SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER!
It’s time for camps, trips to the pool, picnics—and chores! Summer is a great time to get kids more involved around the home and let them earn a little spending money of their own.
WHY GIVE CHORES?
Harvard University researchers studied the effects of chores on children. They found giving kids chores actually makes them more successful in the long run! The children in their studies who were raised having chores grew up to be adults who were more independent, better able to work in collaborative groups, and possessed a “can do” attitude. Chores also help make kids feel important and needed because they’re contributing to the household. They’re helping out the family, cutting back on those feelings of entitlement. Bonus points if siblings have to work together to complete a task!
HOW DO WE TRACK?
There are many different ways to approach this. There are chore-tracking apps like KiddieKredit, ChoreMonster, BusyKid, Homey, and Privilege Points. Parents use the app to set up a list of items that need to be accomplished. Kids can earn points or rewards each time they complete one. The apps can be helpful, but tricky for parents who are trying to keep their kids off screens! Instead, you might try things like a dry-erase board, index cards, or a printable chore chart. Whatever works best for you to track what your kids have done and what they still need to do.
WHAT CHORES DO WE GIVE?
The most popular chores are typically things like making the bed, feeding the pets, folding laundry, and cleaning your room. Spend time thinking about what your child is good at and how that can help around the home! I have two daughters who love to organize. I can ask them to organize the kitchen pantry and they tackle it with gusto! I have a friend who had her children do their own laundry start to finish, starting at age nine. Perhaps you have a child who loves to be outside. Ask him to pull weeds in the landscaping! There are many age-appropriate chore ideas online. The key is to first demonstrate what you want done. Kids don’t naturally just know how to clean a bathroom! The frequency of chores can also differ day-to-day. Mondays, you may assign three chores per child, but Tuesdays may be packed with camps and activities, so you skip that day. Again, just find what works best for your family.
HOW MUCH TO PAY?
One recent survey found the average kid earned $8.74 per week. The amount varies depending on the child’s age. A four-year-old, for example, would have fewer chores per week and would earn less money than a 14-year-old. We base our daughters’ allowance on their ages: our 10-year-old could earn up to $10 a week, our 14-year-old could earn up to $14. They earn a certain amount per chore, for a total amount per week not to exceed their age.
DO THEY GET TO SPEND IT ALL?
Now that your child is earning his or her own money, they can learn the basics of money management. You don’t get to spend all of your money on fun toys or candy, so teach those lessons to your children. Encourage them to set aside a certain amount for saving, some for donating, and some for spending. We used percentages in our home. 10% giving, 15% saving, 75% spending. Have your child set a goal for the “saving” category: is there a toy they want, a video game they’ve been asking for, or maybe they will want the money to spend during the family vacation. Also, carefully consider where the “donate” money will go. Will you give it to your church, an animal rescue organization, or another cause that’s meaningful to your child?
Coming up with a chore list requires patience and commitment from parents. Kids will have lots of questions along the way and will probably try to get out of a few things from time to time. Listen to their concerns, but be firm when you need to! If tasks aren’t completed, they don’t get paid. Remember, you are teaching your children valuable lessons. And, the more they help you around the house, the more time you have for family fun together!