Family Chores: Who Does What?

No matter how your household is run or who is working outside the home, dividing up the chores can be a way to make the running of the home fair and balanced.

Today's families are made up of unique situations. In some homes, both parents work and in other homes, just one parent works. There are single-family homes and a wide variety of other types of families. No matter what type of home you are living in, the reality is that everyone has to deal with chores.


Family chores are a way to get everyone to pitch in and work together as a team. They can take the stress off one particular person from being responsible. They also teach skills that will last a lifetime.

When it comes to family chores, the question then becomes, who does what? How do you divide up the chores and make sure it's fair and equitable? There are a number of ways that you can decide who does what.

Chore Charts

We tend to think of chore charts as being something that is necessary for younger children. However, chore charts for the family are very useful. It serves as a reminder of what is expected and can be something that the entire family creates together.

Sitting down as a family and talking about the chores, discussing who does what and coming up with a chore chart is a great way to work on your communication and cooperation skills. A chore chart is your final agreement, so that there is no reason for someone to argue about an assigned chore. {relatedarticles} Deciding Who Does What Chores

An important component to deciding who does what chore is learning how to compromise. Not everyone will be happy about every chore they receive. This is a good time to teach the need for compromise and that life is filled with things we would rather not do.

Of course, it's important that not one person gets stuck with all of the less-than-desirable chores. Do whatever you can to make sure that everyone gets something they picked, along with those chores they may not prefer.

Before you decide on who will do which chores, write down a list of chores that need to be done on a daily and weekly basis. You may also find that there are some chores that can be done on a monthly or annual basis. Chores like cleaning out the refrigerator or washing the outside windows might be chores that are done less frequently.

Writing Your List of Chores

It would be beneficial to sit down together as a family and write out the list of chores that need to be done. There may be some things that one person brings up that you may not have thought of.

Here are some daily chores that may be on your list:
  • Wash dishes;
  • Sweep;
  • Feed pets;
  • Take out garbage;
  • Cook dinner; and
  • Laundry.

On your weekly chores list you may have some of these items:


  • Grocery shopping;
  • Clean the living room;
  • Clean the kitchen;
  • Dust; and
  • Mow the lawn.

Again, you may also wish to put together a monthly or annual chore list. This way you have everything covered.

Dividing Up the Chores

When it comes to dividing up the chores, be fair about who gets what. There are some things that need to be taken into consideration when dividing chores. For the adults in the family, take into account how many hours they work. If one adult works full-time but the other works part-time, it would only be right that the one working lesser hours would get more chores.

Of course, there are other considerations to be made including who takes care of the children, carpooling, volunteer work and school. With the children, you also want to take into account any outside activities that they may be involved in, or if you have older working teens. All of this serves as a way to guide you in the decisions that you make.


From the list, have each person pick their top 3 preferred chores. You may be surprised to learn someone in your family would love to do something that you don't enjoy. If it is possible, make sure that at least 3 of the chores are something they have chosen. If you immediately start assigning something to everyone, you could be creating a problem. It's important to take everyone's feelings and thoughts into consideration.

You may also wish to rotate chores. This takes the boredom out of doing the same chores all of the time. You can decide as a family how often to do this, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Your family should decide what would work best for them. This keeps things fair and balanced.
There may also be some chores that you decide to do together as a family. For instance, there may be a number of jobs that can be done in the yard. Divide these jobs but do them on the same day. This gives you the opportunity to spend quality time together.

Mark Off Your Chores

It gives everyone a sense of accomplishment when they can mark off their chores. If you are going to give your children an allowance for chores, this helps you keep track of what they have done.


This way, you can also see that everyone is contributing and ideally, you will eliminate arguments that someone in the home feels that they "do everything." Because you have decided all of this together as a family it leaves no room for disagreements.

Revisit the Chore Chart

After some time you may wish to revisit the chore chart and sit down together as a family to see how it is working out. During this time you may decide to make some changes, including ending the rotations or if you didn't rotate chores from the beginning, decide to start that.

Chores can be reassigned and if there have been any changes in the family, such as work hours or a change in someone's activities, adjustments to the chore chart can be made.