Inside: Use this simple, customizable sticker chore chart to positively reward your child’s good behavior and discourage the whines and tantrums.

Little boy pushing laundry basket across the hardwood floor. | sticker chore chart

Frustrated, I put down my laundry basket and in a moment I’m not proud of, yell “GO. GET. DRESSED!”

And, as is typical when mean Mommy comes out, he starts to cry.

“Good going, mom” I chastise myself. “You’re no closer to your 5 year old being dressed for the day…and now you made him cry.”

I gather up this tiny little human and rub his back while profusely apologizing.

“I’m sorry buddy. I was frustrated that you weren’t listening, but it’s not okay that I yelled at you. What I should’ve said was ‘Buddy, I’m frustrated you’re not listening. Please go to your room and get dressed.’”

For centuries, it was customary for children to be seen and not heard, so I’m pretty sure my ancestors would balk at me being so authentic with my child.

But in current times, we don’t parent the way it’s been done for eons. We lean towards using words instead of anger, trying to teach our children how to act by showing them how to act. 

As Dave Ramsey says, “More is caught than taught.”

Little boy and his dad sweeping up the floor. | sticker chore chart

Why You Should Use a Sticker Chore Chart

Throughout the years, we’ve tried various discipline strategies. We’ve tried sticker chore charts, reward charts, positive recognition, reprimanding and one step away from bribing.

Often, what we try works really well, almost perfectly…for about 3 days. The 3 days after that, it works, but it’s like stirring molasses.

After that, forget it. After the thrill of the reward wears off, nothing at all will motivate good behavior.

What I like about sticker chore charts is how flexible they are. You can determine what behavior earns a sticker, how many stickers are needed for the prize and what the prize is.

This means there are infinite number of ways to use your sticker chore chart. When it starts to get old, you can quickly change it up to keep it exciting.

What Types of Chores Should You Include?

You may be wondering what types of chores you should include on your sticker chore chart. The answer is that it depends on your lifestyle and your child.

We tend to be laid back parents. My parenting goal is to raise kids that change the world. And the honest truth is that people who are polite and respect the system…don’t change the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I want my kids to help out around the house, and say “please” and “thank you”. I just don’t want politeness to be the only focus.

As such, what we include on our sticker chore chart might vary greatly from what you or others include. And that’s okay.

My husband and I each have one core value that is incredibly important to us. 

My core value is independent thinking (which is difficult to teach to a people-pleasing, social butterfly). My husband’s core value is integrity.

Obviously, we want our kids to grow up to be well-rounded adults that function in society, but our focus is that they are independent thinkers who act with integrity.

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What Chores We Include on our Sticker Chore Chart

Since our core values are independent thinking and integrity, we focus on teaching them the skills to live out those values.

We reward our 5-year-old for playing independently and give him a ton of time and attention to share his creations.

When he does something wrong, as long as he tells the truth, he isn’t punished. We just sit down with him and explain why it’s not a good idea.

If he’s lying and we know he’s lying, we give him many opportunities to tell the truth. We talk about what will happen if he lies and breaks our trust.

I encourage you to develop your own core values and use the sticker chore chart to reward your child when he or she acts out that value.

Here are some of the activities we include on our sticker chore chart:

  • Get dressed
  • Play independently
  • Empty clean silverware from dishwasher
  • Open curtains in the morning
  • Mop the kitchen floor
  • Put clothes away
  • Clean up room
  • Clean up playroom
  • Feed dogs
  • Fold towels
Little girl sweeping up flour off the floor. | sticker chore chart

How many chores are too many chores?

You might’ve looked at that list and thought “Your 5 year old does all of those things every single day??” 

And the answer is: Heck. No. 😂 

I could tell you that I want to encourage independent thinking and so I allow my 5-year-old to choose what chores he wants to do. 

This might be a little controversial, but the real reason I don’t make my kid do the same chores every day is…I’m tired of arguing. When we started our sticker chore chart, we sat down together with our 5-year-old and wrote up a list of chores he likes to do.

If changing it up and doing different chores every day makes life easier, I’m all for it. I don’t stress if I ask him if he’d like to empty the silverware and he says “No, thanks.”

I’m sure there are some parents who would freak at this disrespect. And I’m sure that as my child gets older, he’ll have more chores that are set in place.

But for now, in this season of life we’re in, I’m not going to fight. I’m going to praise and recognize anything he does to help out the family, even if it’s not the same thing every day.

You might like: 75+ Quick and Easy Activities for Kids to Do at Home

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Ideas of skills you can add to your sticker chore chart:

  • Personal care:
    • Get dressed
    • Brush teeth
    • Brush hair
  • Household management:
    • Empty trash cans
    • Set dinner table
    • Rinse dishes
    • Get mail from mailbox
    • Water plants
    • Put stamps on envelopes
    • Put away groceries
    • Feed pets
  • Laundry
    • Put dirty clothes in laundry basket
    • Bring laundry basket to laundry room
    • Fold laundry
    • Match socks
    • Take sheets off bed
  • Cleaning:
    • Clean up spills
    • Dust
    • Sweep or vacuum floors
  • Taking care of their things:
    • Pick up toys
    • Make bed
    • Clean up room
    • Put away clothes

Some of these chores your child can do by themselves, some they will need help with. The goal is for them to get accustomed to helping, then encourage them to be more independent as they get older.

Learn how to create a stay at home mom schedule that decreases the amount of overhelm and stress you feel in your life.

Little girl wearing yellow gloves and washing dishes. | sticker chore chart

Should You Print Out Your Sticker Chore Chart?

There are a ton of websites offering printable sticker chore charts…and I thought of doing the same. Only one problem.

I don’t print out a sticker chore chart or make it fancy. Heck, I don’t even use a ruler.

How to Create a Simple Sticker Chore Chart:

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a marker.
  2. Make boxes that are appropriately sized for the stickers.
  3. Add in as many grids or boxes as you want.

And done.

It may not look like a carefully crafted art project, but I do this for a reason.

Earlier, I told you that sometimes a sticker chore chart works for us…and sometimes it doesn’t.

One of the ways we keep the concept fresh is to mix it up when things start to get boring. 

We change up the rewards, the length of time and the amount of stickers needed to earn the reward. If he gets bored with long-term rewards, we switch it up to smaller prizes that only take a day or two to earn.

Sometimes the reward is candy; sometimes it a small toy I found at a garage sale. And sometimes the reward is one-on-one time with either parent.

We are consistent in rewarding his good behavior, but we mix it up when it comes to the rewards.

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