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Chores For The Kids

What do you think of chores and allowances for kids ??

Over the years our family has struggled with many different variations on this, all focused on helping our kids to become responsible adults and (let's be honest) taking a little of the housework load off of mom and dad.

My hubby and I went through different charts and lists and tried several different approaches from paying for jobs to a weekly allowance based on certain chores. . . but in the end we always just packed it in and did the stuff ourselves because we got sick of keeping track of it and quite frankly the constant harping on the kids to do each job.  (Please tell me someone can relate!)

Don’t get me wrong, my kids will help around the house with basic chores and will always help with something when directly asked but generally i just end up doing things myself because…….. It’s just easier AND as much as I hate to admit it I have control issues and a completely different set of standards for most household chores than my kids do. (Again . . . am I the only one here like that???) Now that my kids are all teenagers I have to wonder if all of this “overdoing” on my part has done them all a
huge dis-service. How will they ever learn how or when to do certain things and even more so, how will they learn to appreciate the million small (and some big) things that is takes to keep a home and family running?  Will they be entitled, useless adults that will expect everything done for them?????? All in the name of a perfectly folded t shirt, that was washed in all the “like” colours with just the perfect amount of fabric softener with optimal drying time and a perfectly timed dryer removal to avoid wrinkling……… what have I done????

One day while chatting with one of our lovely supermom consignors this topic came up and her system actually blew me away!!! If you can believe this, this mom has her 9 year old twins (boy and girl) doing everything from vacuuming, dishes and bathroom cleaning to laundry.  Want to know her secret?  Poker chips!  Yup . . . you got it . . and her poker chip based reward system had my jaw dropping. Her and her husband set up a chart with chores and gave each one a “poker chip value”. When the kids complete  certain tasks around the house, they collect these chips which can be cashed in for either real cash or privileges such as tv and internet time. Brilliant, right?  The kids actually have  to earn time on the computer or to play video games!  (And unlike many kids … they don’t just plant their ass in front of the screen the minute they
get in the door from school for an unlimited time for “free”.)  One chip = 15 minutes screen time.

This mom did admit that the system takes some effort to set up as you basically need to sit down and create a list of jobs and their values as well as a list of rewards and the values attached to those. If her kids are saving up for something special they may forgo screen time to run the vacuum through the house and save their chips to build up the cash. She also will randomly offer extra chips when she witnesses them exhibiting random acts of kindness or for being extra helpful, BUT. . . .  cut the hair off of your sister's favorite barbie and yep, you guessed it………. Your chip count just went down!!

Not only does this help to teach kids the value of time and money but it also has the added bonus of having a go-to threat for bad behavior (because let's face it, you can only threaten with santa for a couple of months a year!!!) Also, sometimes in the heat of the moment I’ve found myself spewing off some random punishment for less than stellar behaviour and half of the time it would either be outlandish, “That’s IT!  you chucked dirt on your brother again so NO MORE going outside ever again!!!”  (seriously . . . it’s bad…) or i would take away the video game or tv privileges but then forget how long it was supposed to last for, or just give in by day three when we had both forgot what the kid had even done to unleash my wrath in the first place!  The brilliance of the poker chip system is that it offers an immediate consequence, “hand over a chip” and a really reliable go-to for us over creative parents in a fit of rage . . .  no more being banned for life from looking at their sibling or leaving the house.  (Come on, we’ve ALL done this at one time or another LOL)

For all of us who have tried several different approaches over the years and for those of us who are still cuddling a baby and wondering how this little bundle of joy could ever become less than a perfect obedient helpful child, trust me . . . the possibilities are endless and the struggles are real. There are likely a million different schools of thought on the topic of chores and allowances for kids and this is just one that I found particularly interesting.

Share with us your ideas, successes and failures and together just maybe we can come up with the next amazing approach …….. For all of you with little ones, do yourself a favour and invest in a set of poker chips. It's too late for my kids but SAVE YOUR OWN!!!  (And your sanity while you’re at it!)

And that, my friends is a TRUE STORY!!!