How We Got Our Children Begging To Do Household Chores

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With six people living in one house, it can look as if a bomb went off. Our children are school aged, so we expect them to help out around the house. There are certain things they must do to earn electronic time or before hanging out with friends. Our philosophy is based on the fact that we are raising independent adults. There is a reward system in place, but we need to entice them a little more to do unsavory tasks.

Over the years we’ve attempted several different methods of chore charts and rewards. As they get older, the more expensive items they want. For many of these things, I encourage them to pay for them with their own money. The question becomes: How do I earn money?

At the beginning, we found templates online, you filled in yourself. We used the seven slots provided and marked off the grid when they were completed. They were gung-ho at first and then the excitement began to fade. This is when I would harp on the kids to finish their chores and it was painful for everyone.

If they did several tasks during the week, they would get paid, but over time the individual charts fell by the wayside. We’ve attempted this method many times and it fails within the first couple weeks. Chores don’t get completed and I end up picking up the slack. I don’t mind doing the tasks but that is not the point.

Instilling A Little Friendly Competition

After getting fed up with the lack of help around the house, my husband decided we needed a change. What if we nix the charts and make a list of chores with assigned dollar amounts? We concocted a sheet with roughly 7 items the kids could choose from. Once they get approval by a parent, at the start and finish, they put their initial next to the chore. At the end of the week, we add up what they have done and pay them.

Here’s the kicker: Only one child can perform the task at any given time. There is a mix of daily and weekly chores available but if someone gets to it before you then you are out of luck. If your job was taken, you fight a little harder for it the next day. This is also great for getting the kids up and moving in the morning.

Today, three of our children were literally fighting about who gets to take the trash out this week. I sat back and laughed at the irony of all this. Some chores are a win-win like walking the dog. It is necessary and the kids get exercise as well.

Done are the days of harping, because I will only ask once if someone wants to do it. If they all choose to say no, then I do it and no one gets paid. The task needs to be completed but then I tell them not to complain when they need money. They know what they can do to earn money, even our five year old.

Preparing Them For Adulthood

If they lose momentum over the next several weeks, this method is easy to pick up again when they need funds. All I have to do is tell them to look at the chore chart and see what needs done. No one wants to pick up dog poop, but if they can get a dollar by doing it, then they are on it.

Regardless of the money, they are learning how to do things around the house preparing them for adulthood. As they get older, more items will be added to the list, growing along with them. Fortunately for us, these new chores are not in place of their normal tasks. This list is on top of the chores they are expected to do around the house.

Folding and putting away their clothes is a requirement for playing electronics. Cleaning up after themselves, putting dishing in the sink and hanging up their school done are all must do’s. In essence, we are slowly relinquishing our roles and handing them over to the kids.

Last night, my nine year old asked me if you live at high school. I said, “No buddy, not high school but usually college.” He got this worried look on his face and I reassured him by saying: Listen, we aren’t going to kick you out of the house without preparing you to live on your own. It’s like how a mother bird won’t kick her baby out of the nest until she knows it is ready to fly. What we are doing now is preparing you to soar.

Put your oxygen mask on first. Self care is essential for all parents to make it through the day.

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