Hi Again! This blogpost is going to coverhow we manage the kids’ chores. I am by no means an expert in this category but I do think sharing how we communicate with our kids what our expectations for chores are could be helpful to other parents looking to introduce some structure and responsibility.
For those of you who are subscribed to receive my monthly newsletters, you will have already read about my experience and advice when it comes to chores with kids. But if not, I think this information is worthy of a spot on the blog. If you want to stay up to date with newsletters as they come, subscribe here.
Ah, the joy and frustration that is teaching your kids independence and responsibility…
I want to preface this entire section by making it clear that my kids are still young, and so I am still pretty new at this. We have used lots of trial and error to get to where we are and go through seasons where we forget completely that chores exist and the house turns into a dumpster fire.
Last summer, when JR was freshly 5, Scout was 3.5, and Millie almost 2, we decided we needed some structure to help with the absolute monotony of 2020. I am a HUGE fan of Canva and find it to be the easiest way to make charts that are both easy to read and comprehensive for my kids that are not able to read yet.
At this time, we implemented our first chart and didn’t call them chores. We also didn’t do any sort of allowance. There was simply a morning to do list and evening to do list. These were basic things required of you to be a clean, contributing human in our house. And no, Millie did not participate. Most 15-18 months old have no concept of a clean room, or brushing their teeth without also attempting to ingest the entire tube of toothpaste.
I am showing you the two charts below. And the bottom of this email has a quick Canva tutorial that my amazing assistant Jess made. (By the way, Canva.com is free. This is not sponsored. It really is an amazing website.)
This was the original chart we made for the kids. Short, clear, simple.
Over time, that chart morphed into the above, which is what we use now. Each day, their two main living areas are to be cleaned and their teeth brushed.
As you can see, we keep the chores minimal. Outside of what is on that paper, the kids are expected to clear their plate and generally pick up after themselves. You know, be kind, contributing humans. For the sake of making it short and manageable, we stuck with no more than three items for both morning and evening.
Adding the allowance…
Over time, we decided to start adding an allowance for Johnny and Scout. This was honestly less about feeling like they deserved money for basic hygiene, and more about introducing the invaluable principles associated with managing money.
Each week, we gave them three dollars. In actual one dollar bills. We have slowly been teaching them about giving and they have the opportunity to do this at church.
They kids have, however, recently received a RAISE! They now sort, fold, and put away all of their clothes. Nate and I loathe this task, and very quickly the clothes end up disheveled in their drawers anyways, so why not let them fold them? JR and Scout now each get $4/week and Millie has started to get $1/week for cleaning up her room.
I know this might seem small, but the lessons learned have already felt invaluable. For instance:
A few weeks ago I took all the kids to Costco. There is a small section that usually has a few toys and books and Scout and JR were both anxious to check it out. Scout found a make a face sticker book she desperately wanted and asked if I would get it for her. I responded, “I won’t buy it, but you have $10 in your allowance bag. If you want to get this book, it will take all of your allowance.” She decided it was worth it and to be honest I think it was. We got home and she made sticker faces for hours.
John Robert, on the other hand, was also wanting to spend his money. There was this large sheet kindergarten workbook that I knew wasn’t worth his whole allowance bag but he insisted he wanted it. So, I let him get it. Once home, he did the activities for 5-10 minutes then grew bored with it.
I later got to ask him if he thought it was worth his entire allowance and he sadly said that it wasn’t. I then got to explain to him that I also use my money on things that aren’t really worth it (hello, impulse buy!). It’s a mistake we all make time and again and have to learn from.
The beauty of this was that my kids started to see the value of their dollar! I could see their little brains working…wondering if the item they held was worth their hard earned money.
So that’s the long and the short of where we are in the kids chores/allowance category. We still have a ways to go and lots to learn, but I hope that helps some of you.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN CHORE/CHART OR SCHEDULE IN CANVA (click the image; it’s a youtube video!)