The Secret to Getting Chores Done

Typically, when we ask one of the girls to do a chore, like wash the dishes, they respond by asking why it is that we hate them so much. It makes sense, really. If we didn’t have such a passionate hatred for them, we would do it ourselves, right?

It certainly doesn’t help that on the occasions that I “cook,” I have the slightly undesirable habit of using every single pot and pan that we own. I am not sure how Melissa is such a minimalist, but I don’t know how to make spaghetti with less than seven pots and pans.

Here’s the strategy we have started using to help us exorcise the chore demons in our home.

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The girls get a monthly allowance. The amount isn’t important. But they do not have to do anything to earn the allowance. It is money they get just because they’re a part of the family. One of the perks, if you will. Note: Our 16 year-old gets a higher allowance because we simply give her all the money we normally would spend on clothes, lunches, etc. We would pick the wrong stuff out anyway, so she just gets the money and she buys what she wants. We are secretly teaching her to budget. Once the money runs out, there’s no more coming until next month.

While they don’t earn the money, they can lose the money. So here’s the situation. We tell Kid2, “Please throw out the trash.” We then go about our day. We pass by later, and the trash is still sitting there. So we tell Kid1, “Would you like an extra $5 for throwing out the trash?” She now knows that the reason extra money is involved is because somebody else is losing money. She jumps at the chance. The extra $5 she gets comes out of Kid2's allowance. Again, the amount isn’t important.

Will this work for everybody? Of course not. But in our blended family where discipline is a fine line (due to the biological father not being present in the home), it has worked wonders for us.

What do you do to ensure your children do their chores?

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