There are ideas all over the web for ways to organize household chores and how to have kids help with those chores. We don’t do a weekly allowance for our kids. We tried a few times and either the girls’ didn’t hold up their end of the agreement (keeping rooms clean, doing tasks), or we forgot to get cash out so we’d say “We’ll just add up the last two weeks we owe you and let you pick out an item the next time we are out at the store.” This was a major failure on our part as parents because we weren’t giving our girls the opportunity to gather and save that earned money. We were encouraging them to spend it or save it for a little bit and build up to buy something even nicer. And we weren’t consistent with the tasks and payment and you need to be consistent. I’m sure this latest round of “Paid Chores” as I’m calling it will need to be tweaked and adjusted as we go. We have already talked about changing some of the payments to more fun type activities we can do as a family as the girls earn them. Managing a household an designating tasks is a full-time job. It takes a well thought out plan if you want to include the children and want to somehow pay them for their effort. So for some of you that don’t agree with paying your kids anything, this post may not pertain to you. We’ve tried the allowance and didn’t like it. We’ve tried not paying the kids and fought the whines and grumbles, we’ve tried keeping track of all the completed chores through the week and paying at the end of the week, but our brain is tired and remembering if so and so cleaned up the toy room on Wednesday just hurts. We’ve had the magnetic dry erase fancy chore charts that became a task all it itself to go through it each day and took up a lot of wall space. I wanted something simple and inexpensive to make that didn’t need to be hung up on the wall so I put together a little Paid Chore Ring. Basically the chores are written on an index card and each chore is color coded. Our oldest is Blue, middle daughter is red, and youngest is purple. They can only choose chores that have their color on them. Some chores are a team effort and two or more girls can help do the chore together and each would be paid. I wrote a description of the chore and the payment amount on the card. Some chores may have a dollar payment, plus a little bonus payment as well. I’ll explain that further on.
For our Paid Chores, I wrote out a list of rules that I read to the girls and we discussed thoroughly when I explained this new plan of action. These Paid Chores are in addition to basic tasks that we expect to be done each day. Some of the basic tasks include doing all homework, reading library book, cleaning out lunch boxes, keeping bedroom clean, helping with dishes, clearing the table, putting laundry away oh and the daily task of picking up dog poop for our two oldest. So once those tasks are all done, then the girls can look through the Paid Chores and choose a task to work on. I color coded each chore so each child has a certain color and the corresponding colored circle on the bottom right of each index card. For chores that can involve more than one child, the colors are shown on the card as well. I also wrote the amount of payment for each task on the card along with a description of the chore. Some of the chores have a dollar amount and have a bonus payment. They may say “Sonic Run” so if that chore is completed correctly, the payment would be the money, plus a treat from Sonic. I know my girls so I had to explain that the Sonic treats are limited to mom and dad’s discretion and may be on a different day than the day the chore was completed. I think as we move forward with this, I may give the girls the ability to add up their chores, get their dollar payment, but save up for a trip to Redbox or maybe even go see a movie instead of all those Sonic rewards. Is it sad that Sonic is only a couple of minutes from our house and all the car hops know me by name? So I really don’t need any excuse to be making little Sonic Runs if I can help it!
I kept the chore dollar amounts to $2 or less. My girls are 10 and under so this is really dependent upon the chore assigned and the age of the child. I like the color coding because my 4 year old’s chores are at her level and I know she can succeed at doing them. Yesterday she earned her $0.50 by helping to pick up sticks in the yard before I mowed. She was eager to help and loved having that sense of accomplishment. I think younger kids like the instant payment for each completed chore better than waiting until the end of the week. Before we pay, mom or dad has to check to make sure the chore is done correctly. I explained this over and over (especially to our middle girl). She has a tendency to shove everything she can possibly cram into the bottom of her closet when it’s room cleaning time. Sure her room looks spotless, but when you open her closet – beware! Hopefully she and our other two will learn to do the task correctly the first time. I explained they get two chances to do it correctly. If they say it is completed, but really it’s not or it’s done so poorly that I have to just clean it all over again, then they still have to complete the chore, but will not get any payment. Oooh I’m so mean! I want them to learn to do things right and not hurry just to say “I’m done!” It’s important that they know that quality of their work is so important at school and at home so they take pride in their work and accomplishments.
Putting it together:
I first made a list of the rules. These are pretty detailed and I explained them all to the girls, but wanted them also written on the cards so there was no confusion when they go to do a chore.
Then I made a list of all the chores I could think of for each child and wrote these on the index cards.Then I went through and assigned dollar amounts and decided which ones could be multi child type chores and most of those are the ones that have an extra reward in addition to the money, like a Sonic Run. That way they all participate in the chore, such as cleaning out mommy’s car and when the chore is done – they all get paid and they all get a little treat. I guess there may be times if one is doing all the work, then only that one gets the money and the treat. It’s happened before for good and bad behavior so they will just learn. Once I had my lists done, I just punched a hole in the corner of each card, wrote out the chore including the dollar amount and put the colored circle in the bottom corner so it was easy to see as they flip through the ring. I put all the index cards on a hinged ring. We can add to it, change-up the chores and work on this as we go, but for now the kids are liking the system. There are days when there just isn’t time for these extra chores. Yesterday was one of those days. With activities and sports after school, doing these Paid Chores will have to be set aside. Homework comes first, anyway and I don’t expect them to do a Paid Chore every single day and some may be done by me first so they may have to choose a different chore.
I will update you on how this works for us after a few weeks to get used to it. If you have any ideas for ways to organize and distribute household chores with kids, leave a comment. I’d love to hear more ideas!