The Chores Chart Makes a Happy Five-Year Old

Hi, friends. We have found a way to bring our five-year-old into the family fold of chores in a way that she’s actually really excited about, and I want to share that with you!

“We Have a Sticker Chart at School!”

Six months ago or so, our oldest daughter started talking to me about a sticker chart. They had done this in preschool, but I don’t think she was really tuned in too much to it.

One day early in kindergarten this year, she started talking about wanting to do a sticker chart. And I thought, “Okay.” She is getting to the age where I feel like she can start participating more with chores. She has always been really sweet to offer help. And I have tried my very best to put my Type A aside and let her help me “fold” the laundry.

But we didn’t have anything to help organize and reward that behavior. Now, I don’t know if it’s the norm for kindergarten, I would assume it is common, but the teachers really use it well in her class.  They get stickers for behavior or for homework, or for pretty much anything that’s positive.  And a sticker, usually equals something bigger at the end of the week or at the month, or whatever.

So I Looked for a Chart We Could Use at Home

There were actually quite a few of them on Amazon. But we got this chart and I started writing her chores on there, and it has become this thing where she’s joyful to do her work. She does a lot of her chores now without me even needing to ask. It was kind of actually her idea, which is awesome….but I think it will work for most kids if introduced well.

I’m proud of her for telling me what gives her incentive, what makes her happy and what makes her tick. Naturally, I went to Amazon first. I did actually look around a little bit here in town.   I actually considered making my own, but I wanted something that I was going to be able to easily change from week to week. If I make my own, then I’m going to continue taking the time to produce them.

So I wanted something that was reusable, for sure. So I went to Amazon and I just searched “chore chart.” And boom, there was just a bunch of different options. And I’ll talk about the one just below first, the one that we have here. (These are affiliate links; we get a small commission if you purchase something). I went with it for two reasons: first, it’s magnetic and it sticks nicely to the fridge, and second, you use a dry-erase-type chalk marker.

This is the chore chart we use

Here are four others that I considered:

At the end of the week, we’re able to erase all the stars and start all over. And if I feel like adding a new chore in or taking one out, it’s easily done. So those were two of the bigger ones because I wanted to be able to specify the chores. Because this is going to be a living document, it’s going to change over time. And we also have a baby, and so eventually she’ll probably use it when she gets to be a little bit older and responds to stickers, or stars, in this case.

How It Looks for Us….

I like the way it looks. It kind of reminds me of school, I guess. I don’t know. Anyway, this is the one we ended up going with and we’ve been really happy with it so far. My next plan is to get like a six-pack of different colors so we can, you know, add in pinks and greens, and stuff like that because she likes bright colors. So that’s my next step. But obviously, as you can see, the one color works just fine.

…..And What to Put On It

When it came time to figure out what we wanted on the chore chart, that was actually maybe a little more difficult than I thought. I did go to Pinterest quite a bit and I Googled that, as well. Because she’s five and she’s definitely able to do quite a bit, but I also wanted to make sure that I’m giving her chores that she could do, that I’m not having to come along behind her and do behind her.

I do want there to be room for me to train her and to show her how to do things, but we also want to start with something that I know she’s going to be successful at. And as she gets older, you know, we’ll start to build on that, like vacuuming. We’ll get there, but it’ll be a process. So was our first draft.

We Started With Easy Chores to Give Her Quick Success…..

We picked things that we knew that she would be able to accomplish throughout the day because we wanted to build this momentum and build her confidence, and get her excited in it as she’s seeing things get checked off and she’s getting her stars. So for our five-year-old, we started with a daily routine that we wanted her to follow, and then we have extras.

On our daily routine, we have, “Get dressed. Make bed. Help with your sister. Keep your room clean. Take a bath. Eat all your meals,” and then, “Help with dishes.” So those are things that we want her to do on a daily basis.

……And This is Going to Evolve As She Grows

Now, it is my goal that eventually we will not even really have these up here. Because I am of the opinion that there are things that she will just do… Just like when I was a kid, there are things that she’ll do in this house that she’s not going to get paid for.

It’s just an expectation of living here, and it’s an expectation of our family, like making her bed. I’m not always going to pay her to make her bed because she needs to know to do that on her own. That’s just being a good steward and a good citizen of the home. At some point in time, that will be an expectation. And eating all your meals, I mean, come on now!

