If you have kids, you may have asked yourself, “Should there be chores for kids?” Many of us, me included, kick the question around as we break a sweat doing our own set of chores – repeatedly – throughout the day. Here’s our viewpoint on the subject and how we tackle the issue.
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Chores versus No Chores
The endless debate of getting kids to do chores versus not doing chores is a tiring one, and one that you never seem to get the ‘right’ answer for. There are varying viewpoints on each side of the debate, and no one is really wrong. Let’s analyze the general perspectives of doing chores and not doing chores.
Some say that chores for kids will teach them:
- responsibility and accountability,
- how to care for their belongings,
- how to work as a family unit, and
- learn that work does have benefits earning rewards.
These are all valid points. But what about the other side of the topic? There’s always two sides to a topic, so let’s see it.
Why some say that chores are bad for kids:
- They are kids – let them enjoy being a kid.
- Gives them a false impression of helping in hopes of being paid and not out of the kindness of their hearts.
- Chores can lead to spoil the responsibility of handling money.
- Kids should not be taught to expect money when doing chores.
Both sides have reasonable opinions rather you agree or not with one side or the other. Discuss with your spouse or significant other (if applicable) what you think would be the best for your family. If you decide to have your kids do chores, keep reading. If not, please keep reading in case your family changes this decision later.
Allowance versus No Allowance
Now that you have agreed that chores are best for you and your children, there’s the debate of paying them or not paying them for chores. There is no right or wrong answer. Again, discuss this with your spouse or significant other (if applicable), and decide what is best for your family.
There is a middle ground between paying them and not paying them. For example, our family does a mixture of the two. We give allowance based on how they use teamwork to get their chores done and how much complaining they do throughout the week. Additional chores are available if they would like to make additional allowance. (They can either ask my husband and me what can they do to make additional money. There are always ways they can help out. And half the time, they help just to help. They don’t want or ask for the extra money.)
First, for our family, we have a list of basic chores they must do as a part of helping the family unit. Then, we team the kids up to tackle certain chores:
- Two oldest boys together (6th & 3rd graders)
- Oldest daughter with youngest son (4th & 1st graders)
- Our 5 year old helps mommy clean her room and the upstairs hallway
We give each team a set of three chores that alternate each week. We keep track by color coding the sets of chores on a blank calendar*. The calendar is kept at eye-level in the kitchen. I usually do the chore calendars every three months so I’m only spending one hour every three months rather than each month.
- First set of three chores: living room, downstairs master bathroom, and their own bedroom
- Second set of three chores: dining room which includes sorting the recycling bin, upstairs kid bathroom, and their own bedroom
In addition, the three older kids also have to put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher and dish rack. These alternate in a three day pattern as shown in the image above.
*Holidays and no school days are a ‘no chore’ day for the kids.
Here’s an example of next month’s chore calendar.
Checklists for Cleaning Areas
Each room that is part of the chores has a checklist which contains daily and weekly chores. This eliminates any miscommunication about what is to be cleaned. The daily chores are done, well, daily. Each Thursday, the kids must complete the daily AND weekly chores. The weekly chores use to be required each Friday, but that cuts into their weekend time. (I’m just as eager to start the weekend as they are.) Thursdays are better for this.
Each day when they are finished, I check to ensure their chores are done. If at the end of the week there was good teamwork with minimal arguing and complaining, then we give each child a weekly allowance based on their age.
Allowances for Each Kid
These are the allowances we give our children (the amount does vary based on income and budget restrictions at the time):
- Older kids: $3 each per week
- Younger kids: $2 each per week
The entire amount is not given to the kids. We keep track of their money by using Google Spreadsheets. Each week they track their allowance putting 25% in their savings column and the rest in their spending account. This not only teaches them how to use the program, but it also shows them their money adding up. My husband and/or I take the kids shopping the first weekend of each month to spend their allowance. Sometimes they spend it and sometimes they don’t if they are saving up for a particular toy.
To keep track of when I transfer the money to each of the kids’ Bluebird cards and savings account, I put a colored bar.
Keeping Track of Money Electronically with Bluebird
I also want to explain how we give them the money. We do not give our kids actual cash. We manage their money through two accounts:
- Savings account through Navy Federal Credit Union
- Spending account through American Express and Walmart’s ‘Bluebird’ card
If you are not familiar with Bluebird, Bluebird was created by Walmart and American Express. You track spending, add funds, send money, do direct deposit, have a set aside account, family accounts, use the Walmart Savings Catcher (NOT an affiliate link), and more. I love my Bluebird card, and I’ve had it for about three years or so. Read more about Bluebird (this is NOT an affiliate link).
One of the best things I love about Bluebird is that I can have a certain amount deposited into the main account from my husband’s paychecks. From there I can transfer money into each of the kids’ accounts. They each not only have their own, separate account, but they have an actual debit card, too. This is perfect for when they want to pay an iTunes gift card or other online transaction*.
*I keep their cards locked away until it is time for their monthly spending. Their card information is not stored on any devices.
Effects of the Chores and Allowance
Now that the kids see their money coming and going once a month, they have more appreciation for the items they buy. They are more hesitant to trade their toys with friends and they take better care of what they do have. It also teaches them how to save up for something they really want rather than asking for this and that constantly. I’m not saying they don’t ever do it because they are still kids.
Since enacting this form of chores for our kids in September 2016 (which replaced our chore charts – link), there is far less arguing and complaining about chores. It took about two weeks or so to become adjusted to the teamwork and alternating chores, but it was minimal adjusting. They prefer having a buddy to help and more chores get accomplished. It’s a win-win situation.
By having their chores separated and enforced, this gives me less chores. Now, that doesn’t mean I spend less time doing chores. Haha I still spend time doing my chores, but it’s more manageable having a few chores rather than four times that many!
Here is how I manage my chores without aggravating my symptoms and causing a flare.