Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday - Backwards Edition - Chores for a 5 Year Old


It's backwards day at Works For Me Wednesday so instead of posting a helpful tip, I get to ask a question. And this is something that I really need help with so, come on internets, help a sister out and tell me what you do...


I have a 5 year old who I think is pretty smart. The problem is though, he is lazy. He likes me to do everything for him. And I guess it is my fault. Being my first born, I started doing everything for him and just never stopped.


But we now have a problem. He expects everything to be handed to him - given over to him as if he deserves it because he has asked or whined for it.


His birthday is in November and of course, Christmas is in December. So he started expected windfalls of toys once a month. When January hit and there were no toys he started begging for...no lets make that demanding more toys. But I have not given in so he gets angry.


So what I am left with post birthday and post Christmas is a little boy who gets mad when he asks for a toy and doesn't get it. I have tried to explain the concept of working for your money, saving your money, donating your money but he can't see past a new toy.


I don't want to raise a child that expects things to be given to him. Something needs to change.


I think 5 is old enough for chores but I'm not sure exactly which tasks and how many tasks are appropriate for a 5 year old. How much allowance should a 5 year old receive for these tasks? Should I use a chore chart? (The thought of a chore chart sends cold chills down my spine...one more thing for mommy to keep track of...but I think he probably needs a visual to help him understand what he is working towards.)


And what about my 3 1/2 year old? She is not usually lazy but after watching her brother for the last couple of months, she has decided that lazy and demanding may be good character traits after all. What chores should I give her?


I want this to be a positive experience for the kids (and for me). I don't want there to be lots of screaming and fighting...we have enough of that already.


Part of me thinks they should do chores for free. I mean, they are receiving food, shelter and all the Scooby Doo they could possibly want. Shouldn't that be enough? But the other part of me thinks that they need to learn that in order to make money you need to work for it and what better way to learn that than helping me around the house!


So give it to me! Let me know what has worked for you and your kids.

post signature

27 comments:

Edi said...

Ok - this is gonna be long:

For the past 2 or 3 years we have been giving our 2 children (5 & 8) a small allowance. It’s based on a flat figure plus their age – so the older child receives a bit more than the younger....

The allowance is not given as “payment” or reward for doing chores – we want them to realize that the chores are just something they do based on the fact that they are part of the family and that we all work together.

This is what we do. Each month the children receive their allowance. The money is given to them in cash. Then they have the option of depositing the cash into “The Dad Bank” (DB) aka “Fridge Money”. Any money that remains in the DB at the end of the month, we gives them an additional 5% interest on that amount. The kids can either take the interest in cash or deposit it back into the DB, thereby increasing their interest the next month.

When we are out shopping and the kids want a treat (a toy or book or ice-cream etc) they know it comes out of their DB account – and if that money decreases, there will be less interest that month. If they want to buy presents for the rest of the family on birthdays, or Christmas – this is where there money comes from.

If it's a planned family activity or gifts for people outside the family, of course mom pays for those things.

Motherwise said...

We started out with little things when the kids were about your son's age. Maybe I would lay all the settings for the table out and they would place them in front of each person's place. We gave a dollar or so and then took half back and put it into savings - and let them see the larger amount every time we added to it. The allowance amount increased as they got older as did the number/difficulty of chores. Good luck!

Pam said...

Dave Ramsey has some excellent ideas about teaching kids about money and work, and I'm with him on these things. Kids should do regular chores (making the bed, cleaning their room, clearing the table, etc.) just because they are part of the family. They should be given the opportunity to earn money by doing extra jobs. This teaches them the value of work. DR has an excellent program for teaching kids to handle money--saving, spending, and giving--called Financial Peace Jr. You can order it online at the kids' section of his website:

http://kids.daveramsey.com/

Pam said...

Oh, and 3 and 5 years old is PLENTY old enough do be doing chores. :)

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Bean's three and a half almost now. She doesn't get an allowance yet, but when/if she does, it'll be like Edi says - just to help her learn about money, not to reward for chores or things done that we want her to realize are just part of how a family operates as a team.

She doesn't have a chore list, but here are the things she can do, and often does on a daily basis. She is generally "helping Mama" when she does these things, too, not just doing them on her own. A five year old probably could handle some of it on his/her own. And I do think a chore chart could be fun and helpful. Just make one up on your computer that you can print out once a week or so and buy a package of fun stickers and whammo, you're done.

