We have tried a few different methods of allowance and chores. We don't believe in just buying our children anything their heart's desire. Don't get me wrong my kids are spoiled as can be but we try to save the spoiling for birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions, they are spoiled enough on those occasions to last them the whole year :) But they ask for things like toys or a video game or whatever and instead of just giving them a blanket NO for an answer we tell them "Save your money and you can buy it." Problem was we were not giving them any money, so that little gem didn't really work too well. So a couple years ago we decided to start giving the boys an allowance we gave them $10 a week, but we very quickly realized that giving them an allowance for doing nothing is pretty much the same as just buying them whatever they want. They didn't have to do anything to earn the money and they just took it for granted and even asked for advances lol, an advance at five years old! We had to think of something else. So I tried to make a chore chart and assign chores. I told them they would get their allowances if they did all their chores. That worked for like a week but they hated having chores assigned and more often than not it ended up with us fighting with them to do their chores and them being upset that they didn't get their allowance. If they didn't do all their chores I would have to explain why they only got half or none of their allowance, "You didn't earn it!" Anyway, needless to say this whole chores for money thing has been a big headache for me for years.
My younger son is quite the little entrepreneur and will do just about anything to earn money, the older one not so much most days he'd rather go without his allowance than to have to do "hard labor." My younger one will ask, "Can I go rake the pine needles for money?" "If I clean my sister's room can I have $2?" and once about a month ago he wanted money for a new Star Wars action figure really really bad and all of a sudden he had a loose tooth somehow, and the very next day it was out! Quite suspect! :) Anyway as you can tell I have spent a lot of my time trying to figure out a fair way to have the kids help around the house, earn money and not be the evil slave driving mama my oldest thinks I am some times.
My boys also have lots of things I need to keep track of and get pretty disappointed in mama when she forgets. At any given time my boys can each be involved in 2 out of school activities. Cub Scouts is always one of them and the second one changes with the seasons from T-ball, to acting classes, football, gymnastics, swimming lessons... etc. They also have a rotating schedule for their specialist classes at school (Music, P.E., Library) and the days are different for each one of them, so we
I had been brainstorming for a couple of months for something I could do that would bring together all of these things; organize their schedules, keep track of chores (without assigning them), apply a monetary value to the chores in a way that was easy for me to keep track of, and do all this in an easy to understand, easy to manage way that would make our lives easier and look cute. Of course it was Pinterest to the rescue for this project! I found a bunch of ideas for different chore charts and family organization stations there. My two faves of the hundreds I saw was this magnetic chore chart where the kids pick their own chores and are in charge of how much or how little they work and earn, and this homework message center. I took what I liked best from each of them and created something that I am very happy with!
I LOVED the idea of letting the kids pick their own chores. I bought wooden discs and printed out all the chores I could think of, and Mod Podged them onto the discs, then hot glued a small magnet to the back. I used a label template for 1 1/2 circles but just printed them on regular paper and used my scrapbooking circle punch to cut them out. You could also just buy the circle labels and skip the Mod Podge step. I made WAY more chores than I would ever expect them to do but I did this on purpose for the days when my youngest son is feeling especially entrepreneurial and wants to earn more than usual. I assigned a monetary value to the chores based on how "hard" I thought they were. For example I gave making their beds a .25 cent value and vacuuming the living room a $1.00 value. I did make some chores things that I expect them to do on a daily basis, I made those worth less .25 and .50 each for the most part and I made them out of smaller wooden discs so they are easily identifiable. I ask them each night after dinner if all the small chores are done for the day then I go in and take them off their boards and jot down on the daily schedule how much they earned that day. Most of the chores are on the larger wooden discs are are things that should be done once a week, they do not do most of these, I still clean 90% of the house :) but they are helping and to me ANY help is better than no help! On Sunday I go and tally up all the weekly chores they did, add that to all the daily amounts I jotted down over the week and pay them out. I even made a special bonus "Extra Helpful to Mama" one that I can add to their boards at the end of the week if I think they have been exceptionally helpful that week. Their money goes into jars with their names on them stored on a shelf right above the chore charts, so they can visually see what their hard work is getting them.
In addition to keeping track of chores and money, their boards have monthly and weekly calendars and a spot for notes. I bought cheap Walmart poster frames 16X20 I think they were five bucks each. They don't have glass on the front but a cheap thin sheet of plastic which makes a PERFECT wet erase board. I just printed out monthly and weekly calendars from Google and added a little spot for notes, with some coordinating scrapbook papers in each of the boy's favorite colors to make it look pretty and glued all this to the backside of the insert that came with the frame. Now I can just use wet erase markers to set up their schedules, know who needs their library books or tennis shoes when and keep us on track. For the magnetic chores to stick I went to Home Depot and bought a sheet of metal, it was like $6 and I had the guy there cut it into 3 strips for me. One went behind the plastic insert of the small black frame I already had to hold all the chores that have not been done yet and the other ones went into each of the boy's boards. I measured out where I wanted the chore section to be and then hot glued the metal to the cardboard backing of the frame. When I did this I didn't think about the fact that I was not distributing the weight evenly and when I first tried to hang one up it hung all lopsided and I got really discouraged for a minute. Then I thought COMMAND STRIPS! and ran out and got some. Everything in this corner (except the shelf) is hung with command strips and I am very happy with how strong they are and that I didn't have to put a bunch of holes in my walls. I added the little cubbys (just some office organizers I bought for a quarter each at a garage sale a while ago) for holding school newsletters, reading journals, school library books and the like. We already had the bench in that corner but it was being used to store books and just as a random clutter catch all. I am so happy it is being put to much better use now. I put the boys school shoes and rain boots in the storage area and now they can store their backpacks on top of the bench and sit there to get their shoes on in the mornings. This little corner is in the hallway right outside their bedrooms and it's pretty close to where their backpacks and shoes ended up getting tossed normally so I think they should end up there by default lol. I added the shelf with their money jars and printed out and framed a couple of my favorite quotes pertaining to chores and housework. The "Many Hands Make Light Work" is a great one to help the kids understand that the more that people help out the easier the work will be, and the other ""Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." by Phyllis Diller is a hilarious reminder to me to let go, not expect perfection and enjoy the imperfection that is childhood.
I am very happy with the finished product and the boys really like it too!