I'd love some ideas on how you do chores. We have four small girls. We agree they need daily chores to do. We agree that some things need to be done because you are a member of the family. Where do "just because chores" and "receive allowance chores" start and end?
My siblings and I never received an allowance, doing chores was just part of being a family. We grew up on a farm and us kids had lots of chores, both inside and outside. My daughters never received an allowance. I did things differently than my parents did. From the time my kids could walk, when it was nap time or bed time we walked around picking up their toys and putting them away, this was teaching them when they were really young. From there it just progressed. Kids don't need an allowance for doing chores, in fact I don't think they should be paid to help around home.
The chore division comes where you decide it does. One suggestion that worked in our family was that chores which benefitted the individual child ( picking up toys, cleaning the bedroom, doing own laundry) were free. Chores that helped the entire family ( lawn mowing, cleaning the bathroom(only had one), vacuuming, laundering towels and sheets) ,were paid. Payment was once a week, and in cash. You have to adapt the chores to the child's age and ability. For example, my daughter was very tiny, and could not reach the bottom of the washer to take laundry out, so I got her a pair of long handled tongs to fish the clothes out. She had a stepstool to reach the washer controls. Whatever method you choose, try to accept the child's efforts as much as possible, because nothing discourages their efforts like having it criticized or done over by parents.
You want your children to learn to be useful and self sufficient. but it has to be age appropriate. Explain to them Daily chores have to be done to maintain a clean home and a good feeling. so that when you are at home you can look around and say "isn't our home nice? nice job everyone!" and feel pride when visitors come over. My kids had to pick up their own clothes, clean their bathroom, load or unload dishwasher, dust, and vacuum daily. this was done or no one went anywhere.( work first, then play). At the end of week allowance was given. (again age appropriate). Now, here's the catch, you have to show them how to do the chores. you can't just say "go make your bed."
You have to show them how to do it! Then as they get older you can again show them how to fine tune it. just like real on-the-job training. this is a" learning for life" experience and the allowance lets them feel proud to buy something on their own. If my kid's friends helped them, my kids had to share part of their allowance. the kids would decide for themselves who does what. The competition created more motivation for all of them and team work. if they did something extra like rake leaves, wash car, sweep drive and patio, windows even, we would negotiate the extra allowance beforehand. I never had one complaint.
An allowance teaches children how to handle money. Whether or not it is tied in with chores is up to the parent. The greatest life lesson my parents gave me was a generous "clothing" allowance when I turned 16. While I was counting dollars in my head, I was informed of what it had to cover and that if I misspent it there'd be no more money forthcoming until the following month. Boy, did I learn to be frugal. By the time I was 40 my home was paid for, as was my vehicle. I had no debt and a nice savings account. I do not pay interest on a credit card and bills are paid on time. This I owe to my parents wisdom.
Doing chores and having an allowance are both part of being a family. I had an allowance to spend as I chose or I could save it for something special. Being the kind of person I am, I always saved back some special purchase. As to chores, my parents took a "you are part of this family" and I was expected to do my share within limits of my abilities.
I learned when my children were small that it was my responsibility to teach them the skills to be a wife, husband, mother, father, college student and to be self-sufficient. At an early age, I taught my children that we are a family and we should take pride in our home and also to learn different skills in the household; they learned to make their beds, laundry, bathroom cleaning, kitchen duties (loading dishwasher, unloading dishwasher), dusting furniture, vacuuming and to know their way around the home as far the location of items that they could find themselves by being involved in the household chores. My children were making their own school lunches beginning in kindergarten (I had arranged all the lunch box items in an area they could get to without assistance); they placed their lunch boxes in the fridge and I would remind them about their lunches in the fridge; back packs were packed after doing homework and placed by the door. After school chores were to be completed plus homework completed before my children could play outside; they always had enough time to play outside! My son who is 34 and has a 4 year old son thanked me for teaching him the skills he needed to be a husband and father even though at the time when I insisted that the chores should be done he didn't understand but now he does and that makes me happy. Chores are important for a child's self-esteem and growth as they grow older, more household skills are learned and they become self-sufficient.
We didn't have a lot of money and I was a single mom and had a stroke at 38 so learning the difference was fairly easy. We picked up cans or made things to sell for spending money for Mcdonald's and such or something they wanted real bad then we all pitched in and helped. The chores were not tied to the allowance but the behavior was and if they misbehaved no allowance. A couple times of losing that and they got the message. If you didn't do your chores you didn't get to participate in family time till you did.Last resort got punished according to what we agreed was appropriate for the offense.
Chores for real small children should be according to their age and start with one or 2 simple things. Make their bed and put up toys won't be perfect to begin with but gentle urging that is a sloppy job and help a couple of time then no that is your job usually works unless they run your house.
I feel similarly to redhatterb, no one pays me to cook or clean for myself or the family, I don't think I should be paying my kids for that either. Chores for that maintain your person or your home are a part of being in a family and doing them should have other rewards, such as inviting a friend over.
If I were to pay my kids for helping, it would be for going above and beyond, like washing the screens in the spring or cleaning out the storage shed. We always provide for the kids outings like movies, etc when they are appropriate and offer them chances to earn extra money by doing things like selling outgrown toys at a yard sale.
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