Okay, chores:

* Put away silverware from dishwasher.

* Set table. (It's not perfect, but there's a fork and a napkin for each of us, and hey, that's what we need, right?)

* Help sort clothes into laundry loads.

* Help put clothes in washer/transfer to dryer.

* Rinse unbreakable dishes in sink as I prepare dinner.

* Rinse and cut up (yes! And she can do it pretty well and is learning how to properly and safely use a knife!) fruits and veggies.

* Make her own PBJ sandwich.

* Help make beds.

* Help tidy/straighten up before Daddy gets home at night..

* Take things to the trash/fetch and carry for Mama when I'm cleaning.

There's more, but you get the idea. Because we're doing this in a lighthearted, fun way, Bean seems to enjoy it. She even asks "Mama I want to hewp! What kin I do?" I will admit that it isn't always the most convenient thing in the world to have a 3 year old underfoot when you're trying to buzz through your own chores, but it will pay off for us, I know it will.

A five year old could empty trashcans, use a broom or small vaccuum to tidy up crumbs after a meal, help clear the table, make his own bed, clean sinks, fold towels and other "easy" items from the laundry, wipe off countertops - the possibilities are endless, really. And when spring/summer are here, he can have some outdoorish, yardworky jobs, too.

The key, to me, is that in doing these tasks, they're learning, participating and getting praise and recognition for contributing to the family. :)

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

My blog friend Debunot (www.debunot.com) just posted about teaching her kids about money.

I have a post draft about this in the works since we just started a chore chart for Miss C. She'll be 6 in June. Five is absolutely a good age, in my opinion to start this. She's now in kindergarten and keeps talking about toys she "wants." We're trying to teach her about want versus need.

Here are some of her chores: feed the dogs, Swiffer, dust (I have the BEST Mr. Clean dusting glove), wipe down the kitchen table, pick up toys, put dirty clothes in the hamper, pick up sticks. I give her 10 cents for every check on her chart, although I gave her a bonus $1 for picking up sticks and helping me in the yard since that seemed like true manual labor. ;)

Now my soon to be 3-year-old is picking up on this so I'm not sure when I'll start paying her an allowance but I'll probably hold off for a while!

Jolanthe said...

I actually did a post on Works for Me Wednesday on this awhile back. I have the chores and pictures posted of how I did it for our 6, 5, and 3 year old.

Here is the link:

http://erbhouselife.blogspot.com/search/label/Chores

Hope that helps out! Our kids love their chore packs!

Jolanthe

Vicky said...

