Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday - Chore Tracking With No Chore Chart!

In March, on a Backwards Works For Me Wednesday, I asked for suggestions for chores for 5 year olds,how to track them, how much to pay them, etc.

And wow! I have been getting multiple Google hits every day since then on that post.

But nothing worked for me.

I had decided that there should be some chores my kids should be doing for free just because they are part of the family and some extra bigger chores they should be doing for allowance so they can understand how to save and spend their own money.

But there were so many problems with this plan.

I couldn't figure out what "bigger" chores my kids could do to earn money. So my son, who was excited at the prospect of earning money, started to nickle and dime me. "Mom I just made my bed, can I have some money?" or "Mom, what big things can I do to earn some money today?"

And then I couldn't figure out an easy way to keep track of everything. The thought of chore charts and stickers made my head spin.

I knew what would happen if I instituted a chart. After day two, I would be following the kids around yelling because something hadn't been done on the list. That seemed to defeat the whole purpose of the kids being helpful. I did not want checking chores off a chore chart to become another one of my chores.

I was at a loss. I didn't know the best way to proceed but I knew that this summer, one of my goals was to get the kids to help me around the house.

After a play date where many of the moms were gnashing their teeth over chore charts, raising responsible kids, how much allowance is too much allowance, my friend Jennifer and I had our own discussion.

Jennifer has four kids so she needs all the help she can get. And when she said, "I just want them to help me out when I ask" a light bulb went off in my head!

I formulated a simple plan and that night at dinner I told my kids about the plan.

And here's the ingenious plan:

Whenever I ask them to do something to help me around the house, they are to do it right away without whining and complaining and they will each receive $2 at the end of the week.

My son was so excited to finally be able to earn some money he wanted to know when we could get started.

We've only been doing this for two weeks now but so far so good.

My son makes his bed every morning before coming downstairs. My son and daughter clear their plates now without being reminded.

They help me fold laundry without whining. They help me dust and seem excited to do it. They help me clean crumbs with the Dust Buster. They help me water the plants. They help set the table.

And because the conditions of earning their pay are that they must do it when I ask and without complaining they have been doing it when I ask and without complaining!

And best of all, because they are helping me when I ask for help - THERE IS NO CHORE CHART!

This is the best of all worlds for our family and so far - it's working for me!

For more Works for Me Wednesday, visit Shannon!

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23 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

But what happens if they whine and complain on Tuesday? Then there is no incentive to cooperate the rest of the week, right? How do you deal with that?

Susan Hight said...

Hi Beth, I totally agree with you on the cart thing. I tried it and it just didn't work. My daughter is 6 years old and is still clueless about money. She has a hand full of pennies and thinks that she is rich and she doesn't need more. So, this is what I did. I told her the new rules. If I told her to do a chore she is to do it right away without an attitude. If she doesn't do it, she is punished, if she has an attitude, she has to do two more chores for each time she has an attitude. She did a lot of extra chores in the beginning due to her attitude and I believe TV was even taken away at one point for her refusing to do a chore. But now, she does everything I tell her and she prides herself on doing those everyday chores before I even tell her. Life is so much better now.

HRH said...

This is really good. I phrased it a different way at my house that if they ask for money after the chore they will not receive it but if it is something they are not expected to do sometimes I will give them extra. They have regular things that we expect them to do. They get an allowance weekly. I don't think I have ever had to take the allowance away for not doing chores, but they get money taken away for bad behavior and then I buy something fun for myself with all that money...

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Suburban Correspondent - That's a good question!

So far, that has only happened once and all I said was, “If you start whining, you won’t get your money AND you are going to have to help me anyway.”

He immediately hopped up and did what I asked. I am sure that as my children age, I will have to make adjustments, but for now, at ages 5 ½ and 4, it is working.

***keeping my fingers crossed***

Amy Jo said...

Love it! I did chores very similarly when I was growing up. Except that when I was done with the chore, I had to ask my mom, "Is there anything else?" Of course I would be crossing my fingers behind my back hoping to be let off the hook. I like your idea, and will try to implement that in a year or two. Really, I'd like my husband to do the same!

Kellan said...

My kids don't get an allowance - we went through the same problem of them wanting to get paid for everything too. That is a great idea you came up with - good luck!

Have a good day - Kellan

Queen Mommy said...

Wait, without reminding or whining? Come on? REALLY??

Hmmmm...I will be starting this VERY soon!

Awesome!

Annikke said...

This is great! Glad they are helping out! We tried something similar about a year ago and it worked wonders. The boys have gotten into habits that now they do things without being asked and without realizing it I think!!

Jaina said...

Genius! I'll definitely have to keep this in mind. I think I'm going to pass it on to my mom too, she might like it. Thanks for sharing!

Lisa Knight said...

Nice, no chart, is a good thing. Right now they have a list of things that I require of them. We have added a few things extra. They aren't 100% into it, but they will work together to clear the table now & at 8 & 4 that feels accomplishment enough LOL!

The Walsh's said...

Now that's fabulous! Chore charts, while a genius idea, never really work. You forget to mark things off...blah blah. Besides, things come up all the time that need to be done OFF of the chart, which makes the entire idea of the chart invalid. Kids don't understand...

I'm loving your plan. Hope it works.

CC said...

Right now we have a "no drink, treat, tv, etc" until your job is done rule. It works okay. The other thing I've been stressing is that they do things the FIRST time I ask. There is usually a time out of something like that if I have to ask more than once.

Sandy C. said...

That sounds like a great plan! I can't wait to start getting my daughter involved in chores.

Jamie said...

So far, Anna really likes money and likes the concept of getting money. Sometimes I'll tell her that she'll get all the change in my wallet if she cleans up her toys. Other times I just give her one coin - she's even happy with a penny at age 3! It's working really well at this point. I plan to use your strategy when I have to up the ante as she gets older.

Monica said...

Great plan!! I'm glad it's working for you and not causing you more work!

Valarie said...

Hmmm, I am trying to figure the whole chore thing out for this summer as well. I think I may have to come up with a achart though, becuase my 8 year old is a very visual learner and I think if I don't do some kind of chart, I have no chance in getting her to cooperate. Plus, my children are very competitive (I know, not such a good thing) and I think if they can see that one has done more than the others, it will encourage them to do a little more. Is that horrible??

Tracy said...

I think I'll give this a try! :)

jennwa said...

I love your tip. Chores charts make my head spin too.
When Peter saves all his money I hope he lets me borrow some.

Sue said...

That's a great idea- and most importantly, they're learning not to whine. I'm gonna try it.

p.s last night I paid my 7-year-old $5 to give me a neck and arm massage.

carrie said...

Allowances have been hard for us too. Currently, my 11-year-old gets $5 a week if he does everything I ask, in addition to his normal chores (making bed, putting clothes away, etc.) My 9-year-old gets $3 and last week I gave the 4-year-old $1. It's working . . . for now - but I don't know how many times I've tried in the past and it has been a complete disaster!

I'm crossing my fingers for all of us! :)

Good & Crazy said...

Recently switched over to the LOVE & LOGIC method for allowance/chores. Works like a charm...

Lisa said...

Good for you!!! Let us know how it continues to go!

AlaneM said...

Man, I wish my kids were that motivated! They would rather go without money than do chores *sigh*

That's great it's working for you, congrats :)