I would love to be the mom with a beautiful chore chart where kids have the same responsibilities every week, and are compensated in a fair and consistent manner. However, that is totally not who we are!
Kids and Chores
Here is a look at how we handle chores in our house with my 12 and 9-year-old kids.
Each person in our house does their own laundry. We have two reasons for this: 1) My boys are similar in size and I can’t keep everyone’s clothes straight. 2) I saw a sign that said if you’re smart enough to build in Minecraft, you’re smart enough to start a washer. While that made me laugh, there was enough truth to get this implemented in our house. Everyone has their own laundry basket and we used washer pods to make it easy-peasy! (And yes, we told them how dangerous it is to eat the pods.) This is an unpaid chore.
My boys are responsible for making sure their own room is tidy. This means no garbage, dishes, clothes, or random junk laying around. If you ask my kids what I always say about cleaning their rooms, they will groan and answer “NO SHOVING”. My number one rule about clean rooms is not shoving things under the bed, in a drawer, or in the closet. This is an unpaid chore.
My kids are responsible for loading and unloading the dishwasher each day. If there is something like a unique bowl or something from a high shelf, they just leave those on the counter for me to put away later. This is an unpaid chore.
Vacuum, Tidying Living Room or Basement, and Other Random Chores
If there are random chores that need to be done, I write each child’s name on a small piece of paper and list what chores they need to do. I ask them to do less of these chores during the school year. These are unpaid chores.
I’m not sure if I should count this one as a chore, but they are expected to complete homework immediately after school. This also includes practicing instruments. This is an unpaid chore.
Good Initiative Dollars!
I came up with this idea when the boys were little and wanted to earn some money. They can earn money by showing good initiative and looking for something that needed to be done and doing it. We still use Good Initiative Dollars.
Good Initiative could be carrying garbage out to the garbage bins, picking up their brother’s toys without asking, or helping clear the dinner dishes. The key to earning money is 1) finding something that needed to be done and 2) completing the job well without being asked to do that task.
This is a great thing to implement with kids because it helps them take some ownership in recognizing that everyone helps to keep things tidy. I also don’t have to do a fancy chore chart! I am happy to pay for things that are done without me nagging. We usually offer anything from $1 to $10 depending on how big the task was and how well they completed the task. (We don’t pay for every good initiative task.)
I’m sure there are some really awesome families that are great about doing chores consistently, but for those that aren’t, I’m here to tell you that you are not alone!