Remember in July when I mentioned that I was searching for a way to teach my girls more about responsibility and managing money? Since then I have read books and searched on-line (and asked all of you!) for different ideas to give me a jump start. There are so many different ways to approach chores and allowance systems. I think the most important thing to think about is what will work for YOU. What works for one family won’t necessarily work for another. I gathered different ideas from various places and ended up creating something customized that fits our needs. I thought I’d share it with all of you in case it gives you an idea or two for your family as well!
You all know how I feel about a good list. :) Because I’m a list girl, a daily check list made the most sense to me. There are three sections – Morning Routine, After School Routine, and Family Space. If the items in each section are checked off, they earn 40 cents. Three sections worth 40 cents each – so they have the ability to earn $1.20 each day which means up to $6 a week. I know this isn’t much. But we’ve never done an allowance before so my girls think they are going to be rolling in the dough. :) As they get older, I’m sure I’ll add to their responsibilities and increase their earnings. I’ll also make them more responsible for paying for more things on their own, where now they are just earning extra spending money. (I am having them save 10% to give, 20% to save, and the rest is for them to spend how they choose.)
Morning Routine – This section is easy but the girls only earn their money if they don’t have to be reminded to keep getting ready. I wanted to eliminate me having to say “are you finished with breakfast? Then what should you be doing?” Maybe my kids are the only kids who get distracted in the mornings, but man. We sure get distracted. This list also reminds them of the little things – like if they are sick, did they take their medicine? etc.
After School Routine – After school my girls are busy with this list! They have to unload and put away their things in our mudroom, get their homework done, do their reading, typing practice, feed the turtles, clean their room and bathroom, and put away any of their clothes I’ve washed. They also have to get their backpacks loaded and ready for the next day on their own. LOVING this and I’ll tell you why. It has taken all of the pressure off of me. I don’t have to remember everything that needs to be done anymore. When they say “can I play” I don’t have to ask if the turtles are fed and their room is clean and try to remember what else needs to be done. I can just say “is everything checked off your list?”
Family Space – Each week I choose three areas of the house that I want them to help with. They are responsible to help make sure those spaces are kept clean. I left those lines blank on the checklist so I can change them to what I want, when I want. I’ll rotate through quite a few jobs so that they learn how to take care of different areas of our house.
We’ve now used these for two weeks. A few thoughts:
– The only down side I’ve found with this system is that I’m printing these lists everyday. I’d like to eventually make something that is more permanent but for now, I really like that they have their list with them after school and are checking things off as they complete them. (Thinking at some point we’ll switch to white erase boards or I’ll put them in a page protector or laminate them. Something so I’m not wasting paper!)
– After they finish each section I check that they are done and write at the top of their page what they earned for the day. Checklists go in a trey in my office and I pay them at the end of the week.
– Because of after school activities – gymnastics, dance, church activity days, singing, swim lessons, etc. there are days they don’t earn all of their money simply because there isn’t enough time. Morning and After School Routine Sections always get finished but a few times the girls haven’t had time to help with their Family Space. And that’s ok. On days we have more time at home they are able to do everything.
– Because so much of the new chore chart is weekly/school stuff, we’ll still do our simple to-do list I write on Saturdays. No money for that. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. :)
– I love that the Family Space section forces me to teach them how to clean things I probably wouldn’t have taught them otherwise. It’s always easier for me to just do it quickly myself! But my girls want to earn their money so it is forcing me to stop and teach them how to unload and load dishes, wash counters, vacuum floors, clean bathroom sinks, keep the pantry organized, etc.
– The other day my girls wanted to order a pretzel from a pretzel truck that visits their school. I said – “Sure! Use your own money!” Then they debated whether or not it was worth it. Nice.
– I don’t have to nag them to get things done anymore.
– I love that. :)
New chore charts! Helping all of us stay on track around here.
p.s. If you are looking for a system for little kids you can see the Star Behavior Charts I made for my girls when they were younger. These worked well for us for years!