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Early last year I wrote this post about teaching kids how to spend smart. We have been using Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr with our kids for about two years now (it’d make an excellent Christmas gift for your children and something to start in the New Year…you can purchase it here!)
Overall we love the program. We love the materials. We love the lessons behind them and the lessons doing chores teaches our children.
However, we’ve run into some issues and I finally reached a point where I realized our chore situation was causing me to feel annoyed, frustrated and even angry at points with my children. So it was time for a change to take place!
What I found was that I was constantly having to remind my kids to do their chores. I understand we live busy lives and so I didn’t want to expect my kids to know when they would have time to do their chores and felt like letting them know “hey guys today is a good day to do them!” was smart. But instead it created this routine of me pointing out good times to do chores and the kids responding with “we’ll do them later.”
Not only were they not taking advantage of the time to do their chores, but then they were not following through on their word to me to actually do them later. The week would end. No chores would be done. On top of not keeping their word to do them, there would be tears over the missed opportunity to earn the money and the regret over not doing them.This would lead to promises of doing them the following week in which created a cycle of again me reminding, again broken promises, and again tears. Plus it added up to a seriously messy house because I kept NOT doing their chores since they kept promising they WOULD do them.
Our purpose in setting up chores for our children was to:
1) Have them participate in the care for our home
2) Teach them responsibility
3) Teach them money management
4) Instill a good work ethic from a young age
I took a step back and decided to think through how to get back to our focus. How to have a more positive experience with it and how to break the current, negative, cycle we’re in.
The BIG thing to me is the issue of not keeping their word. That’s HUGE and I felt like introducing the chore system had only really taught them to not keep their word and that’s not good. My goal as a parent is to train my children in the way they should go…and allowing them to say something and not follow through with it is not something I want to be encouraging.
So I revamped the whole system.
First I created new chore charts for each of the children. I went through and really thought of things they are capable of doing at their ages. I made a lot of the items “freebies” which are chores they MUST do and they will NOT be paid to do. I think it’s important for our children to contribute to our home and they should do this with a happy heart and with no expectation of anything in return.
I also made the values of their paid for chores worth more. Basically they will be getting a raise from what they used to be paid. I know many resources say to pay kids their age each week but that adds up and we don’t need to be giving our kids that much money! I wanted to make sure they’d earn enough to pay God and put away for savings and still have some “fun money” left to spend. My percentage breakdown is God gets 10% then savings gets 20%.
I made the chore charts fit 4 weeks worth on one page and printed each child off their page and taped it to the door leading to our garage. It’s easy for them to see. I like the concept of checking things off as they are completed as it’s a great feeling and a great way to add up their totals each week and pay them!
Next I talked with Zach and decided we’d establish “chore time” each afternoon. Ideally I want my children to be self motivated. I want them to WANT to work to earn the money. But that clearly hasn’t been happening. So for the next month we will have chore time each day after school. Our kids don’t have any homework this year so I don’t feel the least bit guilty having them have this set time each day. It’ll be a set time where they MUST do chores. And since it’s a set time that I’m deciding, they will NOT get paid for doing their chores during this “boot camp” period.
It takes roughly 28 days to form a habit so my hope is that having them fill a months worth of chores on their chart up by having that daily time to do them will create the habit of doing a little bit of their chores each day. By not paying them I’m hoping it will motive them to continue to do their chores daily once they DO get paid and will make them appreciate the earnings more once they are able to earn them again. I kept the earning amounts on their chars for this month because I want them to visually see the money they would be earning if they hadn’t lost the privilege to earn it.
We also had a serious talk about keeping our word. And that if they tell me they are going to do their chores and then choose NOT to do them, that they will be paying ME the cost of that chore for the week. If it continues to be an ongoing issue then further punishments will be taken as we do not allow lying and essentially making a promise and not keeping it is a lie.
Overall I feel really good about this new set up and think it’ll help get the chore situation back to a positive experience for all of us. No more frustration for me, no more tears for them (crossing fingers!).
I shared my chore charts in an Instagram Story yesterday morning and had TONS of people reach out and ask for a copy of them so I decided to write this post and make them shareable here! When re-doing Kye and Britt’s chores I also made a chart for Tess. She likes to help them with their chores and loves having money to put in the collection plate at church on Sundays. I’m hoping this little bit of responsibility will help her start off on the right foot with future chores!
Our “pay day” is Sunday right before we leave for church. That way they are truly giving to God first and I like for Sunday to be a day of rest for our whole family. Most of their chores are weekly items and they are paid per item. Some are daily (which I specify on the chart), most of the “freebies” are daily items whereas almost all of the paid items are once a week. The total amount paid is per week, not per day!
How do you do chores in your home? Any items I should add to my kids’ charts?
Chores for 8-10 Year Olds
Stairs Put Away
|Yard Duty (Ask|
Counters and Sinks
Downstairs Tubs and Shower
Chores for 5-7 Year Olds
Stairs Put Away
Mirrors In House
Chairs and Stools
|Clean out Van|
Chores for 3-4 Year Olds
Here are the free printables:
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