Are you one of those moms that does too much because you have children that don’t do very much. Make it your goal to work yourself out of a job. If a child can play a game on your iPad, he/she can help with chores. Now doesn’t that hit you like a ton of bricks? When I first read this, I was in total agreement. It’s so true. Sometimes, we as moms, do way too much for our kids. You know how it goes, your oldest child might tend to spill too much so it’s easier for you to pour the milk for cereal rather than letting him try, spill, learn, and you’re on your way out of a simple job. I’m totally guilty of this. I hate messes, so I tend to do way too many little jobs for my kids just to make sure there is a not a huge mess to clean up afterwards. But I know I’m just making my job as a mom harder in the long run. Kids need to learn to help even if it makes a bigger mess.
Confession time…when I was a kid I remember my mom making me and my brother do a lot of chores around the house. The worst one of all was dusting and I had the lucky job of dusting this curio cabinet that had glass shelves. I had to take every single little Precious Moments figurine that my mom collected off each shelf and make sure the shelf was dust free. This job was so awful! It was meticulous and took what seemed like FOREVER to do. The worst part to doing a lot of my chores as a child was that even though I ‘thought’ I was doing a really good job as a 10 year old, my mom would always come along after and redo whatever I had just done, because it wasn’t done as good as she would have done it. It always used to really drive me crazy – I never could figure out why I needed to waste the time doing the chores if she was just going to redo them anyways. I catch myself doing the same thing to my kids. Why??? I have no idea, except that I’m a crazy neat freak. But I’m trying really hard to not redo their work anymore. I’m trying very hard to remember how old they are and what their actual abilities are and then asses their level of efficiency and effort. Your kids absolutely should be helping you around your house. They live there for free – so they should pitch in and help!
So the next question becomes, what chores should your kids do and should you pay them to do those chores? Here’s what I think. Yes, yes, yes! I’m a big Dave Ramsey follower and we love his ideas on kids and money! Dave believes that you, as parents, are the boss and your kids are your employees. As a boss your kids work for you, and they should earn commission. When they work, they get paid. When they don’t work, they don’t get paid. Simple as that. It works too! It also teaches kids the value of money. Rather than just paying them because they breathe, this forces them to equate working hard for the money they want to spend on fun things. This idea works really well when your children are old enough to really understand what their money can buy them. We have three kids, ages 4, 6 and 9 right now. We started doing commission for chores when my oldest was 4. At that age he did very simple chores and was paid at the end of each week. From his weekly commission earnings he would then distribute that between three different envelopes for Giving, Saving, and Spending. We have taught all 3 of our kids these concepts and they each have a list of chores based off their ages and abilities that they earn commission for. This process forces the kids to see chores not so much as a chore, but as a job they can earn money for. When there is a special toy they want to buy we often have some requests for extra chores in order to earn bonuses, and sometimes they do business deals with each other - getting paid from a sibling to do their chore! It’s great! To a mompreneur like me, I love seeing business deals happen with my young children (and so far, they have been very fair)!
Just in case you are wondering what type of chores I have my kids do each week here is a quick list:
9 year old:
- Undo the dishwasher/Set the table (alternates with 6yr old)
- Shovel the driveway and back patio (in the summer instead of this he cleans up dog poop)
- Clean room and make bed
- Take out trash
6 year old:
- Undo the dishwasher/Set the table (alternates with 9yr old)
- Clean room and make bed
- Sharpen pencils (in summer instead of this she waters the flowers)
4 year old:
- Collects the newspaper from driveway
- Feed the dogs/let’s them out in morning
- Make bed
- Collect trash
Bonuses (when I’m feeling generous… I don’t always pay for these things, but sometimes I do, especially when they help without being asked and without expecting a bonus):
- Clean the bathroom
- Sweep/Mop kitchen floor
- Clean basement toy room
- Clean glass windows and patio doors
- “Help” mow the lawn and trim bushes
- Unpacking groceries and helping put food away
- Prepping/Washing weekly veggies
- Pitching in and helping mom with whatever job she is doing without being asked
Do your kids do chores? What ages and chores do they do? Do you pay them? Would love to hear what you have tried and what works for your family! Hugs to all!