Chores….chores and oh yes, chores. Eyes roll, pouty lips are made, grunts are heard, and sometimes stomping feet shake the house. But this Mama, pushes on because responsibilities still need to be tended to, regardless of the attitude I get when assigning them. It is my goal to send these 4 children out into the world as responsible, happy, and productive citizens…who know how to wash dishes, pick up after themselves, and have clean laundry!
I have tried multiple tactics in getting my children to oblige willingly to daily chores. I have offered stickers, (for younger ones) cash, screen time, trips, etc. And honestly, sometimes the battle is one that I question. I remember being a complete slob when I was growing up. The pile of laundry in the middle of my floor was a hurdle I jumped over each night to reach my bed. And here I am today, a wife, mom, full-time 911 dispatcher and I consider myself a productive member of society….the floors are clean-ish, the dishes are done, my laundry is folded and possibly put away (on a good day)…..eventually it happens right? Right. But who is the one that set the example for me? My parents. Mostly my mom. She worked full-time, was a single mom from the time I was 15, and was able to successfully launch both my sister and I into the world. So as much as I want to stress over a clean house, I can’t, and I won’t. It adds way too many challenges to my daily life. And I want to enjoy this life with my kids while they are still at home with me. So, the dishes, oh they will get done. Laundry? It may not be put away, but it’s clean. And the floor, well, I wouldn’t recommend eating off if it, but I promise you that you won’t stick to it. And, for the most part, my kids are happy. (as happy as teens and pre-teens can be, right?)
With that being said, we do have some structure in our chores. My kids DO have responsibilities. How do we get it done? Most kids are motivated by something. For mine, it’s cold hard cash. A few years ago, I read an article about how much to give a child for their chores on a weekly basis. They recommended 1/2 of their age. So, each year my children get a raise on their birthday. And if they want to earn more, they are welcome to do additional chores, I pay .25 for each additional chore they perform. They can even pick up the slack of a sibling, and their sibling pays out of their allowance to have it done for them.
For younger ones there are some great chore charts that can help you track chores and rewards. I found some great ideas on etsy.com. They have a wide variety of options to choose from. I personally like the printable ones that I can change and create each week, similar to this:
One idea that I am starting to weave into this process, is a “bank” for each child. What parent has time to grab cash each and every week for payday? And quite honestly, with 4 kids, most of the time, the cash isn’t available until we get paid. I am currently on the hunt for an app that allows me to keep track of their funds, keep up with additions, deductions, and possibly charity donations. A virtual online bank for us to teach them good spending habits, how to balance their account, and give to important causes.
I recently found at app that I am trying out, called Allowance and Chore Bot. You can assign chores for each child, and when they are done they submit it for your approval. The app keeps track of the balance they have and you can deduct money when you are out an about. This helps with the lack of cash on your side, and theirs. (When they leave their paper money at home and want to make a purchase) I just started with this app, so they jury is still out. I will update you when I have more information.
My question is to you….what do you use for tracking chores? An app? Pencil and paper? Charts? Memory? I would love to know! Leave a comment to share what you find successful!