Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finally! A System That Has My Kids Doing Chores With No Complaining

I've tried a lot of different methods to inspire my kids to pitch in around the house, with a minimum of resistance, including an allowance based on the assumption they would have to earn it. But nothing had provided the results I was striving for; a system which would encouraged the kids to contribute to the household while helping them learn the value of money and that things just don't fall in one's lap - things and privileges have to be earned!

Then one day the simplest of solutions came to mind and I just knew it would work. The idea grew from the frustration I would experience when the kids would ask for stuff, refer back to an allowance amount they knew was coming on Friday, so hey, could they just borrow against that for the item they wanted in the moment? And all the requests for activities: hosting sleepovers and my taking them and their friends on a whole range of outings without understanding or appreciating the effort, time and cost required to provide this convenient joy ride! It was becoming all too clear I was not creating the opportunity for them to learn a key lesson which will help them be successful in life; that you have to earn what you want, and it's best if you earn before you spend!

So here's our new plan, and several weeks in it's working like a charm. By doing chores and contributing around the house they earn a point, and when they want something it costs them a point. That's it. I told you, easy peasy!


Empty the dishwasher, put away groceries, walk or help groom the dog, clean their bedroom, their bathroom, fold the laundry and deliver the piles to the appropriate room, dust, help with yard work, take out the trash... and any other task I need help with throughout the day or week. For each accomplished job they earn a point, and it's their responsibility to mark it on the chalkboard in the kitchen.


Then when they want something, they have to spend a point. So you want a Jamba juice, wish to invite friends over for a sleepover or be taken to the mall? It costs a point. At first they resisted saying, "Hey, this is a big job, shouldn't this be more than one point?!" Or when they went to spend a point they argued, "A whole point for this?" From past experiences it's obvious we don't stick to any system that's complicated, so with the goal of keeping things simple for success I said no. "Pitch in and you earn a point, when you want something you spend a point." Simple, easy to understand, no complications or debates on what a particular job or reward is worth. And if they want something and they don't have a point to spend, well they have to figure out how to earn one quick or go without. Tough? I don't think so.

Yesterday a drink from Starbucks was the desired item and when I said "Sure, but it'll cost you a point," they declined after thinking about it. Now that truly is the whole point of this, and it delighted me to see it in action. They are learning that things cost and you have to have earned it, and occasionally they decide the price is too high and take a pass.


As an unexpected benefit, which is a huge, huge treat for me, I hear very little complaining these days when I ask them to clear the table after dinner and clean up! They get in and get the job done. This has definitely been a satisfying transformation of everyone pitching in to make our household run smoothly. I'm getting much appreciated help while they are learning that things cost (whether it be time, effort or money) and they must earn before they can spend.


And who knows, with the time all this help is freeing up perhaps I'll get to a DIY project or two, like this chalkboard I built for an HGTV tutorial that we now have such a great use for! See how to make one yourself here.

What system works in your house?

23 comments :

  1. Wow, this is sounding exactly like my household. I too have been trying to figure out a way to make my kids understand the value of money. If it's ok I would like to use your idea for our household, my kids are 6 and 8 so the little one still have trouble understanding money. He is saving up to buy a rescue bot, but does not get it yet that it costs more than 10 cents.lol Thanks for this great post!

    Jenn

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  2. After years and years of trying to figure this one out, I can't believe how simple your solution is! And that it works, OMG!!!! Good for you Janell, you are teaching your children some important life lessons. Our system involves working together, individual chores but if everyone doesn't get theirs done, no one gets allowance. The chores rotate each week so no one gets bored and I would say the system works fairly well. My only complaint is that the quality of execution of certain chores is not to my standards, but then what teenager enjoys dusting???

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  3. Great idea Janell. Our girls were much more hesitant in wanting items when they were younger if they knew the money for said items were coming out of their pocket, not mom and dad's.

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  4. I love it! Good for you. Got a taste of this yesterday after a treat day for my daughter and I. After getting home, she basically asked for more treats. Hmmm. Summer will be interesting. I used to do this with gems for the kids. I think I will bring it back. . .love the spending points idea. Thanks, my dear.

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  5. Glad to hear this is working for you. My boys spend more time complaining about doing the chore than it actually takes to get it done! Do your job, get paid, spend your money wisely...fairly simple!

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  6. This is brilliant- instituting it in my own house immediately- thanks!

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  7. Oh my gosh! What a brilliant system! My boys are still too young to use this, but you better believe I am pinning this to use in the future.

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  8. This couldn't have come at a better time. I always have my LITTLES here everyday...but this week we have our BIGGIES TOO, (the big grandkids. pre-teens and teens.) A quarrelsome bunch, I tell ya.
    I know Rome wasn't built in a day...but this might give me a bit of peace in the house for the rest of the week.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Pat

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  9. When I read the title of your post I immediately thought "what kind of voodoo black magic is going on here?" A point system? Are you kidding me? This is brilliant especially because it's so simple. This is happening today when I get home. Thanks!

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  10. Janell, I want to say that if you tell your kids they are earning commission instead of an allowance, it puts into perspective what money would mean for them, at least that's how it was for me. I was cracking up on your post and had to comment. This totally takes me back to being at home. My mom went as far as to have a notepad with the date and a short description as to what I didn't complete for my chores. I've got to tell you that my monthly "commission" check was usually to the max because I dreaded that notepad. It did give me a respect for money and now to bargain shop! Love the post and consistency is really the key.

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  11. I'm pretty much at my wit's end and will give anything a try so my kids stick to their chores and learn something about helping around the house as being part of a family, as well as the value of money. Thank you for the idea!

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  12. this might be a good one for the kiddos of this house (just us two adults, here)

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  13. Great idea! My kids are in their 20s now but I will share this with other family members. :)

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  14. This is fabulous. I can only hope I remember this when I have children of my own.

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  15. Such a great and simple idea!

    I am wondering: did you save one or two chores a week that are no points? The kids just ave to do them because they are members of the family?

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  16. Janell this is a great idea that will help a lot of Mom's out this summer! I am going to share this one for sure!
    xo Kathysue

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  17. Good question 'Unknown' - yes, small things they were already doing like feeding the dog, putting their dirty clothes in the laundry and emptying their lunch boxes, those things don't get points.

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    I'll be sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your helpful information. Thank you for the post. I'll definitely comeback.

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  19. What a great idea, Janell!

    Hope you had a great weekend!

    Jessie
    www.mixandchic.com

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  20. Hmm ... I'm liking this idea of yours. I have been trying to make my 16-year-old son understand that the world does not revolve around his needs. I take him to and from school for practices, etc., with nary a complaint. I sit and wait in the car when rehearsals run over. But he had the nerve to complain when I was 5 minutes "late" one day. He said he shouldn't have to wait for me! What??!!?? He has no concept of how much of my time and money is spent doing little things that add up to a lot. And he has no interest in helping around the house unless there is something in it for him. I get it ... I was probably like that myself as a teen. But your points system seems like a good way to teach that everything has a value!

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