Is this a Responsibility Chart? (No way—this is a Reward Chart.)

I keep hearing people say that kids like structure and rules…but somehow it often feels like it’s just me that likes those things.

This (responsibility and) reward chart is so easy to make and (perhaps more importantly) consistently use.  I was amazed at how quickly this chart was adopted—and how easy it is for kids to maintain.  My daughter loves to move the pins after a job is completed.  I love the idea that it silently encourages her to work hard and play hard.

Create Your Own Reward Chart

 Get ready to reward good behavior.

I love the idea of a chore chart—but I found that I had to maintain it, so it became more of MY chore chart that anything else.  I was so excited to customize a responsibility chart with what was important to my family—and my daughter loves it.  She came up with all of the “prizes” and we decided on the jobs together.   She determined the content, so she believed in it from the start.

 How to get started:

Recently, I had visited a hardware store and picked up a few colors swatches to help me decide on what color to paint a room in my house.  I re-purposed them for this project, but you could certainly use any paper you like—just make sure they are a little heavier than construction paper.  I found that regular paper flopped over once a clothespin held in on twine—so you really need something that has the same fortitude as an index card.


We’d love to see your finished products—here’s what we used to make ours:

  • a frame to repurpose—ours was 20”x24”
  • 3 lengths of twine—cut to 23” 
  • 28-30 clothespins—we used 12 fun ones for the rewards and 12 for the responsibilities…and we used 2 blank ones as well, as you will see below
  • heavy gauge paper—ours was cut 1”x3”
  • fine point sharpie
  • staple gun with heavy industrial staples

Start with flipping the frame over.  Stretch the twine out lengthwise.  We measured 6” down from the top for our first twine line.  Staple the twine evenly to the sides.  Measure 6” down from that twine line and staple the sides of another twine length.  Repeat once more, resulting in 3 lengths of twine strung across the frame.   Next, get a sense of how you want to space your clothespins.  We set up all of our rewards on the 2nd line and the responsibilities on the 3rd line—12 clothespins per line.

Now for the good stuff.   Start the conversation by deciding what rewards the kids will work toward.  We chose things like playdates and easy day trips—but also made sure we had easy and attainable things like baking or getting 15 minutes of screen time.  Talk to the kids about what contributions they could easily do for household responsibilities.  Once we got the conversation started, the kids started to shout out more and more mighty chores, excitedly talking about what they thought they were able to do.  

Remember those blank clothespins?  Let’s talk about those for a minute.   On Sunday, we start a new week together.  We choose a reward to work toward all week.  We move that reward to the first spot on the twine line…and then we put a blank clothespin after it—the other rewards lined up after it.   We take the 2nd blank clothespin and move it to the first position on the last line. For the rest of the week, we recognize achievement and move the pins that we accomplish to the left of the pin.  When all of the pins are accomplished, the blank pin moves all the way toward the right, and the weekly reward is achieved.  Proud kid, happy mom. 


Kim Towers