If you have kids at home, you probably have wrestled with the idea that kids should learn about working hard. You no doubt also acknowledge that they should have some kind of idea of what money is and how it works. Certainly many parents struggle with these same questions. I sure have. I want our kids, Emma (10) and Jensen (8), to understand money and how it works. I also want to teach them the importance of work ethic while they’re under our roof (even if it is an rv roof). Here are a few methods that we have implemented in our house.
In our home, we schedule regular chores for our kids to tackle on a daily and weekly basis. I also rotate the chore schedule so both Emma and Jensen learn to do different tasks in our rig. They both wash dishes, care for our animals, make their beds, vacuum, clean their room, clean their bathroom, etc. (I see memes all the time about how gross little boys are in the bathroom. Want that to stop? Have that little boy clean his bathroom.) There is absolutely no question about what needs to be done before activities are started. No video games until chores are done. No playing with friends until tasks are completed. Think it’s hard? Yep, to some extent discipline is hard, but the rewards of that discipline outweigh the work. “Mom, could I such and such?” “Well, did you brush your teeth?” Our kids know what we will ask them. They can count on us to be consistent. Kids need that consistency, as do parents.
Mike and I are both involved in teaching our kids how to do chores in our home. During our marriage of fourteen years, neither of us really do certain “jobs.” We both pitch in and help the other with what needs to be done. I really believe that this is important, and it’s one of the reasons I rotate our kids’ chore schedule. Each of them needs to know how to wash a plate. Each of them needs to know how to sweep the outdoor mat. Both Emma and Jensen are learning how to do laundry and fold clothes.
Every Friday is payday for Emma and Jensen. Woohoo! They look forward to it after they’ve worked hard during the week. But, we do not pay our kids for doing their chores. We call the money we give them an “allowance”, but this money is earned through the week by doing things over and above to help our family. Each of us is vital to our family being successful. Each of us has a role in how our family operates. During the week, Emma and Jensen look for ways to help to get paid on Friday. (Does the table need to be cleared off from schoolwork? Oh, no one told you to do it? Not an excuse! You are an important part of the family.) We all pick up the responsibility of taking care of our things. We all help tote groceries from the truck and put them away. We all ask,”What can we do to help?” If the kids have been helpful, they get paid.
What do they learn from this?
- They are important to the health of our family.
- They are capable of making choices to help.
- Working together is fun and worthy of effort.
- Many hands make light work. (Using my momma’s words here)
- Money follows a strong work ethic.
- The words our kids most want to hear are “You earned a bonus this week”! Yes, as “hard” as chores for kids may sound to some parents (it’s not hard, read “Farmer Boy” for what hard is), as I stated earlier, the rewards are greater than the work! A month ago, our kids had zero cavities when we took them to the dentist. It happened on a payday, and Mike gave Emma and Jensen a bonus because 1) they took terrific care of their teeth and 2) their care of their teeth saved money for the family. Bonus!
- Our kids look forward to their payday each week, and we enjoy watching them decide what to do with their earnings. When we are at a store and Emma mentions a jump rope or a video game that she would like, we ask her, “Do you have enough allowance money?” Usually, she will already know the answer to that and respond accordingly. Jensen will do the same on occasion. They know how much money they have to spend and often will join forces to buy something they both want. They learn the responsibility of keeping up with their money, how much goods cost, and even how to check out at the store by themselves. We believe that this sets them up for more confidence as individuals.
- With anxiety and depression on the rise in school age kids and teens, children need to be taught their value in the family when they are young. Mike and I are constantly keeping this in our focus. Our kids are worthy, they are capable, and they bring value to our home.
- Yours Truly,