My children are all grown but these sort of things were some of the things I loved to do. I had three kids and this was easier than a chore chart. I would reward my children with poker chips .. you know the red, blue and white plastic kind? They each had a jar they kept them in. I would give them a chip to reward anything they did that I thought warranted recognition. Like even if I "caught" them doing something good. Sometimes hugs and kisses were rewarded because I wanted them to be loving ... and you could even buy a hug and kiss if you were having one of those days where you needed an extra one ... and believe it or not, a kid will spend a chip on a hug or kiss if they're really feeling like an extra one! If I asked them to say "take out the trash" and they did it with no lip (which it didn't take long for them to learn their reward chip for no lip, to just do it) I'd give them a chip. If I caught them simply being nice to some one ... especially a sibling, I'd give them a chip. And I would explain why. I'd say, "hey, I saw you helping your sister put away the toys, that was very kind of you." I wanted to enforce good behavior. And I'm not sure what it is about these chips .. but kids at this age LOVE working with their jar of chips. The three colors made it easy to keep them separate and no one could claim another's. Now, spending the chips ... we had a list of things they loved to do or wanted .... and at the end of the month, (or anytime as their "chips" grew) they could pick from the list something they wanted to spend their chips on. Sometimes it was something as simple as having a friend over to play (like when it was really not what "I" had in mind for the day) and as they got older that was probably changed to a "friend spend the night". We used this system for years to reward good behavior ... and in the process they got to get themselves something they wanted (i.e. toy) if they had enough chips to buy it. (you have to figure out how much each chip is worth to you as you're setting up the chart for spending, like does a toy equal five chips or seven? All depends on how you value them when you hand them out) You can reward more than one chip if the act warrants it. I remember our chart had things like .. going to McDonalds for ice-cream or to play on the play ground, renting a movie, going out to see a movie, having friends over, having sleepovers, buying something they wanted, etc. (it's been 20 years, I can't remember them all!) You could even let them exchange chips for cash but be careful if you place a value amount on each chip, it can then get complicated. I know times have changed and many of these things we used as rewards were "treats" back then. (I'm not sure how many people still rent movies!) Remember, this wasn't an allowance type thing .. it was to reinforce good behavior and teach them about sacrifice for the things they wanted. We NEVER took chips back for bad behavior. If we were out somewhere and they saw something they wanted to buy, I'd ask them did they have enough chips to purchase it (which depended on the value I placed on that choice on the chart) If they didn't know, then it taught them patience ... to wait until they got home to count their chips and see. Then I'd tell them we'd come back later if they still wanted the item and they had enough to buy it. (most times they'd changed their minds once we were home counting chips, you know, toy out of sight, out of mind thing) When my kids got older I was the SAH Kool-aid mom ... all the neighbor kids were usually at our house and they always wanted a "ride" somewhere ... to go play putt putt, to go fishing, to go a friends house, to go to McDonalds ... I started charging chips for rides when it was "inconvenient" for me to just hop in the car and take them here and there. Even the neighborhood kids would jerk a job from my "jerk a job jar" (another story!) and do small chore so I'd have more time to be their taxi. It was a lesson in helping out .... I always felt like I didn't get anything done because I was always in the CAR! The neighbor kids would vacumm my floors, clean my toilets (yes siree they would), take out all the trash in the house, empty the dishwasher, wipe down the sinks, etc. etc. .. chores that usually only took 15 minutes ... all for a ride to the fishing hole! It was great and I got some of the little things done in exchange for that time I was in the CAR! One of my sons friends is now 24 and owns his own business and even does contract work for our company. He still says he loved the "jerk a job" jar (which still sits on a shelf in my house!).... maybe it taught him something after all ... he's quite successful at his age :)
Later I'll have to post how you handle who rides "shot gun" when they're old enough for the front seat and start to fight over it! This one was loved by all and my daughter won second place using the idea in middle school for an Invention Convention.
Sorry this is so long .... email if you have any other questions! Can you tell I miss my days of youngun's at my feet :(

Yes, my name is Arizona said...

My son is 3 now and wants everything when I take him shopping with me, so these are great ideas!

Feagans Family said...

In MO, where I am from we have a program for babies and children called Parents as Teachers....our PAT lady says that depending on the age of your child depends on the number of chores. So my Madison is 5 so guess what...she has 5 chores. Making bed, keeping room cleaned up, setting the table and clearing the table (these are not paid chores), then dusting and sorting laundry; these are paid. and only paid as she does them. she can also ask to do more chores for extra money... such as picking up her brother room (they are 2 and 1) & cleaning up the bathroom.
hope this helps some!!

Feagans Family said...

oh one more thing....we also preach to them about giving their 10% to the church. Madison is great about it. Saturday evening she will get her tithe ready and into a plastic bag. That way it is all ready for church and her bible and things are in a bag :)

Teachin' this mommy new tricks! said...

I think they are both old enough for chores. THey are old enought o understand that you do alot and they are part of a family and families are suppose to help each other which is something important chores teach kids. My sister has the kids help set and clear the table. Each kid takes turns setting and cleaning. Also something simple is gathering all the dirty laundry, dumping the garbage, little things like that.

Allowences are something I think can be good and bad. THey are part of the family, you don't get paid...so why should they. But also it helps teach kids about saving money and earning. Hard work and such.

what my mom did it that we had our chores, vaccuming, garbage, dishes. And if we wanted money we did extra chores, weeding the garden, washing windows, cleaning the bathroom.

It worked good...if we wanted to earn money we did. We learned to work hard and save. But we also learn that as a family we need to help out and that mom does a lot.
Hope this helps :)

Melissa said...

I have a 5 year old that pretty much feels the same way about toys. She does small things around the house. Putting some dishes away from the dishwasher. Sorting the clothes when I do laundry.

She doesn't get an allowance but I suspect she will in the very near future.

Another idea is to hold some birthday and Christmas gifts back and then give them out monthly. I'm not sure how much stuff your son gets but in our household this isn't much of an issue since Hope gets a ton of stuff.

HTH!

elizabeth embracing life said...

