Monday, May 19, 2014

Working it

We don't give our kids allowance for chores. I've always had mixed feelings about that, because on one hand, I'd like them to have opportunities to manage money. On the other hand, they should be able to help around the house without getting paid--because helping out is being part of a family.

A friend of mine told me how when she had summer vacations, her parents would pull a reading list from Honey for a Child's Heart and she would get a dollar for every book she read. Lanie loved this idea. So this summer, we made up a reading list for her, and she can earn a dollar per book. Erin can too.

This yard gives me lots to do, and I want to involve my kids in it, but they realize how much work it is--meaning they aren't interested in helping for the sake of helping. So I gave them opportunities to earn screen time. For each task, they could accumulate 10 minutes of screen time to cash in whenever they wanted. The tasks were things like: pull weeds for 15 minutes, water potted plants, pick up big sticks and put them in the fire pit, fold laundry, unload the dishwasher, carry grocery bags inside, put groceries away, empty the cat box (I gave double time for that).

On day one, they're running full force. Lanie has already weeded, cleaned the cat box, and now she's cleaning the basement while she's waiting for a load of clothes to finish in the dryer. Erin has picked up big sticks in the yard and is now making her bed. (She did such a great job!)

Their regular chores involve feeding the pets, taking out trash, emptying waste baskets.

What I like is that they are willingly doing these tasks. There is no arguing, complaining or bad attitude. They can either earn the time by picking items from a list, or not. They can choose which things they want to do. (I never thought I'd get Lanie to clean the cat box. For double time, she did it today and said it really wasn't that bad after all.) It's such a huge help to me to have them doing these things, and it's a great chance for them to get some skills under their belts. Lanie absolutely loved digging up maple saplings as part of weeding (we're going to nurture them and then transplant them to replenish some bare areas).


MarshallsMommy said...

Can I just say this is an AWESOME idea? So going to do this once summer break starts over here. You are so clever!

Courtney said...

Day 2 and Lanie is begging to fold laundry. Erin has made her bed. LOL. Yesterday, even after they had accumulated the time they wanted, they still kept helping because they realized that it was fun. I'm certain if I had told them, "Clean the cat box", there would have been all kinds of complaints. It took me by surprise at how well it worked. I should have done this years ago.