When I moved in with my Dad and Step-mom at the age of thirteen, I was given a room and introduced to the washer and dryer. This was how they worked and if I wanted to have clean clothes, it was up to me to make that happen. I was also responsible for cleaning up after dinner, sweeping the floors, and making sure that “my” bathroom was cleaned once per week. I was responsible for packing my lunch for school and cleaning my room once a week. Lest you think that my Step-mom was evil, she was (is) most certainly not. She taught me how to clean and how to cook and I received an allowance when my duties were fulfilled.

My husband, on the other hand, had a pretty good go of it when he was in high school. His Mom cooked every meal, packed all of his lunches, and made his bed/cleaned his room. Logic would have it that he would have no idea how to do it once he lived on his own, but the opposite is true. He can cook anything (though he hates to cook, and I love to, so it’s my deal). He is, and anyone who knows him (Including him) will attest to this, a bit of a clean freak. Heck, when people know that he’s going to deliver our chicken eggs, they make sure that they’ve cleaned the area that he will see in his short visit.

When it comes to our kids, we want to make sure that they know what it takes to run a household of five (Or one). We have always had them help us set the table, pack lunches, put away laundry, practice piano, etc. It started to feel like we were becoming nagging voices and so we decided to make up a chore chart. There is so much that is not included in it (Setting the table, putting away laundry, and so much more) but with cementing it on paper we didn’t want to overwhelm everyone. More will be added as we move along, but we’re keeping in simple (stupid).

The great thing about it all is that there is no nagging. None. NONE. They know what is expected of them and they run to make it happen so that they can make a measly $5.00 per week.

When we instituted it a few weeks ago, Graham’s teacher pulled me aside after school to tell me that she’d heard about his new chore chart.

Him: I woke up early this morning to get my chores done.

Her: What kind of chores? (Thinking it had something to do with our chickens and collecting eggs.)

Him: Well, I had to make my bed.

Her: Oh yeah?

Him: And then I had to pick my clothes up off of the floor.

Her: Oh.

Him: Then I had to brush my teeth.

Her: It sounds like you have it really rough. Wow.

(I love her.)

We talked some more and she thought that having a chore list is a great idea for eliminating the nagging factor. We’re three weeks in and it’s been pretty amazing. “Are your chores done?” is all I have to say and they are off to make sure they can check each task. They do so much more on top of that rudimentary list and it seems as though those extra requests are met with no resistance because they know that they are part of the whole deal.

We plan to add more “required” items as we go along and because they’re doing them already it shouldn’t be an issue. We spend the bulk of our weekends skiing/at church/having some down time, so Matthew and I tend to do things like cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming and purging garbage during school hours. We plan to have the kids join the (deep cleaning) party once ski season is over. A friend shared their technique: Slips of paper in a jar with ten-minute options. Some are cleaning-related, some are down time-related and all are only TEN MINUTES. I love this idea so much.

I know that there is a Great Debate about tying allowance to chores but I get paid for work I do and I think my kids will only benefit from that teaching. It’s how life works.

 

 

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Comments:

  1. Hannah February 26, 2013 4:31 am edit

    I love that you have found a system that is working so well. Hooray for no nagging! :-)

    1. angella February 26, 2013 3:34 pm edit

      Amen!

  2. mpotter February 26, 2013 8:49 am edit

    for the last 2 years i’ve been wanting to institute some kind of chore system for my now 4 year old.
    basic things— more as a reminder than anything.
    but i keep getting too inconsistent about what/how often chores can be done for allowance.
    (which is the only way to teach children about money. read- debt crisis!)

    The Mr. & i agree we will give her allowance for the above & beyond.
    the obvious cleaning up her toys before bed, making her bed, unloading the silverware, & “bussing her tray” are her main requirements.
    but we like the idea of an allowance for the other things that she can do above & beyond to help us. (fold the towels, match the socks, rounding up the little trashcans, helping dust, re-organize her room)
    sometimes i do give her some amount of change when she offers or does these things pleasantly- but it hasn’t yet been standard.

    i don’t want to fall into the trap of having her ONLY work for money. (which doesn’t seem likely… but you never know)

    i can’t come up with my own consistency with it.

    however- i wanted to share with you a website that i think sounds fabulous- it’s a free account and it’s virtual money that you can change for real money, or experiences. there are accounts for the kids and games to keep them motivated. when the bean gets a little older (computer savvy) i think i’ll utilize it. it seems quite neat at first glance.
    http://doughmain.com

    maybe you’d like to look into it.

