Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How To Teach Kids to Work

As a mother not only do I want my kids to know that I completely love and support them but I also want to teach them to be good people who contribute to society and I know that begins now with me teaching them to work.

There are many ideas and opinions about kids working and if they should get paid allowances or not.   This is what we found to work for our family.
The Family Economy 
  The family economy is based on the idea that we are all part of the family and because we are- we are expected and required to do certain things simply because you are part of the family.

A family for us is filled with love, friendship, laughter, and lots of hard work.  

As part of the family economy the kids have the chance to earn money.  They are required to do certain jobs/tasks every day but if they do them WITHOUT whining or too much prompting then they can earn money.

We do it this way for a few reasons.  First, in case they decided they didn't want any money they couldn't just say, 'well I am not going to do my jobs' as they are required.  Second, it teaches them to be self- starters and helps eliminate whining, something I will take any day.

Why Money
  I believe it is important for kids to learn the concept of money, the cost of things and the idea of savings while it doesn't really matter much.

What do I mean by not matter much?   If my son decides to spend all his money on toys from the dollar store, he will soon realize that those toys are a dollar for a reason and that he probably just waisted his money.  My daughter can learn that if she really wants that Lego friend's house, she is going to have to pass up the candy, the Barbie and every other girl thing she sees until she has enough money for the house she really wants.  

And if they waste their money and make some mistakes at this point in their life-- it won't affect for them for the long run except for helping make sure they don't make these mistakes later in life when the stakes are much higher.  

The Job Chart
This is the chart we (Eric actually put it together) have for our kids who are 6 and 8.
Link to download this below
We put each of their charts inside an 8X10 picture frame.
We then duct-tapped a string to a wipe off marker and tapped it to the back of the frame.   That way their markers, even if they fall off the top (which they do) stay with the board.  We have these hanging in our butler's pantry.

And guess what-- you can download the jpg file by clicking below

Every day- they have to do 10/12 things  in the daily columns.  

Their daily jobs are:
  -Make their bed
  -Brush their teeth
  -Get dressed
  -Do Homework
  -Put Socks Away
  -Put Coat Away
  -Put Backpack away
  -Help with Dishes After Dinner
  -Clean up Toys at Night
  -Bedroom is Clean
  -Bonus Point  (can be anything I may need help with or if I notice them being extra kind, serving, etc)

In order to be able to mark off their check at the end of the day they have to get 10 of the 12 things.  Some mornings are rushed, and some days things just get busy so we want to give them a little leeway so they don't give up.  They are responsible for marking off their charts everyday-- if they don't then they don't get their points.

Also, there can be free points- like on Friday's and Saturday's there is no homework, so they get that point for free; but you can choose to do it as you want. 

 Weekly Jobs:
   When we first started this we actually had these weekly jobs as part of the daily jobs; so one day they might have to vacuum, another day dust, etc.   Then soccer began and between soccer, scouts, homework and life some days it just seemed impossible.

So now we have weekly jobs: 
  Each week they are required to vacuum- but they can pick which day they want to do it.  Also sometime during the week they must choose 3 of the 4 weekly jobs:  helping clean the bathrooms, dusting, helping with laundry, or mop.   

They can pick which day they want to do these jobs- if they get all of their weekly jobs done on Monday then they are done.  But if they put them all off until Saturday, then they will be spending Saturday morning doing them.   

They must get their weekly points in order for any of the rest of of their points to count.   If they do great the whole week but never vacuum, then they get nothing; as they did not 'finish their assignment' so to speak. 

The Allowance
  For our children with consideration to their ages; currently we have each day worth $1- so by the end of the week if they have completed everyday and done their weekly jobs then they can earn $6 total.

We have chosen not give them physical money, but I have an App called Cash Vault.  I have set up a piggy bank for each kid.  I deposit the money into their accounts each week.

This way if we are at the store and if they ask "can I get that?"  rather than having to just say no, I can say "yes, but let's see if you have enough money." I have to admit, it feels good to say yes rather than no right away.  I can then open the app and we can find out if they have enough money.  If they do, then they are free to buy what they want.  If it is something I think would be a waste of money I of course will talk with them about why this might not be the best choice, but ultimately it is up to them.