I am 50/50 on success. My 20 year old grew up with the same "program" as my 18 year old. She is a saver, works hard, even at jobs she does not like to earn the things she wants. My 20 year old learned some very hard knocks when he went off to college and I am proud to say it was nothing he learned at home. It was the reality that no one would bail him out. He has worked hard, put money away and is now very responsible.

We have no special chore list. I believe as the mom of the house I am the manager/learder. Chidren learn by example and team buidling together.

At the younger ages it's not a directive "you must do to get". It's more a "hey, lets all work at this together and then we can do". It has worked well. They learn through example the way things need to be done and as they get older, it's a routine and we all work together.

I want to teach my kids to serve without the expectation of always getting something in return.

My daughter, without any complaint, will jump in on her own where the need is, as will my oldest son, and the younger ones do at an age appropiate levels. We all clean up together, or often I get them started and they finish.

Toys and gifts were not something they ever had to "earn". It was just sometimes we get something special and sometimes we do not. If everyone has had a great week we all get a little something.
I have a jar with all kinds of special outings, and dollar store visits.
Two weeks ago my 5 year old threw a nice little fit (you can scroll back and read about it on my blog). He is now grounded from being in a store until he is six years old (end of April) He does not whine or complain about it, he knows his behavior was not cool.

I know this may all sound very loose but teaching kids to serve and know that in everyday life there is just stuff to do. I guess I am also a den animal. I am the 3rd of five kids, and now have 5 kids and it is always more enjoyable working together. Right now the five year old is learning to be the leader and take charge of the next things that needs to get done. It teaches the others, even mommy to respect the process of another as it may differ from one person to the next.

Personality of the child or temperment never dictates the follow through. Jesus calls us into service and the fruits of the spirit did not come with conditions on personality or disposition.

I think being a stay home mom makes all this easier because there is the time factor of being able to take the time to work on all this. Some of my working moms are tired and don't have the emotional energy, because at times it may require a few time-outs, sentance writing, and that takes time.

Bonnie said...

Hey ... I did a post about this last November ( can't believe I've actually used this system for that long but I love it !!) HERE IT IS and the second post with the printable chart IS HERE

My kids are 4 and 6. Recently I've stepped it up a bit with them. They now empty and fill the dishwasher once or twice a day. They fold and put away their own laundry. They are totally responsible for their own rooms. Beds made, toys clean, vacuuming.

My advice. One thing at a time. Don't throw it all on him at once. And teach. I spent a lot of time, teaching and helping til they learned how to do it themselves. AND I didn't present it to them as "ok, today you start doing horrible, dreadful chores" just one morning, I said "Hey, Jono, come here for a sec, I want to show you how to make your bed ..." and slowly, as he got that, added to the things I was showing him.

Sure, they complain some but that's why I love this system. The responsibility is on THEM. If they don't do what they need to, it takes them longer to get their money. It's been a good motivator for them.

I was like you too, for a while they didn't get an allowance. They just had to do what they had to do because they were part of the family. But I see benefits to the money. Having their own money is teaching them that you can't just buy EVERYTHING you want all the time. They're also learning about tithing and saving !

Ok ... this is a long comment. SORRY !! Going now !!

Amy said...

excellent post topic!

my boys are 7 and 4. they do many things but only by my prodding, though my 7 year old is getting better at just doing the things that i expect of him.

some of the things they do are cleaning up their toys (where ever they are left out) and cleaning up their toy room. my 7 year old also takes out the trash and recyclables. they also know i expect their clothes to be put where they belong and not on the floor. currently they do not receive an allowance. though they do save their money. i don't think they should be rewarded for things that they should do anyway. i would, however like to give something for doing additional things.

perhaps i really need to get a system of doing set things at set time. then the additional things could yield a reward or payment.

sorry for this long comment. i guess i am in need of advice on this too. thanks again for getting me to think!

Tonya said...

I was going to read through all the comments first but they are way too long. Sorry if I repeat :) First about the toys when my kids want something I usually say, lets put that on your Christmas or birthday list. Sometimes I will buy them something little, like today I bought my boys each a sticker book.

As far as chores I think both your kids are old enough for them. Some that my five year old does are:
-Put away silverware from the dishwasher
-clear his place after meals either trash or sink
-clean his room (this is done every
night before bed)
-put dirty clothes in hamper
-I usually do laundry one day a week, he is responsible for putting the clean clothes away. He gets himself dressed in the morning so he knows which drawers his clothes go in. But I'm not going to say they are put away perfectly. One day he will realize if he puts them in neatly they won't be wrinkled!

