Our New Chore System

Hello!  I am excited to share our new allowance system that is WORKING!  Yay!

But first, I have a bone to pick with our “Pinterest Society.”  I pin, I use it to collect ideas.  I am also the first to admit when I take an idea off a pin-board, but this whole Pinterest society is getting to me.  For one, whenever anyone sees anything neat in my house that I made, the first question is always: Did you find this on Pinterest?  A year ago, NO ONE would have asked that.  Second, it’s fun to collect ideas, but I am not sure I am in love with the world SEEING the things I want to try, which so far are two things.

In all fairness to Pinterest I have learned a few things:

1. Vis-a-vi markers (overhead markers) work great on glass, a frame with glass in it can become a neat tool.

2. I pinned an egg bake, and then completely changed it, and it was yummy!  The inspiration was great and I am crediting Pinterest for it, despite my changes.

3. There are people who can make REALLY cute things, and I am NOT one of them!

4. If you pin something because you like the design, not the idea, NO ONE believes it is your idea.  (I may be many things, but I am NOT a thief!)

Ok, sorry about my little rant, now onto my real post: Our Allowance System, which was invented by Scott and me.  If anyone has pinned this idea already, or have seen it on another’s blog, that is purely coincidental.  Our chore system is great, but I am sure that many others have done something really similar.  I will be mentioning some of my pins, just to be clear about what we came up with and what we found.

Our history with chores: Since my son was about 3, we have been implementing different behavior plans.  We have done a game board about listening, a train with rewards, a schedule with rewards, and finally an allowance system.  Dr. Phil always reminded parents that if they wanted to see behavior changes, then find your child’s currency.  It turns out McCartney’s currency is actually money. 🙂  I am really excited about how our allowance system has changed since school started and this month, it is working quite well.  I will do my best to make a LONG explanation, less long.

First of all, we believe that kids should earn money, help around the house without pay, and learn about the working world at home.  We (Scott and I) LOVE real life application and lessons.  First, we started with having expectations about working around the house for free.  As toddlers our kids had to put their clothes in the hamper, pick up toys, and help set the table.  This system that we use today, started with this idea: You live in the house, and you have to help take care of it.

In our current system we have two chore categories, “Chores because you live here,” and “Chores for Pay.”

“Chores because you Live Here”  This category includes things like: cleaning your room, picking up after yourself, putting your laundry away, setting and clearing the table, making your bed, dusting your room, being happy (my son needs this), cleaning up messes you see.  I am sure we have more, but you get the idea.  In this category are things we want the kids to KNOW to do because they live in a house with others.

“Chores for Pay”  These chores are things that Scott and I have brainstormed that the kids can do to HELP make our daily tasks easier.  Some of the chores on this list include: dusting the living room, kitchen and toy room; wiping off the table after a meal; wiping down the bathroom vanity; wiping off the toilet (we use disinfectant wipes for this); folding and putting away towels; making coffee for the next morning (We have a Keurig and I love iced coffee, but I make it the night before and put it in the fridge so it can be cold); and wiping off the kitchen chairs.  There are a few more, but you get the idea.  We are willing to pay our kids for helping to make our lives easier as parents.

This summer, we used this system but it was subjective.  I listed 7 chores a day for McCartney and 5 for Ana.  Their chores and allowance matched their age and they were to do these things daily.  Each week, McCartney earned $7 and Ana earned $5.  Well, we had problems with this.  First, what happened if a chore because you lived here didn’t get done, would your pay get docked?  Once we docked the pay, then it was like we were paying for a free chore.  Second, my son decided that he wanted Sundays off and to get his way he argued and pushed my buttons.  Well, that didn’t work, since we don’t let our kids act like that.  Instead, we fired him (Oh, yes we did!), he was only allowed to do chores for free and we refused to pay him.  When he begged for his job back, we hired him back on for $5 a week instead of $7.  We thought he should learn to respect his boss, even if he doesn’t agree.  Ana found another flaw to our system.  Eventually, she bought what she was saving for and decided to quit.  She must have figured she didn’t need money any more.  As you can see, we had an OK idea, but our system was FLAWED.

