As I mentioned before, I want to start sharing some of the things we're doing in this house that are working.
Not because I'm doing it all right (Truth be told, I'm doing a lot wrong.) or because I'm chock-full of good ideas (I can't take credit for most of these ideas because the bulk of them came from books or magazines or other mothers much wiser than myself.) but simply because I want to share what's working for us and because I want to gleam ideas from what's working around your house as well.
So periodically, I'm hoping to share one new thing that is working around here. I'll share why we're doing it, how we're doing it, and any other tips that I can think of that have helped us along the way.
And in return, I'm hoping you'll share with me what you're doing, why you're doing it, how you're doing it and any other tips you can think of that have helped in your success.
Chores & Allowances
I've always been a parent who believes in chores. In fact Ross (who is celebrating his 21st birthday next month) always had chores growing-up, but for some reason, I've had a tough time getting the whole ball rolling on regular, daily household chores for these three little ones that are still at home.
Sure, we'd ask them to do things around the house, and sure, they had to clean their rooms, but never with any scheduled regularity or accountability.
I think part of that is because of my 'all or nothing' personality which led me to feel like until I had hours to devote to making a perfect and detailed chore list, a flawless and accurate method of tracking those chores, the time and patience to show the kids specifically how we wanted things done and a well thought-out allowance system to keep them motivated, that there was no sense in trying to instutue such a thing.
And I think the other part of the equation is my 'if you want something done right, do it yourself' mentality, which (let's be honest) isn't always the best approach - and in this situation, it was cheating my kids out of some pretty healthy life lessons in responsibility, spending habits and teamwork within a family.
So a few months back, Josh and I took a few minutes (not a few hours) to get this whole ball rolling.
I made the chore-list that hangs on the fridge:
And Josh Downs made the calendar (that also hangs on the fridge) where we sign-off daily on each of the kids chores:
And then together, we came up with an allowance system that works for us.
Basically, each of the kids gets $10 per week for their chores and since there are six chores per week (no chores on Sunday) that means that each time they miss a chore, they lose $1.50. (Technically, $1.66, but we just rounded it down to $1.50 for the sake of simplicity.)
And we decided on $10 per week because it's easy. 10% to charity = $1.00. 50% to savings = $5.00. And 40% for spending = $4.00. (I've heard of systems where the kids gets $1.00 per year, every week. So Annie would get $7 per week since she's seven, Courtney would get $10 since she's ten, etc. and that may be something we institute later - though that could get pretty spendy in the future when we've got three teenagers in the house.)
But for now, our $10 per week system is easy.
And we like easy around here.
Then, once a month, Josh tallies everything up, calls all the kids to the dining room table and tells them how much they earned. (We decided on doing it once a month because it's easier for us and quite honestly, the kids seem more motivated by the larger quantity of money that they see on a monthly basis in comparison to what they'd see on a weekly basis.)
So that means, if they do all of their chores each month, they've got $4.00 to give to the charity of their choice, $20 to add to their savings and $16 to spend as they like. (We try to encourage them to make wise spending choices, but ultimately, they can spend it on whatever they want.)
And all that money goes into individual jars with three clips inside that are labeled (with a Sharpie pen) 'tithing', 'spending', and 'savings.'
And those jars purposely sit on top of the piano where they're visible & accessible in the hopes that they will serve as a reminder & motivator.
So far, we're still reminding the kids about their chores each day, but for the most part, the chores seem to be getting done, with the exception of days when they aren't home/aren't home until late. (Since I'm the one who is home with the kids both before and after school, I feel like it's always me who is reminding/nagging the kids to wash out their lunch boxes, do their chores, start on their homework, etc., so recently, Josh started calling home almost every day after school, so HE could be the reminder/nagger instead of me.)
And that means that three nights a week, the dishes are done by someone other than myself or Josh...
And that means that there are fewer dust bunnies on the stairs...
And that means that I never have to take out the trash or the recycling again (although I never did that anyhow)...
And I think it also means that are kids are learning that it takes a lot of work to keep a household running smoothly and that a family who really loves and cares for one another will all step in to get those jobs done.
And sure, our system is not perfect and will probably undergo some updates and modification (I'm reading 'The Secrets of Happy Families' right now - thanks to the recommendation of Erin Cobb and will probably make some modifications as a result.) but it's a start.
And a start is a start.
So it's your turn. (What are you doing in the realm of chores and allowances that is working???)