Are you looking for a system to teach your kids responsibility, fight entitlement and get a taste of how the real world works?
In 2017, I implemented our magnetic chore chart system to instill good values while my kids were young and it’s been working like a charm ever since. Over the years I’ve had a lot of friends ask me to share the entire process so that they can implement it with their kids too. So today, friends, I’m going to give you all the details so you can make your own DIY magnetic chore chart.
I have to admit that while I am creative, I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as “crafty.” Rarely do I get inspired to tackle a big DIY project, but this project had an important purpose and, fortunately, is super easy. So if you’re allergic to crafts or want a simple, time-saving solution, you’ll love the customizable chore chart and work for hire card system.
How to Make a DIY Magnetic Chore Chart
1. Get Your Free Customizable Chore Chart Template & Work For Hire Cards
First, sign up to get access to my customizable chore chart templates and work for hire cards.
Customizable Chore Charts &
Work For Hire Cards
+ GET ACCESS TO OUR ENTIRE LIBRARY OF RESOURCES
Instead of giving you a static printable that limits your design possibilities, I’m actually giving you access to my file that I created in a free design tool called Canva so that you can make a copy and edit it to your heart’s content.
If you’ve never used Canva before you may need to sign up, but don’t worry it’s free and easy to use!
2. Edit & Customize
If you love the design I created already, you can just swap out the name with your child’s and update the text to age-appropriate types of chores. But if you want to change the colors, fonts and more you can edit the file easily!
Example of Chores (Unpaid expectations)
The most important part is to set tasks that meet your family’s and child’s needs. Here’s an example of the unpaid expectations we set for our elementary age kids, ages 5 and 8:
- Brush Teeth & Hair
- Get Dressed
- Make Bed
- Eat Breakfast
- Take Vitamin
- Homework + Read 15 Minutes
- Pack Lunch & Backpack
- Set Out School Clothes
- Shower + Put on PJs
- Brush Teeth
- Pick Up Toys & Tidy Room
- Read Bible Story & Pray
- Fold & Hang Laundry (We added this later as our kids got older)
Note: If you want this system to grow with your kids as they age, feel free to leave the chores blank, laminate the chart and then use a wet erase marker to write them in.
Example of Chores (Unpaid expectations)
Every family is unique, so I want you to customize the chores or jobs in which you plan to pay your kid(s). I’ll share the commission-based chores we set for our elementary age kids.
Just remember, some of these may work for your children as expectations, or these might be too advanced for your kids. Make it work for your child and family.
$0.10 Per Task
- Feed Dog
$0.25 Per Task
- Load Dishwasher
- Unload Dishwasher
- Wipe Kitchen Counters & Dining Table
- Tidy Living Room & Wipe Surfaces
$0.50 Per Task
- Sweep Downstairs
- Mop Downstairs
- Take Out Trash
- Vacuum Living Room
- Scrub Bathroom Counter, Sink & Mirror
$1.00 Per Task
- Vacuum Upstairs
- Sweet & Mop Bathroom
- Scrub Toilet & Bathtub
- Vacuum Out Car
$3.00 Per Task
- Scoop Poop
- Wash Outside of Car
We printed multiple copies of the same card and treated them like money. For example, the dog needs to be fed 14 times per week, so we printed 14 feed the dog cards. The trash might need to be taken out 2 or 3 times in the week, so we printed 4 of those. (To have an extra – just in case.)
In section 5 below, I’ll talk about why I print multiples and how we keep track of completed tasks.
3. Print, Laminate & Cut
Next, it’s time to print out the customized chore chart templates and work for hire cards. You can do this on your printer from home or go to your local office store.
We don’t have a color printer handy so I took it to the store and also had them laminated at the same time. Laminating is completely optional, but I found that our system has worked for several years now because the charts and work for hire cards were laminated.
If you don’t opt for lamination, just make sure the charts and cards are hung up properly and well-taken care of so that it lasts a long time.
Once they’re printed and laminated I cut out the work for hire cards so the kids would think about them like cash.
