One aspect of parenting I’ve been fascinated with since the early stages becoming a parent, was the benefit of childhood chores for children. I’ve written before on the various chores and routines our kids are required to do around our home. Sometimes they’ve been set up simply to help me along at home. Other times as they’ve grown, I’ve required them to participate more in the running of our household. Our mantra has been, everyone helps.
Our family has daily “chores” that we call “afternoon helpers” and these up until very recently have not been connected to any money or allowance at all. One reason, I never liked connecting chores to money is that I didn’t like what they were choosing to spend their money on and found it unfair of me to give them money whether considered earned or as a reward, and then restrict what they could use it for.
I spent a lot of time considering how and why routines and chores are important in the obvious way of help, but also in the benefits they offer my kids and decided to switch things up a bit this school year.
Giving children household chores at an early age helps to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance, (according to research by Marty Rossmann, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota).
The topic of self-reliance has been tossed around a lot in recent years. Local author, Madeline Levine suggests in her book Teach Your Children Well, that chores help provide a sense of responsibility for our home rather than a sense of entitlement. Now that we have a middle schooler in the house, we are also more aware of his independence and need for some petty cash for outings with friends.
Here’s how we’ve broken it down in our family, which includes our newest addition, the One-Offs! (pictured above)
Routines – These are the daily expectations. The small acts that often lead to the mom nagger. Put your shoes in your cubby, hang up your wet towels, wash your hands when you come in from school. The list includes, getting ready for school items, what’s expected when you get home from school, and the bedtime routines.
Afternoon Helpers – These are the “jobs” they do typically before dinner. As I’m preparing dinner, the kids are to check the chart on our family message board and do their jobs for that day. Two jobs for my 5 year old, 3 jobs for the 9 and 12 year olds. These rotate and include feeding pets, taking out garbage, setting the table, etc.
As a judgement, call based on what I witness during the week as reasonably fulfilled expectations for routines and helpers, a small allowance if offered. This is new and on a trial period. Seems to be working well.
One-Offs – Jobs I post that kids can choose to do or not and are directly tied to $$. These have been everything from picking lemons to vacuuming my car to washing windows to babysitting the younger kids. They are going crazy over these! Not all are age-appropriate for all of them, but when a job comes up that they can do, boy have they been jumping on it! Again, trial period. As with most of our parenting decisions, I let the kids know that this is how it’s going to work – for now.
“I love work!” (as overheard of my 5 year old upon finishing up vacuuming my car and taking down her $1)
I have loved hearing about what they are saving up for with their earned money. One is saving for a new device, one is saving for expensive clothes I won’t buy, and the other is saving for a new doll.
Do your kids do chores at home? How do you manage them? Do you connect them to earning money? I’d love to hear how it works for your family.
Idea credit | I originally saw this idea of pinning money and a job to the bulletin board when it came through my news feed a few months ago and unfortunately can’t find the source. If any of you know the original author of this idea, I’d love to know so I can properly assign credit. Thank you.