Chores and Cha-Ching $$ Do they really go together?
It’s time. Time for what? Time to clear some stuff up about chores (which from here on out will be referred to as family jobs) and allowances. Are they tied together? Can I take money away if my kid doesn’t listen? How can my kid make money if I don’t pay them for family jobs? I got you. I’ll break it all down ‘cause see, family jobs and allowances exist to teach totally different life lessons and tying them together actually dilutes those lessons. 😱😱😱 MIND BLOWN???? Keep reading.
An allowance is there to teach money management which is SUUUUCCCHHH an important life skill that many of us lack or are late to the game to learn about. An allowance gives kids an opportunity to try their hand at different money management styles and see what works and what doesn’t. Sounds deep right? Naaahhhh. For example, your child wants a toy car. You say great, it’s $10, you can use your allowance. Now your child receives $2 every week sooooo they have to figure out how they want to save up to get the car. Do they want to put the whole $2 away every week for 5 weeks? Do they want to put $1 away every week for 10? Are they actually able to make it through the weeks or will they impulse buy something and cut into their savings? How will they feel about that? LOT’S of learning to be had right there AND over a toy car and NOT the gas bill.
Some families have a spend, save, give approach. The child has three jars or they have a spend, save, give bank and they put a piece of their allowance in each (course they don’t HAVE to spend their money, they can just save it). Be sure the the give is THEIR choice. YOU may care about lung cancer but your 7 year old may really be into animals. Sure, supporting lung cancer research is definitely important but if your child doesn’t care about it, where is the lesson? Better that they donate a little to the local animal shelter which would really hit home for them. They can even help out or visit to see where their money is going. BOOM, life lesson DROPPED!!!
So, to tie this up nicely, allowance is about money management and as your kids grow, the lessons get bigger. Teens want clothes? A new phone? To go out? How will they save to get there? They could also get a job and earn the money or do things around the house to help out but hold on, that’s coming up in just a bit. Allowance is used to help educate and give kids a chance to experiment with money before money itself or messing up with money really matters. Oh and no!!!!! Per the question in the first paragraph; Kids cannot lose parts of their allowance for not listening, being rude, not doing their family jobs…. Again, all of these things are separate life lessons and taking money away for ‘tude will not teach the life lesson that you are looking for. The allowance money is always the same so kids can learn about saving and spending and planning. Something I am sure many of us wish that we had learned earlier in life.
When you’re a part of a family or team or a community there are some things that are expected of you. We’re talking fam here so we’ll stick to those responsibilities for right now. Soooo, as a member of a family you have certain responsibilities depending on your age. Maybe you set the table, feed the dog, fold laundry, make dinner. These jobs can change or stay the same for a while. You can use a wheel, a chart, pick out of a hat, you get the drift, to decide who does what or just give out the jobs as they come. For example you could have a child who is the dishwasher helper for the week OR just ask them to unload it when the time arises and perhaps they will be asked to do something different later in the day or the next. Whatever works for you but the idea is that not all family household tasks fall on the parents or grown people. Y’all live there y’all can help out. If they don’t want to well, they can be stuck (click that link to learn about your new fave discipline method) or what they are playing with can be closed due to the fact that it’s distracting the child from being a part of the team. Older kids could lose privileges such as the use of electronics because if you’re not being responsible about helping around the house then they may not be responsible with those electronics. Nix that car borrowing for that fun Saturday night out for the same reason stated a moment ago. You also want to be sure to talk about why their help is needed and expected. That you help the family so in turn they need to as well. That you are a team and teams work together. It WON’T be pretty. There will be tantrums and fights and pushback but who ever said that mentoring humans to be positive and productive citizens was easy??? That being said those kids will jump on the job bandwagon FAST if the consequences are put into place and a little thanks is given for a job well done!! More on that coming up so keep reading.
So what should you do when those helpers are so helpful? Give a high-five, a heartfelt thanks. The kids don’t get rewarded for doing what they should do. They SHOULD help out. They don’t get a treat for doing so. When was the last time someone got you somethin’ special for vacuuming? Never! And if they did send ‘em to me! I want a treat for cleaning MY place. I know that I just rocked your world and the following statements might be leaving your lips right now; “But how will I get them to clean?” See, above.The answer to that one is in the stuck link. “Don’t we get paid to work?” Yes, but this is not work. Again, anyone paying YOU to unload the dishwasher or make dinner? NOPE. Also hold on a sec and we WILL talk about earning money. “But if I don’t reward them how will I get them to keep doing it?” That high five or true pride goes a long way with kids. Also, they have to do it. Again, see above for what to do if they don’t. Start rockin’ those family jobs and you will be surprised what your kids can do and how much more time you have.
Make Those Benjamins
Here it comes. The moment that you’ve been waiting for. The, How can my kids learn about making money part of this whole shebang. O.K. grown-ups, sit down and think about jobs that are a little above the level of your child. Got a 4 year old who keeps asking you for that train? Let them sweep up after dinner and you can pay them for that. Have them collect the trash from different rooms and put it into a big bag, have them take the laundry out of a cooled off dryer. Bigger kids asking for whatever is the cool thing this week? Have them vacuum a few rooms, wash the car, rake leaves, take out the trash, fold laundry (kids can put away their own laundry as young as 2.5-3, may not be as neat as you would want but it’ll be done). Super big kids asking for whatever big kids want? They can cook dinner, run errands walking or in a car if they drive, they can mow the lawn, do laundry and fold it, clean bathrooms, mop floors, clean a floor, like all of the rooms on that floor. You see where this is going? You know your kid and what needs to be done. After figuring out the jobs put them on a list with how much they are worth. Your child can map it out and plan what they want to do with full knowledge of what they will earn. They will learn about making money, working to make money, saving money and the value of a dollar. BAM.
So there ya have it all broken down. I am not telling you how you must do things so no need to yell at me in the comment section, what I AM offering is an explanation about why this way will get you the help that you need while also teaching kids valuable life lessons about teamwork, community, responsibility AND money and how to earn it. Let me know how it goes folks!