After – Clean house at the end of each day with no more nagging!
We started with only a few items and added 1-2 small new tasks each month. Most items are slotted for the beginning of the week because it works better with our routine. Another benefit is that we can bump tasks to the next day when needed without changes overlapping into a new week – easier for both the kids and me to keep track of!
What can the kids spend their “money” on? At first, their only choice was computer or TV time at the price of $1 per minute. We chose this because it was something that they really like and we were willing to remove it completely if they didn’t have the money to buy minutes that day.
After six weeks, the system was working so well that they had accumulated a boat load of happy dollars in their bins. It was time for more options of things to buy with their earned dollars. We added in Play Doh activities (which I priced high because it’s such a pain to clean up), extra stories at bedtime (they definitely don’t pay for the usual number – only extras), and other things that they like to do. We definitely did not include things like trips to the museum or play dates on the list of rewards because we felt that those activities should not be contingent on a reward system.
As the months are going along, I am continually surprised at how well each child is completing their assigned tasks. Yes, they complain sometimes. No, they don’t dust perfectly, but hopefully they miss different spots each time so it’s good enough. We work together on some areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. Amazingly enough, it is actually faster for me to work with them than to do it by myself! We talk while we work, which makes it more fun. They ask me about whatever they are wondering about that day or tell me their latest knock-knock jokes. Occasionally, one of those jokes is actually funny.
- Adding/working with bills – when they want to spend their money, I tell them how much it will cost them, and they figure out the bills they need to make the amount. Eventually, they (and not me) will be the ones adding up what I owe them at the end of the day.
- Understanding saving – when they are working towards a big reward. For example, sacrificing a few days of computer time in order to accumulate enough dollars to watch a movie a few days later.
- Earning – if their bucket is empty and they want to play on the computer, they immediately look at their list to see if there is something else they can do to fill the bucket.
Do you use a chore and/or money system at home? I’d love to hear about it. Please post a comment or find me on Twitter @LeanneSeel.
UPDATE March 23, 2012 – As requested, I have uploaded a copy of the spreadsheet that I use. You can download it here. When you open it, you’ll see 8 worksheets across the bottom for various months. Z worksheets are in English. A worksheets are bilingual (French/English).
UPDATE September 9, 2013 – We have been tweaking this system over the last little while. You can read about some of the changes we’ve made in today’s post here.