How to Set Up Chore Jars for Kids

by Nathan Fisher

As a parent, teaching your children responsibility is one of your primary jobs. As much as they may protest the process, having your kids perform regular household chores is one of the better ways to instill them with a sense of responsibility. To make the process as painless as possible, for both you and your children, you can set up chore jars to make job assignments, fun, fair and consistent.

Create age-appropriate chore jars for each child. For example, a chore suitable for a 15 year old, like cleaning the attic, wouldn’t be appropriate for a 6 year old.

Make two chore jars for each child: one jar for uncompleted chores and another jar for finished tasks. You can use any unbreakable plastic containers, such as mayonnaise or peanut butter jars, or empty coffee cans. Wash the containers and remove the labels with a dish scrubber, if necessary.

Cut new labels for the chore jars from pieces of construction paper to fit the height of each jar. If the container is clear, you will want the labels to cover the entire outside of the jar, so the children can’t see inside the container. Write “To Do” on one label and “Completed” on the second label with a felt-tip pen. Attach the labels to the outside of the chore jars with child-safe glue.

Write the name of each different chore on separate tongue depressors or craft sticks with the felt-tip pen. As examples, write “take out trash,” “walk dog” or “wash dishes” on different sticks.

Place each child’s chore sticks in their “To Do” chore jar. Have your children select one or more sticks daily or weekly; whatever chores they pull from the jar is their responsibility for that day or week.

Place the sticks for the completed chores in the “Completed” chore jar. Once all the chores have been finished, move all the chore sticks back to the “To Do” chore jar, to be done again.

Items you will need

  • 2 empty jars per child
  • Dish scrubber
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Felt-tip pen
  • Child-safe glue
  • Tongue depressors or craft sticks


  • To help inspire enthusiasm and cooperation, have your children help make the chore jars.
  • Rather than just giving your kids an allowance, assign a monetary value to each chore to help encourage children to do more work. Make the value appropriate to the chore and child’s age range. You may need to set a weekly monetary limit so you don’t go broke. Alternatively, hand out “privilege coupons,” which grant the children additional benefits, such as an extra 30 minutes of TV, instead of money, for each completed task.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images