Paint Chip Chore Cards

First up, let’s give credit where credit is due– Connie posted about this idea awhile back and I thought it was genius. I have far fewer children– and my oldest is only seven– but I figured I could still find a way to make it work and I loved the customizable format.


Next, let’s address the whole “paying children to do chores” dilemma. There are (good, solid) arguments for either side of this debate. There’s the whole “they’re part of this household and should not get paid to help it run” side and the “it’s a good lesson in receiving compensation for hard work– a life lesson.”


There are even more angles and perspectives, but those are two major ones. Let me say this– I, personally, do not believe there is a “right” or a “wrong” there and I am just going to say that I totally trust you will do what works for your family. 


For us? Here’s what I’m doing:



When summer break started, I knew it would be getting busier and more cluttered around here. I knew I was going to expect the kids to help out more. I also knew they’d love it if I made it interesting. So this is what I settled on.



I made “permanent” paint chips for each child. On these, you’ll find totally non-negotiable chores. No one’s getting paid to do these. I simply expect that they will happen– each and every day. These are the “you’re part of this house and you WILL help” chores, if you will. They include things like:

1) Make bed

2) Clean up all books and return to shelves

3) Tidy playroom


I expect my kiddos to do those things every day, without complaint and without reward.


BUT. I made six additional paint chip chore cards, each representing a different room. I rotate them around and, since I have three children, that means each card comes up every other day. If the child chooses to do all the chores listed on the card assigned to him or her, I will actually pay out a little cash.


You want to know how much?


I’ll tell you.


First, let me give you an example of what a card might include…


Here’s the Kitchen, for example:

1) Clear off table.

2) Wipe lower cabinets.

3) Wipe floor.

4) Tidy art & magnets.

5) Replace dish towel & cloths.


And what, you might wonder, do I offer in exchange for that?


A dime.


Yep. I keep a roll of dimes handy and, upon completion of all listed chores, the child will let me know and I do a quick check. If everything is done (and done reasonably well), I give the kiddo a dime.


They love it. And they’ve yet to choose to NOT do the “optional” chore card.


So, yeah, I do pay for chores.


And it’s totally working for me.


***Also! Just in case anyone is concerned about it, I wanted to let you all know that I am NOT some hardened criminal who goes around stealing paint chips. In fact, these came from our local little hardware store where the owner knows my toddler and always helps her pick out a “pretty purple one” any time we pop in. He knew what I was doing. And it was all good.***
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