Jackie’s Long List of Chores

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | September 20, 2012

Chores teach lifelong skills and values that cannot be bought.


  • The word ‘Chore’ can be changed to: Duty, Task, Obligation, Service, Work, Toil, Job or Responsibility. Pick a word! Simply changing the word chore may elevate it from a drudgery to a self-respectable service and may make it more palatable.
  • This is only a list of possible chores for children. It is only to be used to get ideas. Not every family will have a particular chore.  Overburdening any child would be counterproductive.
  • Start young or start now. Many parents choose to start chores with toddlers and give rewards that can translate easily to allowance. Your own work is rewarded with pay that you earn.
  • Young children can use a picture to show a particular chore when they cannot read. Cut a picture from a magazine and glue it to a 3”x5” card or chore chart. When the child sees a picture of a toy box, they know it means time to pick up their toys and put them away.
  • Parents are responsible to make sure the chores are age appropriate. You would not ask a four-year-old to mow the grass or a toddler to change their infant sibling’s diaper.
  • Chores are not a punishment. We all do chores as a valued member of the household. We share the work and later share the fun.
  • School comes first; limit the number of chores during school to avoid unnecessary clashes between parent, child and school. Valuing school sets a strong example for children to follow.
  • Rotating chores will ensure everyone eventually learns to do all the chores. Rotation shares the dirty, less desirable chores and also prevents boredom.
  • Allow children to ‘pay’ a sibling to do a chore for them. This teaches negotiation skills they will use later in life in many situations.
  • Recognize children’s accomplishment and contribution before, during and after.
  • Be liberal with time limit; allow children to work at their own pace by setting a finite day and time for the chore to be completed.
  • Allow a child ownership of a specific chore if it suits them. One child may love the outdoors while another may have allergies and prefer to work inside during highest pollen during the spring and fall.
  • Many parents give allowance only after chores are completed. This is preparation for the adult work world experience.
  • Teach proper safety and handling to be used with all tools, machinery and chemicals; never assume they know. (Tools, machinery and chemicals include but are not limited to: washers, dryers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, toasters, microwaves, brooms, rakes, hammers, lawn mowers, snow blowers, leaf blowers, screwdrivers, etc.) Even a simple broom can be dangerous if waved upwards in fun. A bucket of mop water can drown a small child and an electrical outlet can kill if not used properly. Cleaning chemicals used improperly can damage property and injure or kill people. Accidents can happen so teach safety first!
  • Chores may be discussed regularly at family meetings. Be open to suggestions; your child may have a great idea for doing a chore differently that would make the work go faster. Listen to complaints; maybe your child struggles with a particular chore. You can also use the family meeting time to dole chores out so there are no surprises later.
  • Provide with a chore chart if needed. Another option is a 3×5 index card with a chore and directions written on it then given to a child. When the chore is completed the card is returned to the parent.
  • Ninety-nine percent of human beings do not like or appreciate chores! Make it as much fun as possible and keep it positive and upbeat. Build in rewards; positive reinforcement is a great tool!


Chores serve to teach children:

  • How to be self sufficient
  • A healthy work ethic
  • To value and appreciate others
  • Kindness of others
  • Better time-management
  • To problem-solve
  • Cooperation
  • Responsibility
  • Life skills

Children who do chores may feel more:

  • Connected as a family member or bonded to others in the household
  • Valued for their contribution as a person and family member
  • Self-satisfaction upon completing a chore
  • Positive self esteem
  • Self-reliant

Children who do chores may increase in:

  • Cleanliness being appreciated as the norm
  • Awareness of the efforts of others
  • Well-roundedness
  • Independence earlier
  • Their taking the initiative
  • Self-discipline
  • Their know-how and abilities
  • Gratitude
  • Time spent busy with positive and productive activities
  • A can-do attitude
  • Understanding of rewards and penalties

Children doing chores may decrease:

  • One person being overburdened
  • The feeling of entitlement
  • The need for instant gratification
  • Dependence
  • Disobedience



  • Do homework
  • Collect schoolwork
  • Get lunch or lunch money
  • Jacket, sweater
  • Notes, letters, forms for school (Make sure everything was signed)
  • Papers to parents, forms, notes
  • Clean out backpack


  • Make bed
  • Put away toys
  • Return books to library
  • Take clothes and linens to laundry
  • Straighten closet
  • Turn mattress
  • Wash curtains
  • Clean under bed
  • Organize personal items: games, hobbies, books, etc.
  • Clean shoes, polish
  • Clean out backpack
  • Clean out gym bag
  • Clean out closet, discard or recycle ill-fitting clothes
  • Practice piano, violin, guitar, etc.
  • Put sports equipment away


