Teach your kids responsibility by use of Chores | The Savings Wife

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Teach your kids responsibility by use of Chores

My husband and I came up with a way to reward our children for doing chores assigned by age and not going  broke in the process.   Chores are a great way of teaching your children responsibility.

Because we have 4 kids the idea of an allowance " just because" would never work.   We also wanted to teach our children the value of hard work and how to earn and handle money wisely.

Here is our step by step guide:

Step One:  Make a Lists of Chores by age determined by safety or sanity.

We simply divided the chores into two categories "You will do because you are part of the family chores" and "Chores you can get paid for, that are usually mom or dad chores."

  • Chores were assigned by age of child and what they could accomplish without help from mom or dad.
  • First set of "You will do because you are part of the family chores" was given at age 2. 
  • We add a new chore each birthday until age 8.  At age 8 they start learning things like cooking meals, using a knife, planting and harvesting, yard maintenance and snow removal and other life experiences as time permits and as Mom or Dad has patience to teach them.    School, homework and activity schedules also become hard to plan around for chores so they are learning flexibility and prioritizing so as to get everything done.     
  • By age 8 they are doing their own laundry, fixing their own lunch and breakfast and are doing the essentials of taking care of themselves.    This works great when mom and dad both get sick, you need to deal with one of the other sick children or for those emergency situations when someone else is taking care of your kids for you.  You can have full confidence that they are being taken care of.

"You are Part of the Family chores List" by age:

Because we had children there is more than one chore listed for each age group beyond age two.  I would suggest only assigning one per year after age of 2.  You can use the rest as training where you and the child does them together.   

Age 2 Chores:  Brush teeth, make bed (usually was pulling covers over bed), get dressed, wash face.This year is a focus on self care.   They want to do it themselves so let them.   They will probably put shoes on the wrong feet or shirts on backwards, point it out if you want but allow them to fix it.   You will still have to button pants for a while.    
Age 3 Chores: Put away clothing into drawers (we start teaching basics of folding and sorting of dirty clothing too), Cleaning table, setting table.   This age is putting things away and sorting them where they need to go.   
Age 4  Chores: Feeding and watering cat (we had two really good at remembering and 2 not so good.  So we had to add a consequence that no breakfast is served until cat has his breakfast),  Packing own snack and water bottle for school, emptying back pack after school, bringing in the mail. This age you are teaching them Responsibility for themselves and others.   (we started teaching the basics of breakfast making and lunch making) 
Age 5 chores: Bring all the laundry down and sorting it by color in the morning.   (continued teaching folding of clothing and how to run the wash machine), making own lunch (sandwiches), making own breakfast (cereal) (when you teach this one make sure you stress the clean up after yourself or you will find Jelly everywhere, also pouring of milk was done by adult until age 7 then we had the 7 year old pour for the younger ones)  Learning independence and interdependence is the focus this year.   Cleaning common area floors from clutter or toys
Age 6 Chores: Starting a load of laundry in the morning and folding their own clothing and putting it away (learning how to load the dishwasher and clean up after meals), packing own lunch for school.  (We also got an alarm for the children at this age set for wake up for school, they are responsible for getting up on time, we do check 10 minutes after the alarm just to be sure though).  (starting to teach about cleaning toilets)
Age 7 Chores:  Taking out garbage (we had a rolling furniture square that the kids can use to take garbage to the dumpster.   

The "Chores you get paid for" list.  

  • Note: Most of the above list can be listed under here if they have matured quickly enough to accomplish them before the ages above.   
For example: Ashlyn can fold her own clothing and put it away and she is only 5.  It's not an expected chore for her so I do pay her for it for now.   
  • We don't pay much anywhere from 5 cents a chore to 50 depending on chore.   You wouldn't think it would add up but it does, three bought DS's last year.   
  • Also we didn't start paying for chores until the age of 5.   

Cleaning Toilets  (age 8)
Vacuuming per room (age 9)
Bathing (yes we have this as a chore for now, it helps keep us in check) (by self 6 if boy, 7 if long hair)
Counters in Bathroom (age 8)
Cleaning Dishes or putting into dishwasher (age 9)
Empty Dishwasher (age 9)
Dusting the House  (can start early but don't expect complete results until about age 10)
Mowing yard (determined by how well they can operate mower)

List of Jobs others pay for the kids to do:

Shoveling Snow (we send our kids to shovel elderly neighbors) for free but we pay them.  They do have a few paid ones though.

Age 12 and up jobs: 
Mowing lawns (lawn mower)
Cleaning houses
Baby Sitting

Step 2:  Paying them for the Chores

  • Determine a record keeper: Because we have 4 children we use a chart with each of the chores that they can get paid for listed.  They simply write their initial down.  I make it their responsibility because I can honestly say I wouldn't remember.  
  • Determine frequency of payment: I usually pay about once a month or right before a bank trip. 
  • Determine what to do with the funds:   They each have a savings account that they are allowed to put money in and take money out of besides the one for college funds.  Some banks like TD bank have summer reading programs that allow your kids to get money for free just for reading books.  This allows them access to their money and allows you to teach them about banking, tithing and savings.  One of the best resources for this is Dave Ramsey Kid products
Read more about my tips for  Household management or Discipline of Children.  

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