I grew up with 13 siblings, and checklists and chore charts were a big part of our lives. It was either that or complete chaos; there was no in-between for my parents.
We woke up every Saturday at 8AM, ate a big breakfast, and got to work on our chores. Each of us had a chore to do inside the house (my sister and I were usually tasked with scrubbing the floors), and in the afternoon we all helped with yard work.
Eventually, we even ‘improved’ on my mom’s processes and started creating our own. For example, the older kids all helped clean up after dinner, so we devised a system for who completed which task. Someone had to clear the plates, another had to wash the the pots and pans (the worst job), one of us loaded the dishwasher, and the last person wiped the table and swept the floor.
Looking back on it now, I don’t know how we could have done it without those checklists my mom created. I even implemented them with my wife when we got married to be sure we made the most of our Saturdays.
The framework below will help you create step-by-step checklists for each daily, weekly and monthly household task. You can use them to teach kids the proper way to do each chore, or use them for yourself like I did!
The Magic of Chore Checklists
Organizing with checklists not only saves time, it also comes with several other benefits you may have not realized. Here are a few reasons why chore checklists are so beneficial.
- Fewer decisions to make – We all have a limited amount of decision making power to use each day. Why waste it on deciding which chore to do next?
- Eliminates “I can’t” from your child’s vocabulary – If your child is having trouble with a chore, a checklist makes it much easier to isolate the problem and help them. For example, if Johnny is putting away laundry and delivers it to the wrong rooms, you know exactly which step to clarify instead of just listening to him say he “can’t do it.”
- No Guessing Games – There’s much less confusion about what “clean the bathroom” means when you have something in writing. Don’t assume your kids can read your mind. What you consider and what they consider part of cleaning the bathroom could be two very different things. A detailed checklist eliminates the guesswork.
Tips for Creating Chore Checklists
It’s not enough to simply list out the chores you want your children to complete. Kids (and most adults) will do a better job of completing chores if they have a detailed process to follow. Here are a few tips for creating chore checklists.
- Write out each step and make descriptions short as possible.
- If a chore requires a decision, create a yes or no or flowchart.
- Be sure to list chores in the order you want them done.
- Don’t forget to add the frequency and the days each task needs to be done.
- Set aside ample time to teach your child each step of the process. Then, do the chore together until they get it. Some chores may take only once, more complex chores might require a few times.
Here’s an example for a quick checklist on shaking out the rugs weekly.
Shakeout the rugs
*Do this weekly on Saturdays after lunch.
*Do this for these rugs: front door, back door, door from the garage.
- Pick up the rug on the two shortest sides so you don’t spill dirt on the floor.
- Carry the rugs to the back door.
- Walk outside and shake the rug off the end of the porch.
- Once finished, put the rug back in line with the door.
Chore Checklist Starter List
Checklists can be created for any chore and any age. Here’s a list of common chores to help get you started.
- Folding and putting away laundry
- Cleaning the kitchen
- Cleaning up after yourself at the table
- Animal poo patrol
- Animal maintenance and feeding
- Meal planning and grocery shopping
- Meal prep (Kids can help with this too! Have them fill bags with ingredients.)
- Cleaning the floors
- Watering the plants
- Cleaning bedrooms
- Cleaning bathrooms
- Shaking out the rugs
- Yard work
Remember, the time you spend creating your chore checklists upfront will save you hours in the weeks to come. Don’t put it off! Document each chore as you do it and create your checklists today!
Article By: Joel W