Work for Hire

Ah, the subject of chores. We’ve tried chore charts in the past, and I just wasn’t good at staying committed to them. But throw in an extra holiday where the kids are home and stuck inside because it’s just been too wet to do anything outside, and watching them throw things here and there… I had had enough.  I was sure we had rats in the house when I found food wrappers in the couch cushions, not to mention the clothes all over the floor, and toys strewn all over the place (Stepping on Legos in the middle of the night. Who’s been through that hell?) So I had an epiphany and decided that I needed some help around the house! Imagine that. I need help!! (I’m finding more often that it’s OK to admit this.) So, I enlisted their help and we cleaned for the better part of their day off… or tried to, at least. It was much like going to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned while eating Oreos. The struggle was real. So I searched on Pinterest for “chore charts” and just like everything else on Pinterest, I was overwhelmed with ideas. Do you pay them for chores? What kind of chores are age appropriate? What happens if they don’t do what they’re asked? There are several free printable chore charts out there that you can customize, as well as lists of age-appropriate chores.

After digging around, I found this link to a chore picture chart. Although my kiddos can read, I am a visual person, and I like pictures. So I took some of the pictures and created individual chore charts. Ta da.


The days of the week that they are responsible for each chore is marked with a star.


I’m going to ease them into this idea of actually helping around the house. We can’t be drill sergeants the first day or they’ll hate me forever. So we have basic, very easy to complete items on their everyday chore lists. I didn’t put get dressed or brush your teeth as a chore, because c’mon. Those are givens. I’m not going to pat them on the back for putting clothes on. But items like make their bed, pick up toys around the house, put their dirty clothes in the hamper, load the dishwasher, etc. are things that are expected of them, daily, without getting paid. Yes, without getting paid. They live in this house and have everything they could possibly need or want, so they can give back and help out without a monetary prize. However, I do have “Work for Hire” chores that they can get paid for. These are things that I just don’t want to do. *wink* Like pick up limbs in the yard. I will wow them with ten whole dollars if they will get all of the fallen limbs from our front yard to our back yard limb pile. We live on several acres, so this not an easy feat. And don’t tell them, but I’d pay them more than $10. Now they can’t pick a Work for Hire chore if they haven’t completed their other daily chores. See how that works? If they want the cash, they have to be responsible in the first place.


Now their school has a color system for being good throughout the day. Green, yellow, orange and red.  When they’re on green, they’re rewarded with TV/Wii/iPad time at home. They have an hour to pick and choose what they would like to do. And I know it’s hard for their little bodies to sit still all day and be quiet. I get it. And often times than not, my son gets on yellow for talking when he’s not supposed to. Because, he talks all. the. time. But to take away his game time at home isn’t the worst thing in the world. The boy could use some less time playing Minecraft. He was on yellow today, and instead of playing on the iPad, he’s making up his own songs on the piano as I type this. Win. Win. 

So, we’ll see how this new system goes and if I can stick with it. What are your tips for running a successful chore system? I’d love to hear them!

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