As I've mentioned before, I want to occasionally share 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.
Our NEW Chore & Allowance Approach...
I probably shouldn't post this under the "What's Working Around Here" section of this blog because truth be told, we just instituted this new system, so I have no clue whether or not it's going to work for us, but here's to hoping.
Our last Chore & Allowance system was kind of a failure. Either the kids didn't do their chores (without constant reminders) or they failed to check it off on the chore sheet. And even if they did occasionally do both of those things, the allowance-payer-outer (Josh Downs) was so slow in paying up that the kid quickly lost interest.
Eventually, we just ended up falling back into our old, default approach; Our kids forget to do their chores. We nag at our kids to do their chores. Our kids still don't do their chores. We yell at our kids for not doing their chores. Our kids unhappily and half-assidly (If that's not a word, it totally should be.) do their chores. We complain at our kids for their sub-standard chore-doing. Our kids don't get paid. No one is happy. And no one learns any valuable life lessons about hard-work and/or money management.
Not an approach I recommend.
So I spent a little bit of time trying to come up with a new approach:
1. I solidified a chore list that took into account what the kids schedules looked like on an average week and what things I felt needed done most around here.
2. I assigned each kid one chore per day (except for Sundays.) In addition to that chore, they have to have their backpacks cleaned out (no leftover lunchboxes or trash), packed for the next school day, and sitting by the front door before bedtime each night (to ensure that our mornings run a bit smoother.)
3. Each kid has a set of seven magnets attached to their door for each day of the week. (Technically, we didn't need a "Sunday" magnet since the kids don't do any chores on Sunday, but for some reason, the rest of the daily magnets looked lonely without having a "Sunday" magnet to round out the week.) Each magnet has their daily chore listed on it and which day of the week that chore is to be completed. (I had the kids write the day and chore on each magnet with a Sharpie pen.)
4. At the beginning of each week, I hang the money allotted for each chore under the magnets on each kid's door. (Cold, hard cash is a surprising motivator.)
I keep a copy of the chore list in my office and on the fridge too.
5. Each kid has three mason jars in their room, one labeled, "charity", one labeled, "savings" and one labeled, "spending." (I used Ball Regular-Mouth Mason Jars that I found on sale and purchased these bank jar lids for each of them.)
6. I came up with an EASY money system that only involves dollar bills (No change, hallelujah!) and here's how it works:
- Each day, every kid can earn a total of $2 ($1 for their chore and $1 for their backpack) for a total of $12 per week.
- The first $2 a kid earns each week goes into a jar marked for church/charity. From there, any money they earn during the week is split 50/50 into two more jars; saving and spending. (With three kids, each potentially earning up to $12 per week, that ends up being...let me do some quick math here...a crapload of money each month. Since our kids are getting older though, they're responsible for paying for more things and saving for more things, so we're feeling like $12 is good for now, but are open to making adjustments as needed. (Another idea would be to use paper 'currency', like Monopoly money or I.O.U. tickets that your kids can redeem for things like a trip to the park, computer time, etc.)
7. Once a kid's daily chore is done and their backpack is by the door, they just need to get a quick parental approval (to make sure things are done to satisfaction) and then they can take their money and distribute it into their banks.
8. Josh and I (mainly me) are going to try (really hard) not to nag or holler at our kids about their chores. If someone's chores aren't done/aren't done adequately, we're (I'm) just going to allow them to learn through the natural consequences of not getting paid and still having to do their chore the next day anyhow, but without pay. (More Starbucks money for me!)
I designed the magnets and uploaded them to a place called Wacky Buttons. (I've ordered lots of buttons from them in the past and they're a great business to work with.) I ordered the "clothing magnet" kind and then I attached the magnets to the door using glue dots and Gorilla Glue as seen in the photo below. (A TINY bit of Gorilla Glue goes a looooong way, so use it sparingly - as you can see, I used too much and the gorilla glue seeped out along the outside edges of the magnet.)
In retrospect, I might recommend ordering the "refrigerator magnets" instead and attaching them to a metal strip that is fastened to the door like the one you see in my office a few shots up. (You can get metal strips like that from any home improvement store.) Then you wouldn't have to hassle with all the glue. Or better yet, use the refrigerator magnets on your fridge if you've only got one or two kids. (With three kids, I figured that would be way too much of a mess on my fridge.)
And I designed them in a variety of colors; blues for Cole, greens for Courtney Lee and pinks for Yans.
If you want to order any of these buttons, just go to the "Order Page" on the Wacky Buttons website and then enter the Design Code (based on the color you want to order) under the, "Order by Design Code" section. I ordered the "Clothing Magnet" version in the 2.25 inch size, but they come in a variety of sizes and backing options.
Please note that I do NOT make any money from any purchases you make on the Wacky Button site - just sharing for the sake of sharing...