Monday, March 28, 2011

Mommy Monday

We have been consistently inconsistent about chores and allowance around here.  We tried giving Jesse an allowance over a year ago but we quickly learned he was not old enough to handle money and saving and our house was filling up with cheap $1 toys.  So, we stopped after a while.  There are things that we expect the kids to do and we don't let them get away without doing them: taking their dishes to the sink after eating and feeding the dog.  We have those down.  But we are getting to the point where we know they are old enough to be doing more and also old enough to get some allowance.  Jesse is also learning about money at school so we thought it would be a good time to start again.  The question for us has always been how to make not make a do a job, get paid system.  So, this is what we came up with for now:

Jesse and Karis each have a chart (that have been up on the wall for two years now!).

The top section includes responsibilities that come with being a part of the family and taking care of yourself: clearing the table, taking care of the pet, getting dressed and putting away toys.  They will get a set amount of allowance every week for being a part of the family, we are sharing the family income with them.  So, the expectation is that if they share in the family earnings, they also share in the family responsibilities.  But, each individual chore is not "earned".  The honor jobs are those things that go above and beyond the expected responsibilities (the meaning of honor).  They will be paid extra for doing these things (for Jesse: making his bed and taking out the compost) if they do them at least five times a week. 

The bottom section lists chores that are to be done on the weekend.  There are also heart habits listed, things that we would like them to work on personally.  For Jesse, it is showing respect and apologizing without being prompted.  They will get a smiley every time we "catch" them doing these habits and when they have a certain combined total, they get to chose where we eat on the weekend. 
We will make them tithe part of their earnings and they are not allowed to spend any of it until it is a certain amount (that way we eliminate the cheap toys). 
So, here's our attempt to instill responsibility, intentional heart building and money management!
I will let you know how long it lasts!

How have you handled family responsibility and allowance in your family? 


Becky said...

I have always struggled with the allowance thing since we have never been able to afford an allowance. We have given them each some chores that they do daily like making beds, clearing their plates and generally picking up their messes. Then they have weekly cleaning chores, bathrooms, dusting, trash etc., each having a different chore. They rotate doing the dishes, each one has a certain day to load and unload, compost, trash etc. These are the expected jobs that help them feel they contribute to the household. Now that they are older, they always can use the cash for dates, gas, food etc, so we squeeze out a few dollars to do odd jobs around the yard or inside or random acts of kindness or help others in the community or get a summer job. I have wanted to help them to develop an attitude where they contribute learn how to work and not expect to be waited on and I think it is working. The older guys are now able to pick up jobs in the summer and odd jobs for others for a few bucks and they appreciate the cash.

Sullivan's Mom said...

So OBVIOUSLY Sullivan isn't getting an allowance yet, so I don't actually have any experience other what my own family did - but I liked how my parents handled it and so I think I will try to do the same.
So my mom had household chores on index cards - blue cards were weekly, pink were monthly, yellow were yearly and each job had a time on it. For example, cleaning the big mirrors in the halls was a 15 minute job, but cleaning the windows on the first floor was a 60 minute job. Each week she'd pull out the cards and everyone had to choose 60 minutes worth of jobs to do. We were only paid for things we did above and beyond that 60 minutes of chores.
I always appreciated that our allowance wasn't tied to the expected/normal jobs - I mean, we just had to clean our own rooms - but we'd get paid for the index card jobs. So if you knew a friends birthday was coming up or if you had a "big" purchase to make - you know, like nail polish or something haha - you could do more than 60 minutes. Or I can remember her teaching me how to iron, and I'd get paid .25 a shirt. I still am a pretty good ironer, by the way - it's a super useful skill.
On top of our earnings..... we had a yearly budget. I think starting in 5th or 6th grade, we had a $300.00 budget that we used specifically for clothes, shoes, coats....we got to decide how to spend it...I learned after that first year, to NOT spend it all at once, because once summer rolled around I'd spent it all on those big puffy socks and had no more left for summer things and then was just stuck with handmedowns.
Anyway...I think with some training, we can teach our kids to do all the household cleaning....that's my hope anyway. (kidding)
I am not entirely sure how I feel about attaching a monetary value to behaviors...I'll return to that topic at a later date.
and my parents never forced tithing...although now I'm not really a church-goer, so maybe that didn't pan out quite as expected. :)

Jane said...

Becky- Thanks for sharing. Your family is a good example of how there isn't a one size fits all way to do this and that family responsibilities change with seasons of life.

Sarah- Thanks for your comment, as always, very helpful! I really like your Mom's system. I definately think that the freedom here is to change things up as seasons of the family change and the kids get older. I did want to note that the heart habits that we are working on are not for the kids to earn money from. We noticed how we are placing a lot of negative attention on the behaviors we don't like and wanted to attach some positive attention to the habits we want to see- the reward is a fun family time together. The specific heart habits will change after a while.

Sullivan's Mom said...

I absolutely agree - I like how they get to pick out the place to eat - I think that's a great idea. I'm a big fan of rewarding kids with a privilege rather than an object or something of monetary value.
I think there's a lot of value in focusing attention on positive behaviors. My own personal mantra is, "Even negative attention is attention."
In the classroom (which I know is not really a reflection of my parenting skills but still makes sense....) I know that a child exhibiting negative behaviors is really just looking for any attention, so I try so hard to ignore them and praise the kid who actually IS standing in line quietly, or whatever.