For my almost 3 yr old boy:
-he sets the table for me
-clears his spot after meals
-helps sometimes with the spoons in dishwasher
-puts dirty clothes in hamper
-helps big brother clean their room
-helps me with the baby needs ie diapers getting and throwing away.

Hope that helps, as they get older they should be able to do more like my 7 yr old helps fold laundry under my supervision.

Not Your Regular Mini Van Mom said...

My boys have chores and they are for set amounts of money. They have to keep their room and playroom clean for free (to contribute to the family) and then they can do more if they want for money.

ie. Sort laundry into colours (quarter)
Clear the dishes from the table (10 cents)
Swiffer the floor (50 cents)
Help shovel ($1)
straighten up the front closet shoes (10 cents)

They are five too, one of the boys loves to save his money (he hardly ever spends his money) and the other one spends all his money every time we go to the dollar store LOL

My Goodness said...

I once googled chore charts...when I found some, they actually had some great chore ideas on them.

Like...making their bed, smaller garbage cans, giving them a room in addition to their own that they are responsible for at night before bed, setting the table...

Handipoints.com has lots of good ideas, but actually using their system is a chore, but it is a building block.

(even for your 3 year old!!)

jen said...

I don't have time to read all of the comment but wanted to throw out some ideas. I hope they aren't all duplicates.

BTW, most of the kids chores are simply things they do, because a family has to work together/do things for one another. Plus our 4 & 6 y.o.s have one chore that they can do each week to earn extra money.

Here are the ideas though:
-gather the trash from the small trash cans in the house and dump it into a small bag or a larger trashcan
-put away his own laundry
-put away the laundry of a younger sib
-put away dishes (we have our children's dishes in lower cabinets specifically for this reason
-clean room (though you'll have to teach him step by step what to do, if this is all new to him)
-help sort clothes
-put recycling in the recycling bin (ours is in our garage, and I stack stuff up all day and one of the kids takes it out)
-wipe off table after dinner
-sweep under table after dinner (we have a small broom and dust pan for this)
-dry dishes

You'll find so many more things that your children can do once you start. And honestly, I think the best part about kids doing chores is that it gives them confidence and makes them capable! :)

Mama Zen said...

The only thing that I can really add is that I have had NO luck with charts of any kind. They just don't seem to work with my daughter.

Steph said...

My 4, 6 and 9 year olds all have chores. My 4 year old feeds animals and helps with loading and unloading the dishwasher, and sets the table and cleans her room, my 6 year old does a little more, sweeps, waters animals, emptys garbages, and my 9 year old can do most anything except like laundry though she could do that if I taught her how. :) She feeds and waters animals, sweeps, mops, vacuums, takes garbages out, cleans the cat box, etc...
We do give a small allowance, but only if ALL chores are done on every day they are supposed to be done. If they don't do all chores, they don't get money. And my 9 year old gets 2.50 with 10% tithing (for our church) and 40ish% for savings per week. 2.00 for the 6 year old and 1.00 for the 4 year old. Both give the same percentages to tithing and themselves (savings). I agree about both of your views...work to get paid, but work because you are a part of the family. You just do what works for you. :)

Joanne said...

Oh Beth, have you asked the wrong gal this question....

We tell our kids that being a part of a family is a group effort. We all must work together to make our house a home. When our children were old enough to walk they began toddling their little toys into a toybox. As our children grew, so did their responsibilities around here. Making their bed in the morning is also a good place to start. I have down comforters for their beds so making them is a snap. At 3-5yrs old they are a great age for picking up toys.Make sure you don't expect perfection and praise him for what he does, ESPECIALLY when he gets it down and doesn't have to be asked to do it first.

With that said, one of my pet peeves is children who have a sense of entitlement. Ok, here I go stepping up on my soapbox. Feel free to take the remote and hit the mute button....

The more we give them the more they expect and sometimes the more they feel they deserve things. This is where the anger comes in to play.

I am by far the least organized gal I know and when my children were small the house was a mess, it was all I could do to fall into bed each night. But now that my chidlren are ages 6-16yrs old, they have been trained up to know that helping out is expected. We don't give them money for an allowance for their daily responsibilities. Though if I have them weed outside or do something above and beyond, I will offer them some monetary compensation for that. I try to make games out of chores like that. I will hand them all a garbage sack and tell them that the one who fills their bag first gets extra moolah!

