How We Handle Chores {ages 6 and 9}

Chores are a funny thing.  Some families believe children shouldn’t be paid for any work they do around the house.  Since they are part of a family they are expected to do things around the house to pitch in.  Others have detailed chore charts and pay out on a weekly basis.  Wherever you fall in the whole “chore” debate there are definitely things to be learned from how every family handles chores.  Now every family does things a little different so you have to adapt to your lifestyle and personality.  But this is how the Farrant family does it.  I wrote about this before here but I figured I would give an update now that my kids are a year older.

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I think we are pretty strict with our kids.  Wait! Strict sounds like a bad word – maybe consistent is better.  We strive very hard to make sure that our kids know our expectations. Therefore I don’t count to 1-2-3, don’t give them numerous chances, don’t constantly repeat myself, etc.  When I want my kids to do something I look them in the eye and ask them.  For example, (looking into Kayla’s eyes) “Kayla it is time to clean up your toys, okay?”  And then while still looking into her eyes she knows I expect a response.  Therefore I communicated what I would like to have done and she has acknowledged me.  Therefore, if it isn’t done, she knows she is being disobedient.  The only thing we punish for in our home is disobedience.  I say all that to say, for us, a chore chart isn’t necessary.  My kids know their daily jobs and I help remind them to get them done and help them keep track of time so they can do their jobs in the allotted time.  However, for some, that visual reminder of moving their jobs to the “done” section of a chore chart is really helpful.  I think you need to know you kids and your personality and see if that fits for you.

So what do my kids do for their jobs?

Well there are some family contributions that my kids do simply because they live in the house and are a part of this family unit.  For example, my kids have to clean their rooms and the playroom each day.  That is not something I pay them for.  They also have to turn all of their clothes right side out and bring it to the laundry room each week.  I then wash it and fold them and put them back in the basket.  They are then expected to put the clothes away.  However, we do pay for extra responsibilities on top of that.  Each of my kids have chores where they earn money each week and we pay them half their age.

Kayla – age 6 earns $3.00 a week

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Responsibilities:

1.  Putting all shoes away at the end of the night. We are always in such a rush around here that we put our shoes right by the door and kick them on and off as we come and go.  At the end of the night she puts them all back into our cubbies in our mudroom.

2.  Vacuuming the kitchen floor.  With a small handheld vacuum she zips around and vacuums after dinner on the opposite nights that she has dishes (see below).

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3.  Putting the pillows back on the couch.  After pillow fights, lounging around watching TV, fort-making, etc., our pillows are a wreck.  She is responsible for fluffing and making the pillows look nice each day.

4.  Kayla sets the table for dinner.  I get down all the plates and cups and set them on the counter and she fills all the water and puts everything on the table.

5.  Kayla is responsible for helping mommy make salsa and muffins each week.  We usually make a double batch on Sunday and, of course, make sure we do the salsa dance before we start 😉

6.  Since Kayla turned 6 she has now taken on the job of putting away the dishes from the dishwasher.  Neither of my kids like this job.  Isaac rallied now that Kayla is 6 that she could split the days with him.  So she does the dishes Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Isaac – age 9 earns $4.50 a week

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Responsibilities:

1.  Empties the dishwasher Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  Since he can’t reach past the first shelf in our kitchen cupboards he will stack the rest on the counter and then Tim or I will put the rest away.

2.  Folds all kitchen rags and puts them away.  Each week I wash all our microfiber cloths and he neatly rolls them and puts them in the drawer.

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3.  Clears the table after all meals and puts all the dishes in the sink and throws away all the paper products or excess food.

4. Help prepare one meal each week with mommy’s help.  Kayla loves helping in the kitchen but Isaac –notsomuch.  So this was a way that I can get him in the kitchen with me and teach him some basic skills.  Hopefully his wife will appreciate that one day.

5.  Vacuum the kitchen floor Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

6.  And his new job since he turned 9 is to collect the trash from all the trash cans around the house and put them in the large trash can the day before trash pick up day.

How do you pay your kids?

On Sunday is payday.  Tim handles that.  Each of the kids receive their allowance and they get to give back to God.  We have shared with them from the Bible what God expects them to give back.  Kayla is the generous one and usually gives $.50 each week.  Isaac gives the 10% but then, oftentimes, will give some of his money when he sees a need like giving money to a local children’s hospital or helping to buy shoes for kids in Haiti, etc.  We use our spend, save, give jars to reinforce this visual aspect of money management.

teaching kids about money with spend save give banks

What if they don’t do all their chores?

My kids have never really said no they won’t do it.  But if they don’t do it for some reason they lose $.50 per job not done.  So 5 missed jobs in a week for Kayla is no money.  We have only had them lose their money once each though.  It hasn’t been an issue before.

What if they whine and complain?

I always try and sympathize with my kids first.  I know chores aren’t fun.  So I will say, “Buddy I know chores aren’t fun.  Mommy doesn’t like washing dishes but I do it so that our family has clean dishes to eat off of.  I am so grateful for the part you play in helping our house run smoothly.  If you need a minute by yourself to be able to have a good attitude while doing it, that is fine.  You can go up to your room and have that minute and when you are ready you can finish your job.”  Since they hate being alone they usually change their attitude on the spot.  But there are times, Kayla needs that minute and takes it.

The goal for chores isn’t just to get stuff done around the house, although that is a huge perk!  It is to teach them responsibility and that they are an important part of our family where we all work together.  Also it is to teach them about money and how to handle it.

So this is how we do it and it isn’t always perfect. The kids complain and pout and mommy loses her temper at messes many times.  But we strive for progress and not perfection in our house.

I would love love love…did I mention LOVE to hear how you do chores in your house.

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