When I was growing up I never really had any chores to speak of. Oh, once I got old enough to learn how to use the washing machine I was pretty much in charge of my own clothes. From the time I was in sixth grade until I graduate from high school, it was just me and my mom at home. Neither of us are what I would call "neat freaks," but we weren't complete slobs or anything. My memory is that I would help out with the dishes or cleaning, but I didn't have specific jobs that were my sole responsibility.
My dad gave me an allowance, though. A big one. $20 a week starting when I was 8 or 9 or so. It was his way of assuaging his guilt about his absence in my life and at the time I was easily bought. I would save my money every week until I had enough to buy whatever was catching my fancy at the moment -- though I remember clearly how horrified I was that an Izod shirt was going to take my entire $20!!! But I never earned this money. And I never saved a penny. I firmly believe that this is how I ended up seriously in debt in college and that it is a large part of my poor spending habits now.
As of yet, my children don't have chores or an allowance, but there's a part of me that thinks that needs to change. It's become Bubba's job to take Toby out in the mornings before we leave for the day and in the afternoon when we get home. Punkin occasionally helps me empty the dishwasher.
I've never made them make their beds because we're always so rushed in the mornings that it's a miracle they get their clothes on and their teeth brushed before we have to head out the door. The same is pretty much true of the evenings, too. We get home at 6:00, eat dinner by 6:30 or 6:45 and then sometimes it baths and then straight to bed. Other times we have a little free time to just hang out together before it's time to hit the hay.
But I don't want them to feel entitled. I want them to earn some of the things that they get. I want them to learn to save. And I want them to learn to give.
The children's choir director has asked that we give the children jobs to do around the house and that the children bring in a portion of the money that they earn to support our church's mission trip to Mexico this summer. I think this is a wonderful idea, but when I broached the subject with Bubba on the way home, he didn't think too highly of it. "But why do I have to give my money away? I want to buy something with it!" I get that that's a normal reaction for a seven year old, but I want him to start learning that there are more important causes than a new game for his Nintendo DSi.
So, what say you, dear readers? What are some appropriate chores for a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old? And what should the rate of pay be? I patiently wait your sage advice.
6 years ago