Chores & Allowance

Here is a post from one our Guest Bloggers, Commuter Mom! Read more of her posts here

I have been dragging my heels when it comes to giving my daughter chores and an allowance.  I know I should do it, and I thought about starting chores when she was in preschool, but never got around to it.  I know it will teach her responsibility and give her a sense of accomplishment – which is so important now that she’s in kindergarten.  But, as a working mom, unless I really have to, I don’t want to add anything else to my “to do” list . To be honest, I get tired just thinking about chasing her around to make sure she does her chores and trying to remember to have money on hand to pay her an allowance. Plus, figuring out what chores to give her that will not drive me nuts as a perfectionist and neat freak is challenging.  She’s too little to really do the dishes, or change the sheets.  We have a housekeeper who mops the floor, dusts, etc.; and I don’t want to have to wait for my daughter to be around and available to empty the dishwasher.  For some reason she is obsessed with sweeping the floor…but just the middle of the room, never the corners, so that won’t work either.

So, last week we decided it was time.  I did a little reading here and here.  As a family, the three of us talked about the things she needs to do as a member of the household without earning money (e.g. cleaning her room, putting away her toys, clearing her place after dinner) and then agreed on what she would do to earn an allowance:

  1. Take care of the clean laundry – take it from the laundry room and put my clothes on my dresser and my husband’s on his, her clothes have to go to her room and into the drawers.
  2. Set the table when we eat dinner as a family (usually 4 or 5 nights a week).

We are planning to add another chore once we are doing yard work – maybe sweeping the sidewalks after the lawn is mowed, or helping with the weeds in the garden.  In exchange for those three things she will get $3.00.  $1 can be spent, $1 will be saved, and $1 will be donated or used for a project to benefit a charity – and we will match all of her donations. 

We are on week two now, and wow, I wish I had done this a long time ago!  Last night she very proudly put all of her laundry away after she had set the table and cleared her place.  I am realistic and know we are in the honeymoon phase, but I really hope that she’ll continue on this road for a long time.  And, I plan to implement my co-worker’s tradition of adding a new chore at every birthday.  Now I just have to make sure I have $3 in my wallet every week!

Do you give your child an allowance?  What chores are they responsible for?

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