No more losing track or failing at your chore system! Chore sticks are so effective and easy, you won't believe it. The days of you being stumped to figure out chores for your kids are over!
A few little sticks could change your life… don't believe me? Keep reading!! If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen my magical chore sticks. For those who haven't yet, hold on to your seats because your mind is about to be blown! Well, maybe not blown…but I'm about to make your life 100 times easier, let's just say that.
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I've tried every chore chart on the planet. They all work well for a time, but then it fizzles out because I either lose track, get distracted, or it's too complicated and just isn't sustainable long-term. In continuously working to simplify my life, I ditched the complicated charts a while ago and created a chore stick method that not only works BETTER than the chore charts I've used but is much easier to manage!
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Alright, watch the video online HERE or keep scrolling to watch all about our chore sticks below:
Sounds pretty easy, right? Let's get on to the summary already!
SO WHAT ARE CHORE STICKS?
Oh, come on! This is too easy! A bunch of popsicle sticks with chores written on them. Yep. That's it. They are amazing because it is sometimes hard to think of chores on the spot when I just need them to be helping me out! They make chores automatic.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN CHORE STICKS
Grab a bunch of popsicle sticks and a permanent marker! Colored sticks are always fun, but if you've got plain, then use them. You can also use colored sticks if you want to color-code them by age. Write down all the chores that your kids usually do (or you would like them to do) on the sticks.
Try to write the chore as close to one end as possible and leave white space on the other end so that your kids sneak a peek and try to get out of doing their least favorite chores.
Once you have all your sticks done, put them in a cup or jar. Feel free to get cutesy, but I go with what's easiest! When it's time for them to do their chores, they close their eyes and pick a stick out of the jar. Then they have to do that chore no matter what!
Each kid has their own empty cup that they put their chore stick in when they finish. This is a great way for them to keep tabs on how many they've done that week. Once the week is over, we'll put them all in the jar and start over the next week!
HOW TO REGULATE CHORE STICKS
You want to make sure that your kids are capable of doing whatever chore stick they pull. If you have kids of different ability levels, you could make two different batches of chore sticks with different types of chores on them. You could also color code the chores based on difficulty—either with colored sticks or colored permanent markers.
There are only two exceptions that would allow for them to pick a different chore stick… if the chore has been done recently or if chores need to be done in a certain order. For example, floors need to be swept before they're mopped. If they draw a mopping stick but the floors haven't been swept, then either let them pick a new one or swap it for a sweeping stick. You could also easily remove the sticks that need to be done in a certain order and add them back in once the others have been done.
There are so. many. chores. that you could write down on your chore sticks! Lucky for you, we've got a great list of age appropriate chores that kids can do. We suggest that for chore sticks, you don't focus on the basics that kids should be doing every day anyway, like making their bed and cleaning their room… that's already on their daily clipboard responsibilities.
HERE ARE A FEW OF OUR CHORE STICKS
- Fold laundry
- Clean bathroom mirrors
- Dishes (empty/load dishwasher or help dry dishes that are being washed)
- Clean the windows
- Feed the animals
- Water the animals
- Disinfect doorknobs
- Pick up coats and shoes in the mudroom
- Pick up toys in the playroom
- Wipe down kitchen chairs
- Wipe down sinks
- Wipe off counters
- Steam mop
- Wipe out the bathtubs
- Refill toilet paper
- Wipe down kitchen cabinets
Some of these are broader, such as vacuuming, mopping, or cleaning toilets. I have my chore sticks broken down by floor, since we have a basement, first and second floors in our house. You could also break them down by room. Do whatever works best for your house and your family!
TIPS TO MAKE CHORE STICKS SUCCESSFUL
I not only use these chore sticks to keep up with our insane messes but most importantly, they help train my kids to work hard and clean! Here are a few tips that will help make the most out of your chore sticks:
- Make it Fun – When it's chore time, we grab our disco ball speaker, throw some fun music on, let them pick their chore sticks, and get to it.
- Challenge Your Kids – You'll never know if they can do something until they try. Show them how to do it a few times and then let them figure out their own way that works best for them.
- Don't Underestimate Age – Sure, they may not know how to fold clothes, but teach them! Even kids under 2 can help wipe down glass doors.
- Don't Criticize – They're young, so you can't expect them to do a perfect job! If you feel the need to go behind them and tidy up a little, do it when they're not looking. (Obviously, if they're doing a poor job on purpose to get out of it, then have a talk with them. But be happy that they worked hard at it when they try their best!)
- Be Consistent – Set a goal to have your kids do a certain amount of chore sticks and stay on top of it! That could be one in the morning and one in the afternoon, once a day, or whatever works for you.
- Use as a Consequence – Feel free to use these as an impromptu consequence! I'll tell them to grab a stick and get to it when they're talking back, being sassy, fighting, or just plain bored. That helps take their focus off what they were doing and puts it on something else long enough to get them out of that mood.
- Use Kid-Friendly Cleaners – Pretty much all of the products I use to clean my house are kid-friendly, so I have no worries about my kids using them!
Easy peasy, right? Sometimes it's the simplest concepts that work the best. No, your house won't be professionally cleaned. They are kids, after all. But the important thing is teaching your kids the value of hard work, pitching in, and cleaning up after themselves (and others).
HOW TO TAKE THEM THE EXTRA MILE
My clipboard system is king at keeping up with chores. The kids check their boxes off when they finish. That way, I can easily see that they've completed them!
Now let's talk benefits real quick. If you believe in giving your kids an allowance (which you totes don't have to, by the way!), then I've got a great resource for you. It will give you insight into the method of my madness, plus answer the common burning question of how much to pay and when.
Alright, well, what do you think? How does your family manage chores? What chores do your kids do? How old do you think is old enough to help around the house? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!
And if that's not enough for you, here's an alternative idea… BORED STICKS! Check out more info on how we use these to combat the dreaded B word. Boredom.
Want some more great posts for kids?
- We've rounded up the biggest list of online resources for kids that are great for supplemental learning at home!
- Use my incredibly simple behavior chart method with free printable if you've been having a rough patch with your kids.
- Teach your kids to cook with an at home cooking class!
Happy chore stick-making!
Haha! I’m going to make these sticks for myself and as my kids get older (19 months and one on the way) phase them into it!
Great post! I’m curious if you still do this and how you tie it in with allowances. I’d love an update and see what’s worked for you. Thanks!
My kids are a10,11 and 15 We used to do this chore stick system a little, and then for the past three years I switch to chore areas and the chore area changes every day and every week so that you don’t have the same chore on the same day every week. While that has worked really well it’s just getting old so we are looking for something new. So I am considering going back to the chore sticks. However my problem with that is if they pull out the stick that says mop then I want someone else to have the stick that says sweep. So I guess you have to be careful about chores That rely on each other to be done before one can be started
Your other chore method is such a good idea, thanks for sharing! I know your chore stick dilemma! What I usually do is if somebody pulls out mop and nobody pulls out sweep, then I’ll sweep real quick before my cute kid mops. Or I’ll give them the option to sweep AND mop for bonus points. Team work makes the dream work, right?!