Giving our kids more responsibility and ownership now helps them later. A parent with grown-up kids recently said to me: “I wish I had done less for my kids.” She was referring to giving them more responsibility to train them up to be responsible adults and not step in to do things her kids could have done. That stuck with me. My allowance approach is a simple way to build more responsibility in our kids and to build ownership of their spaces in the house.
Each week my kids have to clean the counters in their bedrooms, bathroom, their mirror, keep their beds made and rooms straightened daily, replace their towel and washcloth each week, and wipe their baseboards (once a month). They also make their lunches for school – if they forget, they eat the school lunch. The days they have late activities and I surprise them with making their lunch, they have so much appreciation, whereas before it was more of an expectation and not as appreciated. Responsibility builds appreciation. (If you would like a free sample chore chart to help your kids keep track of chores, subscribe and comment below and I’ll be happy to send you one.)
Completing these items above (for the most part – give some grace as they’re learning) gives them the opportunity to complete a *Bonus Job* each week to earn Allowance. If they don’t do their chores, they don’t get the chance to earn money. Some families give $0.50 or $1 per year of their child’s age for allowance. Do what works for you. If they ask why another family gives more, you can tell them that other families do things differently and this is how our family does things. (Making a list of the bedroom chores for your kids that need to be done each week is also helpful.)
My kids do not just get money each week. They have to earn it through a bonus job. I love these because they are such a big help to me and they also help our kids be more appreciative, less entitled, and more responsible. This is how it works:
- Each month, I write the bonus jobs for that month on post-it notes and put them on the wall. I have 3 kids, so I post 12 jobs on the wall at the beginning of the month I also have their names on post-it notes below the bonus jobs. (Their meal chore for dinner is next to their name and I rotate them periodically – that is in addition to the bonus job. I want them to pitch in since they are a part of the family.)
The kids get to pick one bonus job to do each week. If I need a job done that week, I put a star on it so jobs with stars have to be picked that week. If there are no starred jobs, they can do whichever one they want. Examples are pull weeds, wipe all windowsills, wipe baseboards, wipe under furniture, etc.
- That week, whenever the kids want, they pick the bonus job they would prefer and put the post-it-note next to their name when they are about to begin it.
- I have money in an envelope by the job list. After they complete their chores for the entire week AND the bonus job, and get it checked off by me, they take their Allowance and put it in their “Give”, “Save” and “Spend” boxes. The exercise of Giving at a young age helps our kids be generous and open-handed. The “save” money is put into their bank account we have started for them. Saving in the longterm helps them be responsible. “Spend” money is money they use to spend on things they would like to buy in the short-term. Having their own spend money creates confidence and independence.
Once your family has done this for a few weeks, you’ll start to get into a routine and it will get easier and easier. You’ll also find ways to tweak this so it works best for your family. While the kids might not look forward to the extra responsibility, they will gain more confidence in themselves and thank you when they’re older! And, you’ll be helped along the way with everyday chores. It’s a win-win! I’d love to hear how it goes. Comment below to let me know. (: