My dishwasher gets unloaded and loaded every day.
The laundry in my house is always done on schedule.
The trashcans are emptied and the floor is vacuumed three times a week.
Fairy godmother? Nope – chore system!
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There are two main reasons we have a chore system and our kids get paid for working.
First, they live here, so they can help contribute to the running of the household. We schedule twenty-four chores each week for the four boys to complete. Our four year old does a few each week too. They are learning what it takes to keep a house orderly and what it means to be a part of a family.
Second, they will need to know how to manage money as adults, so why not teach them the skill now while they’re under our roof? Statistics show that Americans on average owe about $29,000 in student loan debt and $15,000 in credit card balances! That doesn’t include the car and house debt. We can’t assume our kids will be able to manage money well once they turn 18 unless we take the time to teach them the skills.
Plus, in the real world, working brings income, so it’s a natural cause and effect. We don’t give our kids spending money. They earn it.
Here’s how to set up a chore system
- Write out all the household chores you’d like the kids to do. Then create a weekly chore schedule. We use Trello for our older kids and a cute chore chart with stickers for the four year old. Use whatever works. (If this sounds overwhelming, check out my free download at the end of this post! It is a Chore System Set-Up Worksheet that will walk you through all the details.)
- Teach your kids how to do each chore. Don’t just say “clean the bathroom.” What in the world does that mean? It’s too vague. If you’re not having success with chores at your house, it might be because they are not specific enough and you haven’t taken the time to teach your kids how to do them.
- Buy appropriate supplies for each chore and store them where they’re used.
- Decide on a pay period. We do monthly. I’ve seen chore charts on Pinterest where the money is clipped to a board for immediate gratification. That’s not prepping your kids for the real world. When adults work for an employer, they have to plan for the payment a few weeks later for the work they did today.
- How much should you pay? This is definitely a tricky topic. There’s no one right answer. Obviously, do what works for your family. Here’s what we do.
Paying Out an Allowance
We pay $1 per year (age) per month. But, this is not all spending money (see the next point).
So, an 8 year old will do 5-6 chores a week (or about 20-24 in a month) to earn $8/month. That’s about 40 cents per chore.
A 12 year old will do about the same amount of chores, maybe slightly harder ones, and earn $12/month. That’s about 60 cents per chore.
Now, you may be thinking this sounds like too little money! That’s why we add it all together within a month. My kids probably wouldn’t want to empty and load the dishwasher for 40 cents either. But taken little by little, it adds up.
With five kids in the house, we just can’t afford to pay out several dollars per chore. They are thankful for any payment they receive, because when you’re 8 years old, you don’t have a lot of options to grow your income.
An Allowance System Will Help With Money Management Skills
Teach your kids how to manage the money you pay them. We use the system espoused by Dave Ramsey. It looks like this:
So when our 8 year old earns $8 at the end of the month, he will put $4 into his savings account, give 80 cents to his tithe at church (or you can give to a charity), and then he can keep $3.20 in his wallet to spend.
Once our kids are 14 years old, they have aged out of getting paid for chores, but are still expected to help with chores as responsible members of the household. Hopefully by this age, they have found part time jobs or seasonal jobs that will help them make more money than mom and dad were paying. But we require them to use the Save-Give-Spend model, whether they earn $5 or $50.
Now, lest you get to the end of reading this post and think that my house is spotless, I never have to remind anyone to empty the dishwasher, or my kids are angels, let me assure you – we are dealing with normal kids over here just like you are! It’s not always perfect. Sometimes we have to remind them or deal with cranky attitudes.
But don’t give up! Even the simple practice of doing household chores during one’s childhood and learning how to manage that $8 a month will all add up to some big life lessons learned!
Okay, if you like the idea of setting up a workable chore system for your family, then download my free Chore System Set-Up Worksheet in the Members-Only Resource Library HERE.
Related to Our Allowance System for Kids
Allowance & Chores with Benny Nachman: HWM #88
Teaching Kids About Money with Amanda Grossman: HWM #81
I don’t do laundry (and you shouldn’t either)