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.
(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.
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.