I really struggle with chores around here. I really, really do. I’m touching on this very nasty subject here just in the off chance some of my nearest and dearest are struggling with the same issues for their wee darlings….
I don’t like to yell. I also suffer from a very short fuse. I tend to avoid confrontation, even with my 4 year old.
But here’s the thing – my 4 year old is almost 5 years old, and she’s demonstrated that she’s MORE than ready to tackle some household jobs. She does them at school – no problem – but as we all know, that doesn’t equate to doing the chores at home. Oh no. That we have to fight tooth and nail about.
So, because I refuse to waste my time falling asleep over parenting books, I have been steadily quizzing my friends about their approaches to the nasty subjects of Chores and Allowances. I have come away with the following points that are important to me:
- I think our kids should get some money from time to time just for being members of our family. They need to learn about the wiley ways of money and the sooner the better. Free Money isn’t the lesson, but not all money has to be “earned” when you’re Four.
- I also don’t want our kids to only equate doing chores with earning money. You don’t need to sweep the floor because it’ll earn you a dollar. You need to do it because you’re part of this family and that means helping out with the work.
- But still – – – money is a huge motivator. Even at 4 years old.
- Andrew and I are also TERRIBLE at follow through on allowance. We completely SUCK at actually handing over the cold hard cash. We’re just too busy to go to the damn ATM.
So…..this is where we’re at for the moment. I have posted a list of chores and assigned them a monetary value. I know these values are high – we’re going for STRONG motivators right now!! She can – at any time – ask to do a chore and earn some cash…or I can assign her a chore…..and we write down what she’s earned. She does need permission – I’m not going to let her feed the cat 16 times a day – without permission, the chores aren’t worth anything. She can spend that money as she wishes, including buying a TV show. $.50 is with a 1/2 hour show. If she wants to watch a Dinosaur Train, she’s got to earn it. Then our usual 90min total during the week, 90min total during the weekend for screen time applies.
The idea is that when she turns 5, some of these chores will no longer have monetary value. They’ll be expected of her. She will also be entitled to some cash each week (yet to be determined). If she doesn’t do her designated chores (probably 3 of them), she will have to pay US from her cash.
When we went camping last week, she’d earned $2.50. She blew it on M&Ms and an oreo ice cream bar and was over the moon. Let’s see how long that lasts. I’m hoping I can get her to clean the whole house before we fly back East next week…..