Recently, I visited with a friend about how to help boys grow into responsible men. I wrote down the wisdom I received in this post. Since then, we have changed the way we do chores at our house. Our boys have each started getting an allowance at age 5, along with some regular chores to perform. We tweaked our system a little and added a list of chores that can be done to earn extra money if they have something they want to save for.
We have two lists on our fridge.
The first is required daily chores. They are:
Aidan (age 9):
Morning routine: Put away pajamas, brush teeth, make bed, tidy up room
Lunch clean-up: Load the dishwasher
Mondays: Clean out the van
Tuesdays: Vacuum Downstairs
Wednesdays: Vacuum Upstairs
Thursdays: Vacuum Van
Fridays: Clean the School Room and Random Toy Put-Away
Gresham (Age 5):
Morning routine: Same as Aidan’s
Lunch Clean-up: Sweep the kitchen
Daily: Feed the dog
Empty trash cans
Take dirty laundry to the laundry room
Wednesdays: Dog poop pick-up in the yard
Fridays: Clean the school room and Random toy put-away
Owen (Age 3):
Morning routine: Same as other boys
Lunch clean-up: Help mom put away the food (peanut butter jar, for example)
Take diapers from Jonathan’s room to the downstairs trash.
The following chores are paid chores. The list that I have posted on our fridge includes the steps required to complete each job.
I chose items for the paid chores list that would make my life easier, such as vacuuming the stairs. I never seem to be able to get to tasks like that!
- Make Owen’s bed – 25 cents
- Vacuum the stairs – 75 cents
- Dust the living room – $1.00
- Bathe Tucker – $1.00
- Sweep the front porch – 25 cents
- Garage cleaning – 50 cents for sweeping and another 50 cents for putting away toys, tools, and stuff
- Mop the kitchen – $1.50 alone, or 75 cents each if two of them do it
Paid chores are completely optional, and there are a couple stipulations. First, paid chores must be approved by Mom. I need to make sure that the job actually needs to be done, and I also need to make sure that the person wanting to do the job has finished his schoolwork and required chores first. Second, the boys need to be willing to do jobs that come up without expecting to be paid. If someone spills the contents of the pencil sharpener, and I ask Aidan to vacuum, I don’t want to hear, “How much are you going to pay me?” On the flip side, there will be times that extra paid chore opportunities come up and they are offered a chance to make more money.
Forgetting to complete a required chore or doing a sloppy job results in a 25 cent deduction from their allowance. Aidan’s allowance is $2.50 per week and Gresham’s is $2.00. That’s probably low, but we can’t afford to hand out any more money than that! From their allowance, they each set aside 25 cents to give to the church. We also make them save a portion of their money, but my husband and I have not had time to sit down and figure out what that percentage will be! Probably close to 50%.
Like everything else in parenting, this has initially been a lot of work for me! I can see progress, especially on the lunch clean-up, which makes our school day flow better! Both of my older boys have lost money for failing to complete required chores and for fighting over the chance to do a paid chore. One of them has earned significantly more money from paid chores than the other. We are going to Lego Land with friends on Thursday, and I’m curious to see how this will play out when that child does not have enough cash to afford anything in the store. I’m predicting a struggle, although I hope I’m wrong…
Despite the challenges, I really like having a system for paid chores. If the boys want something, they can decide whether they want it bad enough to do the extra chores. I think that’s how life works. Adults have to decide if the overtime hours are worth the extra money, for example.
How do you do chores at your house? What tips do you have? Do you have ideas for paid chores to add?