Wednesday, 16 January 2013

What about chores?

Chores, chores, chores! They gotta be done, but how do you go about it -- especially when the kids are home 24/7, and you've got more than a full-time job trying to run a household and teaching your family (not to mention the other balls you're trying to juggle in the air, whatever they may be)?

Everybody needs to pitch in!

Over the years, I have read books like Managers of their Homes, and more recently, Homeschooling at the Speed of Life* which are very good about scheduling, but I usually find -- as I'm sure most of us do -- that one person's plan for organising the household isn't always exactly right for my family.

So, right now, I do two things with my four kids.  I give them regular, almost-daily chores, and I give them a Monday job, a Tuesday job, etc.  

We call these once-a-week jobs "fish jobs" because I once saw an episode of Supernanny where she had the children use magnets and string as fishing poles to catch magnetic little fish with chores written on the back.  

We, too, once fished for our jobs, but because my kids like routine -- and I like practice till perfection! -- we never fished for the jobs again and just kept to them until they were outgrown and passed down to younger siblings.

My older two -- who are 12 and 10 -- receive salary for these chores.  My younger ones -- who are 7 and 5 -- have chore charts.  They put their stickers on when they complete their chores, and they get paid 5p each, with an opportunity to win a morning at the coffee shop with Mommy if they ever do all their jobs for four days of the week.  (This has NEVER happened up till now).

Busy Timmy's Chore Chart

If you want some good ideas about which chores are age appropriate, you can just Google "age appropriate chores".  Here is a link to one version by Focus on the Family.

Sometimes, having a chart is a good way for ME to keep honest about what jobs need doing.  For example, I'm not very good at making my kids practise their instruments, even though I should be very strict about this.  Having the instruments on their list makes them become responsible for themselves -- they see it, know it needs to be done, get on with it, put on the sticker, etc. 

We're all happy, then!

Putting violin practice onto Rocky's chart
helps her remember to do it
(it's also in her school schedule for a double reminder
because she can be forgetful ...
usually on purpose!!!)
I have been on many forums where a discussion ensues regarding whether or not to pay children at all for their chores. I think I got convinced about paying children from Dr Dobson's New Dare to Discipline book, which basically said we, as adults, are almost always able to discover reward in whatever we do, money-wise or not.  I mean, I really, really hate to do the dishes, but I know there are myriad good reasons for doing them. 

Children, too, deserve to see the reward in what they do, but they probably aren't yet mature enough for seeing rewards in a job well done, like we are, unless there is tangible and short-term evidence for it.  Money is one option.  I have also used pocket-money toys in the past, where they could trade a certain number of stickers for a yo-yo or something similar, but the toys were so cheap and made such stupid clutter, I decided I'd rather give them money.

In the end, I would rather pay my children for doing their jobs than give them pocket-money for nothing.  They are learning about saving, spending, and giving; they are learning how working hard achieves more reward. 

Best of all, I can see them all starting to pitch into household success without always needing to be paid -- helping out in areas which aren't on their chore charts or their lists -- and I guess that's what I'm ultimately after.

Making lunch has its own rewards!
*I haven't finished this book yet, but so far, I like its practical, down-to-earth approach.


  1. I love chore charts! At least I do now ;)
    About a month ago, after I pulled my last batch of hair out, I knew things had to change. I have 2 children at home and a husband ( I am the one who goes out into this world and he stays home, but this just recently happened). So, now that I am no longer the one who oversees daily day to day, things have not been going as smoothly when I was. So, I created a chart for myself, children, and yes! My husband too lol! I never thought I would be a chart type person, my day planned out and all, but it has really helped things stay on task. My husband was not ready for such chaos. He was used to his routine. So, that is what a chore chart has given to him, more of a routine. We have our days he helps with school, days where I do, and of course the chores. Example, Monday I help the kids with their Time4Learning lessons and their work books, etc, but on Tuesdays and Fridays my husband does the lessons, while I am not home. On wed. that is a day off and Thursdays are co-op. Every morning my kids have their chore that is assigned on that day and they go look and do it before breakfast. Then after they eat they get 1 hour before studies start. Anyways, the point I am trying to get across is that charts are very helpful for us too.

    ~> Sorry so long of a post, but thanks for sharing and letting me share too ;)


  2. Maybe I'm being sexist, Keri, but I think there's something in the make-up of guys that really thrives on routine. At least, that's my experience with my boys (and husband, too!). The one glitch I have with chore charts is with Killer -- if I merely write down "hoover school room", he will argue till the cows come home that he's not ALSO supposed to pick up the toys, books, and large pieces of rubbish on the floor first, so that he CAN hoover!


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