Chore Buckets – Teaching Kids to Do Their Chores Without Complaining

Getting children to do their chores without complaining can be quite the task.  Over the course of the years, I’ve read several hundred different ideas of how to accomplish this goal.  Let me tell you – there are as many different views on this subject as their are people willing to write their views down.  If you don’t like what one person has to say, switch to another and you’ll find a completely different answer.  Part of this is because everyone’s parenting style is a little bit different (or sometimes a lot a bit different) and part of it is because kids learn differently.  So, while the method I am going to tell you about today, the method that we use in our house, might work for your family, it also might not.  All that I know for sure, is that, so far at least, **knock on wood** it is working in my family.  It’s called The Chore Bucket!


What You’ll Need to Get

  • 2 buckets per child + 1 additional bucket
  • popsicle sticks
  • A Sharpie
  • A reward chart – this doesn’t have to be something fancy.  A piece of paper with a column for each child would work just fine.



How You’ll Need to Prep

  1. Label your buckets.  For each child you’ll need a bucket that is for “To-Do” and a bucket that is for “Done”.  You can label these as you please – using names, or color coded – writing with the sharpie or cutting the vinyl letters using a cricut machine.  The additional bucket you’ll want to label “Extras” or “Optional” or “More” or whatever term you choose for these sticks.
  2. Assign your chores.  Determine what chores you want your kids to do.  There are two categories – assignments per kid and overall household chores.  In our house, each kid has specific chores they must do, such as “brush your teeth” and “clean your room”.  Then there are the chores that aren’t kid specific, like “dust the livingroom”.  If it is a child specific chore – write the child’s name and the chore on a popsicle stick.  If it is just a general chore, only write the chore.
  3. Determine the reward system.  This can be physical items or not.  You can use money, having the ability to pick what activity you do for a day, choosing what movie to watch for movie night, or any such thing that your heart desires.  Assign easier rewards lower point values and larger rewards higher point values.  Be sure to set something super big on top – something you know your kids would love as the “ultimate prize”!


Now You’re Ready for Action

Each morning you’ll want to go through and assign chores.  Put the required chores sticks in the specified child’s “To-Do” Bucket.  Chores that you would like done but wouldn’t be required, or who could be completed by any of the children go into the “Extra” bucket.  Throughout the day, as the children complete the chores, have them move the sticks over to their “Done” bucket.  At the end of the day, you count up the number of sticks that they have completed, and verify that each stick has been completed properly (if needed).  That’s how many points your child earned that day.  These can be redeemed for a little prize, or saved for a bigger prize.  Repeat Daily.


Is It That Simple?

Yup!  It really is!  We have used the bucket system for a little while now, and have had great success with it!  The kids love being able to move the sticks to their completed buckets and will have contests amongst themselves as to who can earn the most sticks each day.  Will it always work?  I sure hope so, but can’t say for sure.  Will it work for every family?  I have no idea, but I’d love it if you would give it a try!




What method do you use to get your children to do their chores?


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