Chores and Allowance with Littles

My kids get paid to brush their teeth.  OK, that’s an exaggeration.  My two oldest get paid to brush their teeth.

My children, who are very young, have chores.  Because they are so young, their chores are very basic and mainly having to do with personal care.

These are our chore cards.*  Three are for my younger son, and four are for my oldest.  My husband and I made these ourselves.  

(Please excuse the poor quality of the photo – my battery died before I could get a good shot.  It took me too long to figure out why there was a reflection when I had shut off the flash – it’s the chandelier over the table.)

Once a week my children get an allowance which is only vaguely tied them having done their chores.  I know there are competing theories about this and I really don’t care all that much about that debate so I’m going to leave it alone.  (yay me!)

My younger son puts all of his money into one jar.  Really, I probably wouldn’t even have such a formal system with him except that he MUST do everything his older brother does.  My oldest is required to divide his money into three jars:  give, save, spend.  The give jar is ten percent off the top and the save jar is thirty.  Then there’s the spend jar.  He can put the rest of his money into this jar and spend it whenever and on whatever he is able.  BUT.  Recently we began to encourage him to think about whether or not he’d like to put additional money, from his spendable amount, into the give and save jars.  Today he decided he’d like to give more.

give, save, spend and Harry Helper

Like most systems, it works if I work it.  If I forget to lay out the chore cards or don’t take time to talk about the hurting people in the world who need our help, then the system breaks down a little.  Like most things involving children, being consistent is important.

I’d like to also mention that the first time my oldest got his allowance, he wanted to spend it right away.  So we went to the store and there was VERY LITTLE that he could afford with the pittance we pay him.  Great big tears welled up in his eyes.  He did not throw a tantrum or display any act of temper – but he was hugely disappointed.  It was so very hard for me not to bail him out.  What I did do was put my arms around him tell him that I understood how disappointed he must be and that I have felt that way myself at times.  I explained that we could go home and he could save his money longer, he could ask for something for Christmas or his birthday, or we could look for something less expensive.  He absolutely did not want a gift; he wanted to buy something with his own money that he earned.  We eventually found a small car that he could pay for himself.  Most new toys lose favor quickly but this one and the next one he really saved up for are still special to him.

And that’s how it goes around here.

*I got the idea from Mrs. G. writing for The Pioneer Woman’s homeschooling section.


6 thoughts on “Chores and Allowance with Littles

  1. Organizing Mommy says:

    I like the jar system. We don’t use it ourselves, but it makes sense. You really do have a HAROLD. I had no idea. Tell him that Mrs. Webber named her first snowman after him. Happy almost 39.

  2. Leigh Ann says:

    i’ve thought about doing this, but I still don’t know if daniel has any concept about money besides the names of coins and what they are worth. but it might be worth a try. we are using the marbles in jar method for behavior and motivation.
    I also wanted to ask you if you do or have cloth diapered. And if I am crazy to consider trying.

  3. sara says:

    Leigh Ann,
    I have cloth diapered with varying degrees of success depending on how exhausted I am. I’m currently doing part time EC with cloth diapering which must mean that I’ve been getting to bed on time. 😉

    With cloth diapers there are some things that have helped me:

    If possible, put your changing area near the bucket and the bucket near the washer. During my second pregnancy, I had my washer and dryer moved up to my kitchen because I simply could not keep up with laundry when they were in the basement. My kitchen is smaller now, but it works.

    Have enough diapers to last at least two or three days so that you have enough to last while you are waiting for one load to dry. I imagine you would not want to have too many so that you don’t wind up with a huge pile of stinkies.

    Fancy all-in-ones are nice but they have their drawbacks. I am really starting to like the flat fold ones that dry so fast. At first I was mystified by how to fold them but once I realized that there is no one “right” way, I loosened up and I just do whatever works for me.

    Remember that if you are breastfeeding, it’s really not that bad. It’s just baby pee and poo – and it washes off. I rinse the poopies in the kitchen sink before dropping the diaper in the bucket and then spray down the sink with disinfectant. No big deal.

    Safety note: keep the bucket where no one can drown in it.

  4. Leigh Ann says:

    This is just what I was looking for. I really want to try it out. I am not a crunchy person, but I hate the thought of all those diapers going to a landfill and all the money that could be used elsewhere. We are planning to put the crib up in the playroom because that is where we are most of the day with school and toys, and the laundry room is right there. So I was thinking it would be a smooth setup. I could even change the baby on top of the washer and dryer because there is enough room. Markus says I can do what I want, but he wants me to talk to lots of people before I make the decision.
    Thanks for all your help. Now I am going to go check your craft blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s