Or time. Or how to teach your children to spend their time doing chores. All very important.
(Today's topic is a deviation from the recent Portland theme.)
I did not do chores as a child. I was expected to do my part and be a good person and a respectful young woman but not by any set of clearly defined chores. The mentality behind it was that we shouldn't be required to do good things, we should want to do good things. Should we limit our expectations for our children to a finite list of "chores"? I suppose the way I was raised has created this assumption that defining familial responsibilities therefore negates other positive attributes.
However, my experiences at college quickly made me envious of my peers who had a killer work ethic because they had been expected to, no excuses allowed, work at home. The discipline they learned help them rise to the top. Mind you, I had some work to do at home growing up but not in a structured or consistent way. And working consistently is so key for a successful future at work or at home, don't you think? I've made my way around as an adult but part of me wishes I had learned the lesson sooner. (disclaimer: my sister, who was raised with the same rules, happens to have a wonderful work ethic. I guess I'm more of a Shaggy than a Velma in ScoobyDoo terminology. Or wait...maybe I'm more like ScoobyDoo.)
It's the melding of the two philosophies that has made me decide my children should have a list of chores and should not be paid for them. My husband (who did have chores) and I decided that it would be an integral part of their character to learn to be responsible for certain items at home and be equally responsible for dropping the ball. But because I strongly feel that we work at home because that's what we do, not because there's a reward, we have decided to separate the concept of chores and allowance. (Seriously, is it me that's wondering if entitlement issues are a given with younger generations?)
While perusing pinterest one day, I found this blog where she explains her family's reasoning for separating chores from allowance. Basically, chores teach family responsibility while allowance teaches financial responsibility. Teaching budgeting may be difficult if there is no set amount to expect every week (like how it might vary if it's tied to how many chores are done that week). I liked her thoughts. And I loved her child-friendly checkbook-style register for tracking expenses.
So, I made one for the children and they are soooo excited about it still, even a few months later.
They are learning that they get x-amount ($1 for every year of their age) and pay 10% tithing that goes into their tithing jar and another 10% in savings that goes into their piggy bank. The rest is theirs to spend according to their discretion. Well, maybe not completely.
I do my darndest to talk them out of spending $12 on cheaply-made, plastic Minnie Mouse toys straight off a boat from China. But, if they have their hearts set on it, it is their money after all and I just cross my fingers and hope they learn the value of items. At the very least, I'm not being harrassed at the check-out lane to buy them those over-priced plastic mini-Barbie and Angry Bird toys. I, officially, no longer buy them toys except holidays or birthdays.
I made the book part out of file folders I found at Target. With the leftover folders, I made some extras for the Gotz dolls because, goodness knows, their school studies are seriously behind. I'm not even sure they can read.
Finally, now they can do their homework! If there's one thing that irks me more than illiterate dolls...
Anyway, for instructions on making them and for Excel copies of the inside pages, click on this link or on the title above.
Now onto chores, which are a non-paid event now. I found this fun blog and her easy idea for a chore chart. The beautiful board I had before just had too many moveable pieces for the children to coordinate independently. Click on the link below if you want the vintage-style cliparts I found for the chore pictures.
When they do all of their daily chores and the flaps are all closed, they get a "dot" for the day. You can use bingo markers or dot markers, which are a total favorite in our house, to put a dot in each day. The templates for all of this are under the chore chart link.
Each dot is a point, but if they hav ea dot on every day, they get bonus points. (We give 5 bonus points for a perfect chore week which gives them 12 total points. This would have them completing a page in their passport book each month if they did their chores every single day.)
They get to tally up their points at the end of the week and mark them in their "Family Adventure Passport" booklet. Again, all templates are in the chore chart link.
When they've checked off 48 points, or one page, they get to pick out an adventure from the family treasure chest. Our adventures range from simple to coordinated events that center around family time. It could be a family movie night on the couch or it could be rock-climbing as a family. The point is that they are things we can do that we know the children really look forward to.
We'll get around to painting the family treasure chest after the move...maybe. Possibly.
And just to make sure the children know that chores are part of being part of a family unit, there is a consequence for not doing their chores. If this was 1984, we'd call that "non-compliance." Non-compliance means they have to pick one of mommy's chores and it might be picking up dog poop, cleaning out toilets, or folding laundry. I also liked the idea on this blog for how to handle chore non-compliance and she has a free printable too.
The message is sublime.
You forgot to do your own chores and mom had to do more work. Now you have to pick one of mom's chores to do for her.
Would you like to know my personal success story? The children now put their dirty dishes in the sink. I have been working on this forever and it just never sinks in with them (wah-wah) so I feel like I am winning here. I am winning here. When children do their chores, everyone wins.
Of course, the children will out-grow their simple chore chart as they are given more and more responsibility. We're not there yet but I have my idea on this great idea with printables for when we do. Or we could have a chart for daily chores and offer a chore punch card for any extra, bigger chores they do on weekends.