    1. angella February 26, 2013 3:35 pm edit

      Thanks for that!

      And, yeah, we’ve been all over the map with consistency of allowance, etc. I’m so glad we’ve instituted something that seems to be working for me.

  3. Kami February 26, 2013 11:14 am edit

    No nagging is the best approach, so glad this is working for you!
    We tie chores to allowance too, it’s the way the world works so they might as well get used to it :)

    1. angella February 26, 2013 3:42 pm edit

      Exactly. :)

  4. monstergirlee February 26, 2013 11:56 am edit

    The nagging factor! I hate that so much!
    This is awesome, I think I may have to make one up for my kids. Do you hang it up or where do they see it and check it off?

    Thank you for sharing what works for you, because I still need to find what works for us and this may be it. Love the 10 minute jar part too.

    1. angella February 26, 2013 3:43 pm edit

      Me too. We’ll start that in the spring.

      They each get their own sheet and hang them in their rooms. They hand it in at the end of the week to get their allowance. :)

  5. Joanna February 26, 2013 1:38 pm edit

    As a single Mom, my son learned how to do laundry, clean and cook. Yes allowance was part of it but I was also ensuring he could survive on his own. He is now 22 and his girlfriend has thanked me many times for making sure he knew how to take care of himself.

    1. angella February 26, 2013 3:44 pm edit

      Yes! While Matthew didn’t do that stuff when he lived at home, he lived on his own for a few years before we met and cleaned/cooked/etc. He knows how to get it done (and is WAY more particular about cleaning than I am).

  6. Jen Wilson February 26, 2013 2:34 pm edit

    My kids get paid for chores, too. Kaylie has started babysitting for us once in a while, and I do not pay her extra for this, as it’s usually work-related for Noah or me, and it’s always an hour tops. I never got paid for babysitting my siblings growing up, either. It was always just part of being the oldest, part of being part of a family. You like eating dinner, kid? Awesome. Then help us make ends meet.

    Although, if we go out for non-work purposes, date nights and such, when she’s old enough to babysit at night for a couple hours, I’m sure we’ll start paying her for those times.

    1. angella February 26, 2013 3:51 pm edit

      We’re the same. Graham will be in charge for short amounts of time, like when I have a shift at the Food Bank. They take the bus home and I get back about twenty minutes after they get home.

      Last Friday he had his first go at “babysitting” for us. We went to the local pub for an early dinner and he was paid $5.

      We’ll still hire older babysitters for longer evenings out, but I love the freedom of having him old/responsible enough to leave them alone for short periods of time.

  7. Rhi February 26, 2013 3:26 pm edit

    I like how you’re doing this! I had so many chores as a pre-teen (that were to be done BEFORE homework…weird) that I really hate, hate cleaning and such these days. It seems that you guys have found a good balance!

  8. Jen February 26, 2013 3:59 pm edit

    I love using a chore chart. I use an online site that the kids can log into and check off the chores that they do. Each chore is assigned a certain amount of points and they can accrue points to exchange for money for savings or to purchase things that they want. I love the lack of nagging and it’s interesting to see the levels of motivation as one kid earns enough points to buy something for themselves. :)

  9. D March 6, 2013 11:29 am edit

    Cool. I finally made charts too a couple of weeks ago. I used the laminator at work and bought dry erase pens so that we can re-se them every week.

    Generally speaking, I’m finding they work pretty well. But I still have to do a lot of reminding. Yesterday, G kept playing with her chart, and three times I had to tell her to stop fiddling with the thing and DO the things on the list.

    Kind of reminds me of my efforts at coming up with my monthly resolutions and then not doing them. *Eye roll*

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