She’s a good eater, so I don’t need to reward her for that. But as I said, she’s still young and we want to train her where she understands that there are chores and there’s rewards that you can get. You know, we’ve got stars and stars equal a little bit of money at the end of the month. So like I said a little earlier, this is definitely a living document.

And as she gets older, this list will change and things like getting dressed and making your bed are not going to be a part of it. That’s just going to be expected from her. And then for extras, we have, “Take out the recycle. Clean the living room. Help clean the garage with Daddy. Help with the laundry or fully set the table.”

So those are things that are not happening every day. And in the middle of the week, we’re busy with school and stuff like that. It may or may not happen. And if it does, great. And if it doesn’t, it’s okay. It’s just these are extra things. And we also want her to know that there will be things on down the line, outside of the normal things we expect from her, that she can work to make money.

When She’s Older This Will Lead to Some Real Help for the Family

Like if Dad doesn’t want to pressure-wash the driveway when she gets older, “Well, I’ll pay you a couple bucks to do it.” Because that’s outside of sort of the normal being a good steward of the home type thing. So those are the extras. Now, as far as money and what she gets for all this, Steve and I put together a list before we figured out what we were going to give her at the end of the week.

And so we kind of scrambled a little bit and thought, “Ah, what are we going to do?” Because these daily things are eventually going to be things that we kind of just expect her to do, we wanted to focus more on the extras. We wanted her to understand she’s going to get more money for doing these extras than she will for the daily things.

So if she gets a star all seven days of the week, she gets a nickel for each row. And for the extras, she gets a quarter each. The other part of that is, we know that it’s not like, all of a sudden, she’s going to start doing every single one of those every single day.

It’s just that: a) we don’t have time and, b) she’s not quite old enough yet. Now, when she starts to connect the dots, we might have to change this up a little bit. But for now, it works out well. Because when she does an extra, she’s really proud of herself because she knows that that was something that really helps Mommy and Daddy.  That makes her proud. For now, we will pay her for these daily things. But long-term, we will start to change the way this looks and what we’re going to require of her, and the chores that she’ll be needing to do.

She’s Really Excited About This Chart!

As we started this process, she was really excited. Probably more excited, actually, than I realized. And there was one day, where she helped me with her baby sister. She actually was very helpful; even more than I was anticipating, and so she got two stars. And she was really excited, like very joyful.

And that encouraged her to want to do more. And then she’s asking, “Can I do this? Can I help?” You know, so it was good. The momentum was really good. So she got two stars for that day, which was awesome.

It Even Helps With Discipline

But then, there was a day when she had gotten a star.  I think it was helping with her sister. But then, as sometimes it tends to happen around dinner time, there was sort of a meltdown and the crazy pills starts to come out. And as a result she ended up getting a star removed because there was some stuff happening with her sister and she wasn’t listening.

I thought to myself, “I’m going to tell her I’m taking a star away,” and I did. And you would have thought that I had whooped her with a board or something. She was very, very upset. And she wanted to know how she could get the star back. And so I thought, “Oh, I have accidentally stumbled upon another way to help with discipline and help her kind of understand consequences of her actions.  And I can use this,” which was great.

Not too long ago, we did a blog post on punishment vs discipline. So this has been something that’s been really fresh in my mind. And so when I took the star away and she freaked out, it changed her behavior. And so it wasn’t intended, but I thought, “Okay. This is something that I can utilize to help with discipline if necessary.”

All Kids Need a Sense of Responsibility in the Home

I’m excited about where we’re going to go with it and what it’s helping teach our daughter, and I’m excited for the future. Because eventually, I’m going to be able to start giving her some of my work that can be part of her chores. Because honestly, I feel like it’s important for all kids, and I would be doing this if I had two boys.  It’s not girls, it’s not boys, it’s children in general.

Kids need to have a sense of responsibility within the home. It’s important because I want my kids to be able to have a clean home and understand that there are things that have to be done. Nobody likes cleaning the toilets. I don’t, but it needs to be done. And when you have your own home or if you rent your own apartment, it needs to be done.

And so these are things that we’re sowing for now, but we’re going to reap later, they will reap later. And so I’m excited about where this is going to lead and what that’s going to mean for them.

I hope you find this idea helpful for your littles!  If you have ideas about chores or chore charts, please share them in the comments section below!

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