Once school started, we knew we needed a different approach.  {Now months ago, I pinned a “Pick your own Chores Chart.”  I want to make one thing clear: we had been planning on doing something like this before I found it, but hadn’t figured out how to make it work for us.  I was looking for ideas on how to make the chart, when I pinned it.  It is a cute chart, but too crafty for me.  Plus, our chore plans only work for a few months, so why put all that time into it just to make it pretty?}

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I, once again, WROTE out the chores for pay and the chores for free.  We made a list and posted it, so the kids would know their daily tasks, and what they could do to EARN their own allowance.  Instead of putting different values on different chores, Scott and I made it simple: Each chore is worth $.50.  Now, for some chores, $.50 is too much to pay, and others it’s not enough, but over the course of the week, it balances out.  On the kids’ chore list frame, we attached velcro.  McCartney has 14 spaces and Ana has 10.  That way, if they CHOOSE, they can earn up to their age.

Each day, once a child completes a “Chore for Pay,” we quickly inspect their work and then they can take a ticket off of the fridge and put it on their board.  Once they earn a ticket, it’s their money because they earned it.  {If we fine them for misbehavior that comes out of their wallets, not off the chore chart.  Our fining system is another blog post, but envision the theory of getting fined for speeding. :)}  Saturday night is “Pay Day.”  Once the chores are done for the day, right before bed, the kids count their tickets and we pay them for their work that week.  Then, we remove the tickets from their boards and the week starts again on Sunday.

Our Tickets are on the fridge so the kids can manage them.

This is working really well for us for these reasons:

1. Somedays are busier than others, and the kids do the chores when they have time.

2. As the school week wears on, Ana gets REALLY tired.  We encourage her to do chores early in the week, and then slow down as the week progresses.

3. My son, can take Sundays off and there are no arguments about chores.

4. Neither child has actually earned their full amount yet, so we are paying them less!  However, they don’t get mad at us, they are mad at themselves.  Each week, they work a little harder to earn more.

5. There are NO fights about getting chores done.  They are pros at chores for free, and they pick their own earnings.  They have control, but so do we.

The other day, my son said he was done with chores for the day.  I asked him, “Do you want to make some money?”  I needed the table cleared and wiped off.  He said, “No, I am all set.”  However, he still had to clear the table because it’s part of dinner routine.  Ana then stepped up to the plate and wiped off the table.  They worked together to help me out!

With their allowance, they also have a “Give to Others” goal.  Each month, they have contribute an amount of their chosing,  to either our “Jesus Jar” (a jar where we collect money and then use it to help others), or they can give it to a fund through church.

The one thing missing from our system is a savings account option.  We know we need to add that, but we are afraid if they don’t get much money, they won’t work.  So we still have things to figure out.  However, our kids are becoming pretty good with money.  If they see something in a store they want, they can buy it, save for it, but first we make them think about it.  They can’t just take their money to shop around.  We have them pick it out, and then they return to the at another time to actually buy it.  If they forget about it, then they didn’t really want it.

At the end of the day, we REALLY want our kids to be money smart.  We also want them to learn to wait for the things they want.  Plus, in our advertising society it is good to know yourself as a consumer.  We are proud of our kids’ money skills so far.  I know it’s only going to get more complicated, but we know it’s important to start young.

WOW!  This post is way longer than I planned!  I bet you are glad I didn’t give the LONG version!  Thanks for reading it.

Do you have a chore system at your house?  If so, how does it work?  

[As always, if you know of anyone who might be interested in our system, feel free to “Pin it” or share it using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or the other forms of social media, just please be sure to link back to my post.]


4 thoughts on “Our New Chore System

  1. Great ideas! Wour kids do weekly chores without pay at the moment. We are still discussing the allowance.mwe r planning on giving a set allowance per week that will need to be divided between save, spend and charity. The catcher is that we will match whatever they decide to save. So, if they decide to put more money into the savings jar one week, we will match that. But, they can not spend their savings until they turn 18. We r still fine tuning before we implement it. We will probably give the same amt for allowance to begin with, but they can earn more for helpful behavior and additional chores. I like your 50 cents per chore idea. But, I think I will keep the kids don’t their weekly big chore without pay ( their rent for living in our house I guess) and add chores that are not so major. You got me thinking I should get moving on this while chris is home. 🙂

    Great post!

  2. Great system. I have a system that works for me. I call it Grab Bag. It’s not so much for chores. It’s more for good behavior. I buy a bunch of junk that the kids like and put it in a bag. When they do something good, like sharing well or achieving something of significance at school, they get grab bag. They love it. But you are lighting a fire under me to do more in the way of chores. I really need to get on that with my kids.

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