition to the list.
22. Computer time. Limit their computer time by offering it in return for completing chores.
23. Bakery Date. I mean, come on! A trip to the bakery? Tell me the chores you need me to complete.
24. Science kit. Science kits are really popular these days. STEM projects, for instance, are great for developing math and science skills.
25. Favorite dinner. Making their favorite dinner and dessert makes for a simple, easy, and yummy chore reward.
26. Out to a favorite restaurant. If cooking is not your thing on Sundays. Go out to breakfast, lunch, or dinner to their favorite spot in celebration of chore completion.
27. Headphones. Most kids nowadays use headphones for school-related tasks and entertainment purposes. If they want a new set of headphones, they can request it in their Chore Chart Reward section at a bi-weekly or monthly price—some headphones can be really pricey.
28. Posters. If your child has been eyeing a poster for the bedroom of their favorite cartoon, singer, or sports player… they can request it upon completion of weekly or bi-weekly chores.
29. Sticker pack. These work great as weekly prices and Chore Stores.
30. Picnic. Our kids love going for a picnic from time to time at a nearby park. We all love it there. However, with the hustle and bustle of the week and even some weekends, we often opt out of going. Writing it down as part of a chores reward ensures we make it a priority to do so.
31. Backyard camp out. This is so much fun! Grab a tent, some snacks, flashlights, blankets, and enjoy some great family time outdoors.
33. Bath toys. Non-toxic bath toys make for great chore rewards, especially for younger kids.
34. TV Time. Okay, let’s face it… screen time is a real problem these days. Help reduce TV time by granting it as chore rewards, only.
35. DVD movie. DVDs are slowly fading away, but if your child collects them, then this is a good option.
36. Favorite cookies. Either home-baked or store-bought, who doesn’t love cookies as rewards.
37. Favorite chocolate/candy. Candy is often off-limits in our home most of the time. But, they can sure earn it.
38. Playdate. Completing chores and getting good grades is the perfect recipe to earn playdates.
39. Gift card. Gift cards to their favorite store/places make for great rewards, especially for older kids.
40. Coloring books. Easy, fun, and inexpensive. Again, buy a big pack and keep them handy for chore rewards, holiday baskets, stocking-stuffers, and more.
41. New shoes. Just like with clothes, if there is a pair of shoes they really want, completing chores and getting good grades could get them their dream shoes.
42. Sports equipment. Sports equipment is very costly, trust me I know! If there are new sports gadgets they want, write it down as a potential chore reward.
43. Trip to the zoo. Another great family trip.
44. Glow sticks. These are super fun and a perfect item for a Chore Store.
45. Glitter. If you are braver than I am you can opt to reward your kids with glitter.
46. Balls. Balls of all shapes as sizes are typically inexpensive and really fun.
47. Pretty blanket. Kids love blankets, so adding one to the rewards list will make a great incentive to get chores done.
48. Throw pillow. They have all kinds of cute pillows for kids, here are some great ones.
49. New cup. A cute cup always makes for a good chore reward.
50. New toothbrush. Just because it is recommended to change toothbrushes often, offer them as chore rewards from time to time.
★ Related Article:
- 5 Easy Steps for Creating a Chore Chart for Kids They Will Love
- The Best Reading Journal for Kids (Printable Download)
- 50 Family House Rules for Kids and Teens
Motherhood is a journey, not a destination. There are some guidelines to help us navigate through the way we raise them and the things we teach them, but nothing is set in stone.
Although we know that chores, in general, are incredibly beneficial for our children, the way we go about them is completely up to us.
I hope that these Chore Rewards Systems and Reward Ideas gave you something to think about.
Also, remember that the Chores Toolkit Bundle has all of the resources you need to help you implement everything we just spoke about, stress-free.
What chore reward ideas have you thought about including in your list?
Don’t forget to pin for later…