Chore cards: a creative way to break down the chore list



My daughter finds chore lists daunting, so I came up with the idea of creating chore cards: one chore per 3×5 index card. Somehow flipping through a pack of cards feels more doable than going down a list. (Great use for my laminating machine.)

I figured I'd Google to see if anyone else has done this, and I happened upon this amazing post, complete with printable cards and a description of how this family uses them. The beauty of the Internet.


  1. Asha Dornfest says

    Um, wow. Always knew you were a penultimate Parenthacker, but…wow. Will be linking your post up front later today! I love when one post leads to another like this.

  2. Jen DW says

    My mom did this when my sisters and I were little. On big cleaning days, she’d bring out a pack of pre-written index cards and lay out the chores that needed to be done. We got to pick which one to do, which meant that we usually didn’t have to do the jobs we hated most. Some jobs were little, some were big, and it didn’t matter how many you did, you just always had to come get a new card when you’d finished another. When all the cards were flipped over, we were done.

  3. says

    Hi Asha,
    I just stumbled upon this now and my question is this: Did the kids stick with it? I feel like my kids would be excited about this for a day or two and then as soon as they realized it still made them do their chores, just not do them, cards or no. How’d it work out over time? Thanks! – Carol

  4. says

    Great question. It worked…but the roadblock in the whole scenario was my lack of consistency in following up. When I didn’t remind her about the cards, she’d forget the whole shebang.

    My daughter can now read and uses a list, and I am MUCH better about directing her to the list. But it has been a long, slow process. Very gradual. As in, she has to get one responsibility pretty much down before I add another.

  5. says

    Hi Asha,

    Thanks for your honesty. I’m always amazed at kids who can be told “get ready for bed” or “get ready for school”, and instantly understand and then perform all the tasks involved in accomplishing those goals.

    I hate having to remind my kids to stick to the routine, but if I don’t, we ALL have a bad morning. It’s good to hear that other kids’ are slow adopters too :)

  6. says

    Re: being amazed by kids who “get it” quickly: me too! Neither of my kids do, despite their different styles (one is often a contrarian and button-pusher, the other generally wants to help and do as I ask).

    And guess what? I’m terrible about following/remembering routines myself! It’s a neurological skill, subject to the same differences in timeline as every other learned behavior. But the fact that we are both encouraging our kids to develop this skill bodes well, I think.