Seems like the start of the New Year always has us re-evaluating stuff ~ finances, fitness, spiritual concerns, household maintenance, etc. I’m no different, although the bulk of my household maintenance planning is done during the summer when I am planning the school year. They just seem to go hand in hand. January is usually a great time for a check-up, though – what’s working, what’s not. Much like Kendra and her new laundry plan – if it’s not working then fix it!
A friend of mine asked a question on facebook the other day about age appropriate chores and whether to pay for them or not. The responses were plentiful and varied! I was excited because I had already started working on this post to share something that has been working for us the last several months.
That something is merely as system for keeping track, and before you check it out, there are a few things to consider:
Your household needs: Consider what you need to have done each day, week, month, year. If you can, spend some time walking through a day in your mind and writing everything down. Or use a pre-made list and customize it. Make sure to do this with your spouse – their input will be invaluable. Again, be realistic!! There are only so many hours in a day, and you don’t want want to spend them all cleaning, do you? I didn’t think so :) Neither do your kids.
Age appropriate jobs: They will vary between children. I like to be realistic, but also challenge my kids. When they get new jobs at the beginning of the school year, there is a time of training with myself or my husband. We don’t just throw them in to sink or swim. Here’s where expectations are laid out. There is often some grumbling about how hard something is while they are in the learning process, but in a few weeks, they are usually proficient at it and start to take ownership of ‘their’ areas. Every once in a while, we will see that we might have added something too soon, so we’ll make adjustments.
Allowance vs. Commission or neither: Here’s where I find the most deliberation among parents. There isn’t a right or wrong answer on this – again it’s what works for your family.
Our personal plan for our family is that:
- there is no allowance – allowance to me means something that is given for no reason.
- money is not paid on personal jobs, such as keeping your room clean. That’s just keeping up after yourself!
- no privileges (playing with friends, video games, etc.) if jobs aren’t done and done right. Don’t even ask.
- ‘commission’ is paid for some jobs decided on in advance, in an amount decided on in advance. Some of these are regular jobs, and some are extra and offered on an as needed basis.
We feel that:
- Pitching in to the upkeep of the home with only the satisfaction of contributing to the family is an invaluable teacher of a solid work ethic.
- Earning something for a job well done is also an invaluable tool, both as preparation for working for a living one day and in managing money. It allows kids to learn the value of a dollar and how to give, save and spend while they can do so safely at home.
- Acts of service are done merely for the joy of helping others and pleasing God. They are not assigned or tracked in any way, besides how God leads. To me, these are the greatest teachers of selflessness and servant-hood.
So we try to combine all three in our plan.
Now, the part I always get stuck on ~ keeping track. We have tried many things that have fizzled out, either because of ineffectiveness or too time consuming or too complicated. I like simple, but with six kids to keep track of, I need something thorough and user-friendly. If you and your kids spending more time managing your chore charts than actually doing chores, it may be time to re-evaluate your system
Tomorrow, I’ll share what’s been working for us. It’s free and easy – two words I like to hear!
For today, I’d love for you to share something about how you manage chores/jobs. Do you have it figured out? Are you struggling? Any tips for the rest of us?
If you’re looking for a new system, your ‘homework’ is to jot down your household needs, age appropriate jobs, and whether you’ll pay for them. Then you’ll be ready to hit the ground running tomorrow!