Alex really wanted the Lego Friends house, which cost $70.  She said she wanted to save for this.  We would be out shopping and she would see something and be like- oh I want that, can I buy it?  I would pull out the app, tell her her money and then remind her of her goal.  She would sigh, put the toy back on the shelf and agree that she did want to save her money.  After more than 3 months of saving, we got to take a trip to the Lego store.  And you know, she takes very good care of that toy and she worked and saved a long time for it.

It has been so wonderful to see my kids able to learn to work hard, save their money and work for the things they really want.  It is a lesson that will help them forever.

And I have to give credit where credit is due-- I did not come up with this idea all on my own, but learned many of the principles and foundation for these ideas a year ago when I attended the Power of Mom's conference.  It truly was a day that changed my life in so many ways.  And I am so excited that at the end of this month I will be attending another Power of Mom's retreat.  If you are a mom who lives anywhere near the LA area please, please consider coming and attending this life changing day.  You can get more information about the retreat by clicking here.

I am linking this post up at the following crafting blogs

PhotobucketTodays Creative Blog

It's Overflowing


  1. Finally, a parent who gets it! These are the values that we want to instill in Elise, rather than the you can have whatever you want ways of the world. How old were your kids when you started implementing chores?

  2. You just poked me in the eye with this one. LOL. Not that we're not teaching our children these things but because we're inconsistent in doing them. I gave up on chore chart a long time ago. I need to get back to them. Kids know what they're suppose to do but they end up arguing who's turn it is and so forth. That's why we need the chore chart. Our family don't do allowance mainly because we don't have enough funds for that. But your $1 a day is such a great idea. I am going to use that with my kids. Fortunately, these kids never ask for money unless it's something they really really need like a tore up shoe to be replaced or a class fee in school. Thank you for reminding me that I need to get back to these basics.

  3. I love those charts. This is definitely something that we want to teach our boys. We talk to them about it now, but I want to do something similar when they are older and kind of "get it".

  4. This is very similar to the ideas Todd and I have been trying to come up with. We haven't done anything yet though. I am definitely showing this to Todd! Awesome Em!!!

  5. That's a great program. I'll have to share this with Jdaddy to see if he wants to do something similar. Right now, we're working on having Buster be more independent. He doesn't want to learn to brush his teeth (well, he can do it, but he doesn't do it well) or to get dressed on his own. I think he needs a little incentive!

  6. Wow this is a great idea! I'm taking notes for when my boys get bigger!

  7. I am going to download this. I'm sure my kids will want to earn some money to save for the toys they want.

  8. I need to bookmark this for the future. I LOVE the idea of teaching kids the value of a dollar, and about responsibility. Such great lessons to teach your children!

  9. We've just started this kind of thing.

  10. Good ideas! I will have to use some of them! When did you start? Do you think an almost 4 year old is too young?

  11. I love your system. Teaching kids about money is so important. Some of my kids are better than others! When our kids earn money, they pay their tithing, and then 40% into savings, and 50% into spending. Cowgirl is the richest in our family because she is very selective about what she will spend money on. And she often puts "extra" into her savings. Bookworm on the other hand spends his money as soon as he gets it. He's had to pay the consequences though when he sees something he really wants, but he has no money left over to get it. Hopefully he will learn more restraint with time!

  12. This is very similar to what we do.

    This weekend, we're opening accounts at a Kids Bank here in town.

  13. I am always looking for ways to motivate my kids to work and earn money. I love that you essentially spelled this out for me. I now have no excuses, right?! :) Thank you so much! I am really going to have to try this. Soon.

  14. YAY!! I'm glad to see another parent having their kids help out around the house and then using their own money for the things that they want!

    I don't give my kids an allowance though... they have to work for free.

  15. So totally cool. Every parent should teach their kids this!

  16. I am really impressed with Alex's success! Awesome!

  17. I was thinking this all sounded very familiar. I read the book The Entitlement Trap last year and it is written by some of the people involved with Power of Moms. I love the concept also. We are getting ready to implement something like it with our kids.

  18. Great idea! I included one of your pics and a link to this post in my allowance round up.