Now, my 16yr old dtr does all the laundry every Thursday-Sunday and cleans up the hall bathroom. My son David (13) cleans the kitchen after meals, empties the dishwasher and takes out the garbage, while Grace (9) straightens up the front room and family room before school and sets and clears the dinner table...Samuel (6) has been getting away with murder being our youngest, but he is responsible for going from room to room and emptying out all of the wastebaskets into a white garbage sack, and making his bed.

Once you start a routine, whether it begins with a chart, or just verbally..make it fun but make sure that you are consistent with the tasks you give them. Also make sure that there are consequences when they don't do their chores or whine and cry about them. If you were at your job, your boss wouldn't like that atitude. Remember, you are raising them for their future God given plans and purpose.

Bet you are sorry you asked,huh?!?

Blessings, Joanne

Brittany said...

I'm not to this stage, yet! But thanks for bringing it up-- I just read some really great ideas! :)

Scribbit said...

Wow, so many issues, so many questions.

My opinion? You're in for some painful detox--and ALL kids have that from time to time, not just yours. Smarter usually means it's more needed--it's the ones that are too smart that catch on to the toys gimmick faster.

Yes, give him some chores--and make them up if you have too. Making his bed, putting clean clothes away, shaking out the rugs on the front step, empty trash in the bathroom, etc. Maybe collecting hangars for wash day, be creative. Use a chart if that helps.

I'm anti-allowance myself for exactly the reason you say--it should be free. No one pays me for what I do, families have to contribute to the group, it's what they do.

Ah, too many words--sorry! Good luck, I'm sure with you working so hard and thinking about it you'll do the right thing.

Pampered Mom said...

OK, you may think I am an ogre of sorts. My kids do a lot around the house even Thomas who is now 5.Jack is 8 and since he was about 4 he has been responsible for making his bed. Now he helps bring clothes down for laundry and then he puts them away when they are folded. I have a "flip N' fold" that the kids fight over to help me fold their shirts. So some days they help fold clothes. They are both responsible for making their bed everyday. They also have to keep the playroom picked up. Thomas gets $1 a week and Jack gets $3. Now they don't get this money if they do not make their bed everyday or if they act ugly about helping me with laundry. Jack also helps Mark feed the dogs.
Now the toy thing that is a different story. For some things Jack must use his money to buy. I am also trying to teach them the need to save money for school, car, gas, ect. . .
We talk a lot about what things cost and the fact that not everyone can buy everything they want or need.
My sister has 2 girls they are older, (teens) and she made them volunteer at the soup kitchen and different places to see that there are other people in this world with a lot less than they have. This changed them and taught them that they had it pretty good.
I try to do that with mine so that they know there are people out there even kids that don't eat everyday much less get a treat after every meal.

sorry so long. . . I am very passionate about this one.

Anonymous said...

I would like to respond to the windfall of toys in November and December.
Reading books from other generations, it seems that each person received a small present, like a corn husk doll or tool for special occasions.
Someone told me that Jesus received 3 gifts on his birthday (from the Wise Men), so why should we give our children more than that?
We gave our children experiences this year--and it's been a blast!
For birthdays, all parents appreciated our "book exchange birthday party". Everyone was encouraged to bring books to exchange at the party. The party wasn't centered around all the new gifts, but instead about helping one another pick interesting books!
About chores, we have tried many options. We have always held the rule that if you want to eat, then you need to help set the table. Even our 2 year olds can carry fruit, napkins, their plates, cups, flatware, etc. Older children place the food dishes, etc on the table or help prepare the meal. This is part of being in the Brown family.
In addition and in order to help to teach about the value of money, we have chores that come with allowance for our school age children. There is no chart, but they are obligated to do 2 chores and homework on weekdays and 5 chores on weekends. If they don't do it, then the allowance could be reduced slightly (though it's never happened without our permission).
During the summer, we also have an "extra chore chart". These chores can be done for additional income (ranging from $.10 to $.50). We started this when our son was 5 years old (and daughter, 8). They love this! They mark the chores they have done and at the end of the week, we add the total and pay the $$. They decided together that they would save up for a laptop--and did it!! It also produced their own creativity. They decided to make zucchini bread from using the CSA zucchini and summer squash. They then sold it at the local CSA. There was no laziness with that system, and they often asked us, "what else can we do for $$".