  • Grocery shopping list (add items to list before they are empty)
  • Clip and file coupons
  • Carry groceries from car/van
  • Put away groceries
  • Help with cooking, (peeling, slicing, dicing, cutting, stirring, etc.)
  • Set the table
  • Fill Napkin holder
  • Fill condiment containers (salt, pepper, catsup, mustard, etc.)
  • Fill dishwasher and/or wash dishes
  • Fill soap dispenser
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Clean toaster (coffee pot, blender, food processor, etc.)
  • Clean stove top, fan, vent and hood
  • Clean oven
  • Clean microwave
  • Wipe spills and crumbs from refrigerator
  • Wash trash can
  • Dust under refrigerator, carefully clean fan & coils
  • Clean out drawers, wash silverware tray
  • Polish silverware
  • Wash cabinets
  • Wash refrigerator sides and doors
  • Clean under sink
  • Change water filter


  • Bring in mail, newspapers
  • Sort recyclables
  • Take out trash
  • Take out recyclables
  • Tie up newspapers
  • Sweep
  • Vacuum floors
  • Vacuum stairs
  • Vacuum furniture
  • Change full vacuum bag
  • Clean and sanitize telephones
  • Clean and sanitize door knobs
  • Clean the front door
  • Change air filter for air conditioner and furnace
  • Shampoo carpet
  • Mop
  • Dust blinds
  • Dust furniture, photos and brick-a-brack
  • Clean computer desk and sanitize keyboard
  • Clean TV screen, photo glass
  • Put movies and games in their cases and put away
  • Dust and wipe cable box, VCR player, DVD player, stereo, game equipment
  • Polish furniture
  • Wash windows
  • Clean window sills
  • Clean light fixtures, lamps, globes
  • Clean or dust ceiling fans
  • Clean baseboards
  • Wash or clean curtains
  • Clean cobwebs
  • Plants: water, fertilizer
  • Clean out fireplace


  • Clean sink
  • Clean toilet bowl, replace deodorizer
  • Clean bathtub/shower
  • Wipe down countertop
  • Refill toilet paper
  • Refill paper cups
  • Refill soap dispenser
  • Shake rugs
  • Wash rugs
  • Vacuum
  • Straighten drawers and cabinets
  • Mop
  • Clean mirrors
  • Clean window
  • Clean and sanitize kids’ bath toys
  • Clean shower door, shower curtain
  • Polish porcelain tile, countertops


  • Collect laundry
  • Wash laundry
  • Hang laundry out to dry
  • Dry laundry
  • Fold laundry
  • Put away laundry
  • Wipe down washer and dryer
  • Clean dryer vent hose
  • Mend clothes, sew buttons


  • Pay bills
  • File paperwork, school documents, etc.
  • Empty trash
  • Shred confidential papers
  • Recycle shredded paper in packages and gifts
  • Clean and sanitize telephones
  • Dust, vacuum
  • Straighten shelves
  • Clean keyboard, sanitize
  • Fill printer, copier, etc. with paper
  • Do maintenance on machines, replace dust covers
  • Recycle paper, newspapers
  • Recycle magazines; place in various locations, use in school projects or crafts
  • Recycle ink cartridges


  • Wash bowls and fill with water and food
  • Walk (exercise) dog or other pet
  • Clean cage (bird, hamster, etc.)
  • Change kitty litter, wash tray
  • Medication: worm pills, flea control, any other medications
  • Brush/groom pet
  • Bathe dog, cat, etc.


  • Vacuum interior and trunk
  • Remove litter
  • Wash car/van
  • Polish car/van
  • Wash Windows
  • Rain-x windows
  • Clean headlights and turn signal covers
  • Change oil
  • Change Wiper Blades


  • Mow the grass
  • Trim around bushes, plants, sidewalks
  • Sharpen mower blades, do maintenance
  • Fill birdfeeder
  • Feed squirrels
  • Plant flowers, bushes, etc.
  • Seed the grass
  • Fertilize
  • Rake leaves, pick up branches, twigs, etc.
  • Empty standing containers of water (mosquitoes)
  • Check play equipment
  • Tool care: clean. Straighten and do maintenance
  • Shovel snow

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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2 Responses to Jackie’s Long List of Chores

  1. Pingback: Know-It-All Moms Get Little Help | Soup to Nuts

  2. Pingback: Get Children To Be Responsible For Their Room | Soup to Nuts

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