Chores? Allowances? What works for you?

A few of us were talking this morning on Facebook about how to go about getting kids to do their chores. Laura put the question out there and Nikki and I both commented and I thought it would be a good topic of discussion here. I think we’ve talked about it once before but honestly, I’m not sure anymore. If so, it won’t hurt to talk about it again since we have so many new readers.

What I did when my boys were really young was we did the whole chart thing. They both loved the stickers and it worked for us. I did have to change the rules a few times and things progressed but all in all, it worked well.

The chart went pretty much hand in hand with allowances. I know a lot of people don’t agree with allowances but I believe in them for more than one reason. When we were kids, if we didn’t do our chores, we didn’t get our allowance. Plain and simple. We also had to do all our chores and there were no breakdowns for jobs so if we didn’t do all of them, we got nothing. My dad used to say that when we grew up and got a job, we had to do what our boss told us and not just the part of our job that we liked doing. There is always good and bad and we had to do the whole job. I still believe that to this day.

Some people feel giving kids an allowance is bribing them to help us do things they should be doing in the first place as a part of the family. Yes, I agree with that to a certain degree but when kids are very young and just learning, I think the sticker chart worked for us really well. I also feel kids need to be able to earn a little bit of money in order to learn what they can and can’t do with it. What’s good to do with it and what’s bad to do with it. They had to give part of it in their offering envelope for church. They had to put part of it in their bank account and they could do what they wanted to with the rest.

Once kids get to a certain age, hopefully they will have learned that chores are a part of life but until then, I made those charts and let them pick out stickers at the dollar store and it worked for us. Besides, I feel everyone can appreciate a job well done. There’s a sense of accomplishment which I feel is good for self-esteem.

What about you? What did you do or what do you plan to do? How did you get kids to do their chores and how do you feel about allowances?

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8 Responses to Chores? Allowances? What works for you?

  1. SKL says:

    I have mixed feelings. On one hand, everyone should feel responsible to help out around the house. If they don’t do anything for the household, they are learning that they are just entitled to have others do things for them. So I’m not comfortable with the idea of paying kids to do things they ought to contribute as a “user” of household goods and services.

    On the other hand, I do believe that kids need to learn about earning and spending money, and also about the economic reality that people work for the money they need to run the household. So I look for a balance.

    Beginning when my kids were about 2.5, I implemented a sort of “casual labor” policy that said when the girls choose to do certain types of yard work, they could earn some money. It is generally an optional thing, but sometimes I do go out there and motivate their little butts to do it. They don’t choose to do it very often on their own. But to the extent they do, I do pay them and they get to go spend the money in any way they wish. When the girls get older, I will probably make regular paid work more “mandatory.” I am not sure about requiring them to save / donate. I think both of those are things kids should learn about from parents, but choose on their own. Especially the donation part. To me, true charity has to come from the individual’s own heart – not from guilt, obligation, or what amounts to taxation.

    I intentionally left everyday housework out of the “paid work” category, because I want the girls to pitch in around the house just because it’s the right thing to do. They are expected to clean after themselves for the most part, and over time, I’m giving them more little chores that they can handle – setting the table, helping prepare dinner, putting away the clean silverware, stuff like that. They aren’t really old enough to organize chores on their own. The best I can hope for is that they have some awareness of how they impact the home environment, and cheerfully pitch in when asked / reminded. Sometimes they exceed these expectations, but not consistently. I am not sure when I can realistically expect them to take the initiative consistently.

  2. joz1234 says:

    I’ve been trying out a so far, successful chore chart on my boys. They are 5 and 2, and their chores, so far are pretty much everyday stuff. The 5 year old gets to pick out 2 extra chores to do everyday each week. Their chores are tied to their TV/game time. By doing their chores each day, they earn 1.5 hours of TV or Game time for the next day. They don’t complete all chores, they don’t earn time at all.

    I’ve set it up where they do most of the chore chart upkeep.
    it is at their level on a wall, and there are cards they move that have a picture of the chore. When they finish the chore, they move the card. once all cards are moved, I give them a black block (it’s a math manipulative I had from teaching) that is equal to 1.5 hours of TV/game time to put in a jar.

    They can do extra chores (that I also have on cards) that earn them an extra 10 minutes of time for each chore they do. I give them a colored block for this to keep me straight. They may use extra time to add to weekend TV/game time. They cannot have more than 3 total hours of TV/games per day on weekend.