4. Buy Two Magnetic Boards
We found ours at our local IKEA for $12.99 each. The dimensions are 14 ½ x 30 ¾ inches. These boards are not dry erase friendly. You can only use them as a bulletin board. You can also order them online, but shipping isn’t always cheap depending on where you live.
Here are some comparable options on Amazon:
- 17.5″ x 12″ Magnetic Board – This one is slightly smaller but closest I could find price-wise.
- 14″ x 30″ SteelMaster Magnetic Board – This one is double the price of IKEA but is identical in size. This board also includes a 4 x 6 inch dry erase pad, a dry erase pen with a magnet cap and eraser, and 6 magnets.
If you’re looking for a free solution, use your refrigerator!
5. Purchase Magnets
The bull clips hold our work for hire cards and use the push pin magnets to “check off” each chore as the kids complete them each day.
6. Get Envelopes
To keep track of the tasks the kids completed, we used a bull clip and added an envelope next to the kids’ chore charts.
Any time your child completes a chore, they can notify a parent and then place the commission card in their envelope. Instead of paying out daily, we set Sundays as payday, but you can pick a day that works best for you.
On payday, your child can bring their envelopes to you and together you can add the totals of their cards. You pay them in cash or electronically transfer money from your bank into their savings account and hang the cards back up.
Alternatively, you could use a piece of paper or journal instead. When a parent confirms a task was completed, that parent could write down the task name, date, payout amount and sign off.
6. Put It All Together!
The last step is to hang up your boards, put up your customizable chore charts and work for hire cards and add the magnets.
Voila! Your DIY magnetic chore charts are in place.
How This Chore Chart System Works
I’m a firm believer in raising grateful kids in an entitled world; that’s why we break up chores into two categories – expectations and commissions.
Expectations (Chores Without Pay)
Expectations are a set of tasks the kids required to do every day without pay. Having expectation-based tasks teaches kids to help and contribute to the family because it’s the right thing to do, not because you get something in return.
If the kids fail to complete their daily expectations, there are logical consequences.
Taking away screen-time minutes for the next day seems to work best for us. However, you could limit or take away other toys or activities that are meaningful to your child. When you put this system into practice and consistently enforce the consequences, it teaches your kids that TV’s, tablets, computers, video games, their toys, or other activities are all privileges they earn, not deserve.
Alternatively, you could implement a reward system where they earn points for consistently completing expectations. Once they reach a certain number of points, they can redeem them for prizes like lunch with mom at school, going to see a movie, having a friend sleep over, etc.
When implementing this for yourself, consider what works for your child. Do they respond better to incentives or consequences? Also, we’d the method you can keep track of and follow through with consistently.
Consistency is key.
Commissions (Chores With Pay)
Commissions are optional tasks the kids are welcome to complete each week as earn money. Commission-based tasks teach kids the value of working for your money and how to save for things they want.
The consequence of not doing commission-based tasks is a natural one. You can’t buy things you want because you didn’t work for it (just like the real world).
My husband and I try not to buy the kids toys or games other than at Christmas, their birthday or other special occasions. So it’s up to them to earn money if they have their eye on something.
My 6YO has been saving for at least merely months for an American Girl Doll. She already has $75 saved and will not spend that money on other things she wants because she has her eye set on that doll.
There are times when she doesn’t feel motivated to work, so she doesn’t, and she doesn’t get paid. Then there are other seasons that she remembers why she’s saving, and she works non-stop to earn more. She’s even asked other friends and family members if she can help around their house to earn money because she’s saving for a doll.
If I chose to give a set allowance every month, I feel that we wouldn’t be as diligent in checking the quality of her work. In essence, she could slack off and still get paid. That’s not the value system I want to instill in her.
After consistently using this system, I can honestly say IT WORKS!
Give It a Try
If you try the system and implement it in your own home, be sure to share it on social media, tag me @hellosensible and use the hashtag #hellosensiblelife. I’d love to see how it’s working for you!
P.S. – Don’t forget to sign up and get access to my customizable chore chart templates and work for hire cards!