Using a ticket chore chart system in our home has been a great way to develop responsibility, teach about the value of working to earn something and improve behavior!
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A couple of months ago, I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with my kids and their lack of help around the house in regards to chores. Each day was a battle to get them to do something as simple as make their bed or clean up the toys they had pulled out to play with. I ended up doing a bulk of the chores which left me tired and with no time to spend playing with my kids. My patience was thin and the overall mood in our home was suffering. Does this sound familiar to you?
Four weeks ago, my husband and I implemented this ticket chore chart system in our family and have seen a huge change in the cleanliness of our home and the attitudes of our kids, as well as an increase in the time we have to spend doing the things that bring us joy. So today I’m sharing with you how we do the ticket system in our home. My plan is to give you a basic framework that you can adjust based on your family’s needs.
Before You Start the Ticket Chore Chart System in Your Family
Before we dive into the details of the ticket system, there are a few things that are helpful to remember:
First, sit down and take time to explain the new system to your kids. Allow them to help you come up with ways they can both earn tickets and lose tickets. That way, when they earn (or lose) a ticket, they can take responsibility for knowing they were part of determining the process. This is helpful, especially when they lose a ticket, because it can’t be blamed on the parent since it was the child that came up with the reason for losing the ticket.
Second, recognize that implementing a new system takes time. Your kids might be super excited about it for a few days until the newness wears off. Or, they might drag their feet and not totally buy into it at first. It also takes time as the parent to become comfortable with the new system and remember to give tickets (especially for good behavior). Stick with it. Consistency is key.
Third, remember your goals in using this system: to raise responsible, capable kids who will become responsible, capable adults. But they won’t be able to do that if everything is handed to them. Hold them accountable for the work that they’d been assigned (keeping it age-appropriate, of course).
Fourth, be prepared to be more liberal when you first start out when it comes to giving out tickets. This will help your kids get used to this new way of doing chores.
Ticket Chore Chart Command Center Organization
We keep the chore chart “command center” on a magnetic white board mounted on the inside of a door in our kitchen. I used my Silhouette to cut out vinyl with our names and then put a command hook under each name to hang each person’s daily/weekly chores. Each week we have a family night activity at home with a lesson, song, prayer and treat, so to keep track of whose turn it is, I bought some magnets that I labeled and can put above each person’s name for the week. Above this, I purposely left some blank space for the kids to be able to record what they are working towards earning and the tickets needed. (more on ticket redemption below)
I printed out the daily chores and room chores on white card stock, mounted them onto colored card stock, then laminated them using contact paper. Then I punched a hole in the corner to put the metal ring on so it can hang from the command hook under each person’s name.
*NOTE* (1/29/22) Since the original publishing of this post, I have upgraded to a personal laminator which uses laminating sheets. I’ve used it for many projects around my house and think it’s a great investment. However, if that is not in the budget for you, using contact paper to “laminate” the cards is still a great option.
The roll of tickets and each child’s ticket jar is on our counter so the kids can easily see how many tickets they have and put them in their jar when they earn them.
I’ve put together a list of the supplies I used for our command center below so you can get everything you need to make your own:
Each day, we expect our kids to get ready and maintain their rooms and the areas they play in. For my kids, currently 6.5 and 4.5, their daily chores are fairly basic:
- Make bed
- Brush teeth
- Fix Hair
- Clean up clothes
- Clean up toys/books
Weekly Rotating Room Chores
In addition to daily chores, we have a rotating list of rooms in our home. Each week, we have a new room that we are in charge of, with daily tasks and weekly tasks. My husband and I also participate in the rotation of chores, but obviously we help our kids out with their assigned rooms based on their age/ability. This has worked really well for us so far because there are rooms that are easier and harder. By rotating through them, the kids only have to do certain rooms once every four weeks. These are the rooms we rotate through:
- Upstairs Bathroom
- Laundry/Mud Room
- Upstairs/Downstairs Living Room
- Master Bathroom (rotated between my husband and I)
For example, here is how we’ve broken down the kitchen:
- Load/Unload dishwasher
- Sweep floor
- Take out garbage
- Wipe counters and table
- Clean stove
- Clean microwave
I’ve received many emails asking for examples of each chore chart card. You will find them below. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions!
Our kids have the opportunity to earn ticket in a few ways: by doing their daily chores and their room chore, completing extra chores, as well as positive behaviors, such as listening the first time, helping without being asked, good attitude, caught being good and so on. They do not get tickets every time they show positive behavior since we are trying to teach them to do these things because it’s the right way to act, not because they think they’ll be rewarded.
Each ticket is worth $.15. For now, this seems like a fair value to apply to each ticket because our kids are younger and it’s a little harder for them to earn tickets without some supervision and help. As they get older, we may choose to increase the amount a ticket is worth AND the amount of work required so it’s proportionate.
Double Ticket Days
A couple of weeks into our ticket system, I decided to surprise the kids with a ‘double ticket day’. It was a great way to motivate them to get their basic chores done and they also did extra chores which they were able to earn double tickets for. (And we had an extra clean house. #winning)
Just like the kids are able to earn tickets for good behavior, they can also lose tickets for negative behavior, such as, fighting, not listening or complaining. At this point, we aren’t taking away tickets for not doing their chores, but it may be something to consider doing with older kids. Another option for older kids would be that if they don’t do their chores and another sibling does it for them, they have to pay the sibling who did the job out of their tickets.
Ticket Redemption aka the Family Store
Every two weeks, we open the Family Store. The Family Store is where our kids can redeem the tickets they’ve earned. The first week we did this, I had a few items at home that I could put in the store for the kids to buy. There were also a few items that we didn’t actually have at home, but that the kids had each talked about wanting to save up to earn. For example, my daughter wanted a watch and my son wanted a transformer. I printed out pictures of these things so they could see them and know how many tickets they would cost.
As I mentioned above, we decided to have each ticket valued at $.15. So a $10 watch would cost 67 tickets. We chose to round down to 65 tickets. A $1 item would cost 7 tickets. A $3 item is 20 tickets.
I printed out some tickets from a word document and trimmed them down and then wrote the value of each item on it and stuck it on the item.
So far, the family store has been “open” twice. It’s been so fun to watch the kids look at what they can “buy”, watch them count out their tickets and then turn them in.
Other ways you can incorporate tickets:
Toy Jail: If your child doesn’t clean up a toy(s) after being asked a reasonable number of times, it goes into ‘toy jail’ (a bo or container) and in order to get it back out, they have to pay you a ticket (or more). This could also apply to other items such as clothing.
Extra homework: This is more for elementary aged kids. You can offer tickets for doing homework that is above and beyond what is required for school. This might be a good motivation for kids who need a little extra push to study a certain subject. For younger kids not in school yet, you could print out some letter worksheets and let them practice that way.
Our Family’s Results
This is the first chore chart system that I feel has the potential to be used for a longer amount of time than other ones we’ve done with our kids. It teaches our kids responsibility and there is room to adapt and change it as our kids grow. (Although I probably wouldn’t recommend doing this type of system for kids younger than four. I’ve shared this one and this one that have both worked well for my own kids when they were preschool age.)
I’m not claiming the ticket chore chart system is right for every family or kids of every age. I’m simply sharing what works for us and some ideas for how you can incorporate this system into your own family. As I mentioned above, this chore chart system is just a framework to help you create order, routine and predictability in you and your family’s lives. I’ve seen a difference in my kids, and even in my husband and I, as we all work together to keep our home clean and promote positive behavior and attitudes.
Do you think this type of ticket chore chart system would work well in your family?