Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kids and Chores

Yesterday I mentioned that our boys are trying to earn enough money to buy a season pass to Great America. Although our "cash for candy" incident certainly put them further down the field, they also have a couple other ways that they earn money around here. So today I thought I'd share with you our household "jobs" that give the boys opportunities to earn "wages".

I found this chore chart system on this blog. She provides you with templates and printables, so I'm not going to recreate that. But hop on over to her blog if it looks like a system that would work for your family.

Basically, I decided which jobs were appropriate for our boys and printed off icons for those. Then I laminated everything and put velcro on the back so that I could switch out the jobs. Whenever the boys complete a job, they take down the job icon and replace it with a ticket. The ticket is worth 10 cents, although, I've considered giving them a raise to 25 cents because 10 cents isn't getting them very far very fast. Still undecided on that.

If all of that seems like way too much work for you (because, just keepin' it real, it took a looooong time to cut all that up), you could get a ready made chore chart from Target or Amazon and write in the chores that you want. You could also just buy a roll of tickets instead of cutting out and laminating the colorful ones.

Here are the chores that we rotate around here:

  • Make bed
  • Wash dishes
  • Dust
  • Vacuum
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Set table
  • Clean playroom
  • Clean bathroom
  • Take out trash
  • Scrub baseboards
  • Wipe off table
I think I will also add to the mix watering plants because I'm going to attempt a little garden soon.

Another great option to include is some skill type things that the kids are learning. 
  • 5 minutes practice shoe tying
  • Stay dry daytime / nighttime
  • Practice riding bike without training wheels
Tickets can also be lost by whining, bad attitudes, fighting, etc... It's a big motivator and often more effective than a time out or spanking. 

Now, let me be real honest lest you think I have this house running like a well oiled machine. My boys are not able to do ANY of these without assistance yet. Often it feels like more work than it's worth because I'm letting them "help" me wash the dishes or wipe the table. And every mother of preschoolers knows that "help" means I'm doing the job and the child is gleefully ineffective.  

But my friend who has 3 grown children recently told me, "It's good to let them help now when they are eager (albeit incapable) because, if you don't, when they are old enough to do it by themselves they won't want to help if you don't start them young."

I also don't want to lead you to believe that I involve my kids every time I clean up. No, no, no. I feel like I spend my whole life cleaning up messes that they create and maybe I'm allowing my kids to be lazy and slothful by enabling their mess making. But the reality is, children are blissfully unaware of the magnitude of their messes. I am aware. Too aware. But the kids, not so much. 

So I figure if they help me clean up even 10% of their messes, they feel like they are making huge contributions (and painful sacrifices) of behalf of our family and will therefore grow up to be hard working, contributing parts of society. Good logic?

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