Kids and Chores

I’m participating in Chilihead’s Children’s Chore Carnival today. We’re supposed to talk about how we handle allowance and chores. Allowance is simple: we don’t do it. In the past we have, off and on. But I always had a terrible time actually having the cash on the right day, or I’d forget…it never got to be a habit. SO we’ve just given up on it. At any time our kids can ask to do extra work and get paid a few dollars. I’m always willing to pay someone to work on my flowerbeds. And our older kids all have small part-time jobs (mostly for grandparents) that earn them spending money.

Now for the chores. We all have them. They are a part of life in this family. I have a chore chart on the side of the fridge, and there are things for each person to do after each meal. The majority of it can get done in 10 minutes– I doubt if kids work more than 40 minutes all day. Even the two year old has a couple jobs each day– she cleans up her own toys, and empties the silverware. The elementary-age kids run the washer and dryer, among other things. Everyone over 10 takes turns cleaning the kitchen. Basically the kids do almost all the house-cleaning chores– maintainance stuff during the week, and then a few extra jobs each on Saturdays. Although getting kids to do their jobs can sometimes feel tiring, I believe that in the long run, our kids will be better trained for adulthood by helping around the house in a real way as children.

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  1. That’s great that you’re letting your two year old help with chores! I think it really pays off in the long run when you let them start so young.

  2. One thing you mentioned awhile back that has really stuck with me is that you focus on the child’s attitude while doing the chore. One of your 9yos had a grumbly attitude, and although he was completing the chore, you sat down with him to discuss working cheerfully. That shifted my attention from mere completion of the chore to the state of the child’s heart while working. This is making a huge difference in how I teach my very young brood how to work. Thank you!

  3. My mom always said that it would be easier to do the job herself than to try and get us to get “it” done.

    I find that to be mostly correct except for a couple things:

    *It’s not true about the dishwasher–I can say it and consider it done. LOVE that!

    *While I tidy the Living Room (to save myself the effort of getting the kids to do it) the kids are free to make an exponetially bigger mess in the basement.

    *While I tidy the Basement (Same reason) the kids find themselves drawn to the clean Living Room–with their stuff, of course!

    *It’s not necessarily true if we are all working together. I can sit in practically one spot and hand things to the kids who run them and we all can talk while we do it. Sometimes the talk is nice–sometimes it is reduced to me saying “OK! More work and less talk!!”

    All in all, I agree that it is good for the kids. And mine must be good helpers, probably more than I know, because, especially when I have 6 soon, I know I would never be able to do it all on my own!

    So, in order to be partakers of the blessing of a big family, chores are a ‘must’. But the “big-family-blessings” are waaaayyyy worth it!

  4. Mary, I totally agree. Our children do get an allowance but I do it by using a log where I right down the childrens credit so they know how much they have. They can make a withdrawl when they need it, etc. I like for them to have a little pocket money of their own. Makes them think twice about buying something if they have to spend their own money.

    All of our kids have chores to do after dinner. It takes about 20 minutes. I agree that it is good for them. It also helps get the idea through to them that our family is a team and we all have to work together for our team to function properly.

    Have a great day,

  5. We just recently (2 weeks ago) started an allowance system. The kids have a chance to earn an allowance equal to half their age in years (i.e. the 8yo can earn up to $4) per week. It’s been a nice way to have a consequence throughout the week as well. Yesterday my 6yo left 2 things lying around that I had asked him to pick up. When I saw them on the floor, I said “Okay, you just lost $.50 from your allowance this week – a quarter for each of these two things.” He scrambled to pick them up. I’ve also been known to tell them that if they leave ANYTHING in the car after we get home from somewhere (toys, shoes, trash, books, whatever …..), they will lose all or part of their allowance. It has helped TREMENDOUSLY in the clean-up efforts, and I don’t feel like I have to come up with so many other consequences. Yet. We’ll see how it works long term. [:-) I do need to implement some kind of a ledger, though, to keep track of the little amounts that come off each kid’s allowance during the week (like Julie’s post above).
    Thanks for all your great insight.

  6. I had the same problem of not ever having the right amount of cash on hand to pay allowances…and too often, my 7 and 9 year olds end up losing the money somewhere, creating an additional crisis in the house…..the allowance credit idea is a good one, too….thanks everyone for the great tips!!

  7. I think it’s great to get kids doing chores even as young as two. They can all do age-appropriate chores and feel like they are contributing to the household. It’s good for kids to learn how to take care of a house so when they finally move out they can do it for themselves.

  8. I love your philosophies and how everyone helps in the house to make it run. We do the same in our home – even our 1-year-old sees the older kids emptying the dishwasher and she wants to help too.

    I talk about a book in my post for this carnival that has an allowance system where money never actually has to change hands to the kids. It’s “imaginary” in an account until they actually spend it. We rarely have cash on hand, so it’s worked great for us!