    So far it has worked like a charm. I don’t have to upkeep it, so it gets done. They do chores like:

    put on clothes
    pick up toys
    brush teeth
    put dirty clothes in hamper
    put on shoes
    put away clean laundry

    and then the 5 year old does 2 extra chores such as:
    put laundry in washer
    put laundry in dryer
    clear table after dinner
    clean table after dinner
    sweep kitchen/dining
    or something like that.

    some of these chores are still assisted a bit. (for instance laundry–the 5 year old doesn’t put in the soap or start it yet, but he can gather it and put it in for me and that saves me time)

    • Joy says:

      I really like that you started so young and it’s like they are helping you and you don’t make them do it alone. It’s always nicer to do a chore if someone else is doing it with you.

  3. Ellen says:

    Wow, I have never give my kids that many chores. I think I spoilt them. They did get allowances, but they never had to earn that. That was theirs. They had to put the money on their bank account, and then, after some time, they could buy something they reailly liked. And if they wanted something really, really big for their birthdays, they had to add money of themselves to it. They had to clean up their rooms and other sores in the house, but that was indeed because they are part of the house and they needed to learn this part of life too. But I believe, the way you described it, earning your allowances, isn’t a bad idea.

  4. Tessa says:

    I remember doing chores all the time as a kid, and I think I got a little money when I was older…now that I will have to think about this in a few years with Ben, I think the chart and allowance is a great idea! I like how you let them pick out the stickers too. I agree it is great for self esteem and great because they learn early on how to save money and handle money. Because I learned about saving later on as a kid, I believe this is why I’ve had so much trouble with money!! I definitely want to teach Ben as soon as he can reach the counters and talk, the importance of helping out whether he gets paid or not, but a few specific chores with an allowance is great too! Save part, spend part.

  5. Just a Mom says:

    My oldest daughter has ADD and the only way to get her to do her stuff was to make charts. I lamanated (sp?) them and she had to check off her stuff right when she did it. I kept this going for my youngest as well.
    I break down the chores by dollar amount BUT it goes like this for example: My youngest has to set the table every night for dinner. She knows it has to be done by 6pm, if I have to remind her to do it she gets .50 taken away from her allowance and she still has to do the job!

  6. Laura says:

    Josh has always been very willing to help out around the house. Up till now, that is. Whether it’s a phase, or something more ominous, he’s begun to be very sassy, mouthy and defiant.

    Used to be, I could just say, “pick up your room”, and he’d do it. Now, we’re needing to institute the formal title of “chores”, which is what prompted that question the other day.

    Now, I’ve created a chart for him. I used a dry-erase board (it’s preprinted, came in an “organized parent” kit I got for Christmas), and listed six daily chores for him:

    Make bed in morning

    10-minute drill in room (tidy for ten minutes straight. Whatever doesn’t get picked up in that time can wait until tomorrow)

    Set/Clear dinner table

    Feed Cruiser

    Tidy Bathroom (he has his “own” bathroom) before bed

    Pick up toys before bed

    We just started the chart yesterday, but he’s taken to it quickly. There are no rewards for these chores, just the satisfaction of ticking them off the list – they are part of being in a family and pitching in. Just like I have my own chores – laundry, making dinner – he has his.

    There are also “bonus chores”, which I haven’t completely worked out the rules for, but will include things like:

    doing own laundry (he can and does, and enjoys it)
    taking out the trash (again, he likes doing it)
    vacuuming (he’s ASKED me to do this one. there is something wrong with my child)

    I haven’t worked out the “reward” for the bonus chores yet, but I’m waffling between “screen time” (computer or tv, his choice) and an allowance. I’m leaning toward the screen time right now, because he isn’t quite getting the concept of money yet. Although perhaps that’s a good reason to initiate the allowance.

  7. Nikki says:

    I NEVER EVER got one single penny for anything I did. And I resented that to be honest. Maybe just because they couldn’t afford it but I don’t know! We’ve never given Bailey much, enough to understand the value of money. He’s saver, unlike his father and I have been.
    When he was little, we did the chart thing with the little colored stars. Not only did that make Bailey happy and excited to help but it made Jason happy. He loves to design charts!! LOL
    Now that he’s almost (I cry at the thought of what I’m about to type but here goes)…now that he’s almost 10, there are certain things he just knows are his responsibility. Feeding and watering the animals, cleaning his room, cleaning off the table and setting it and cleaning off the table when we are done. Taking out the trash, ect…Funny story, Bailey was at school and they were talking about things their parents expected form them at home. Bailey was called and he shared with the class that it is his job to put away all the condiments. No one knew WTH he was talking about. I laughed, the teacher was taken back by the word I guess.
    He still gets payed but he has to do everything he knows he’s supposed to do. There are very little reminders, he is old enough to remember what is expected of him everyday. It sure has helped with his ADHD, routine and consistency are key factors there!!

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