Chores, they have been one of the most challenging things for me to implement. The challenge hasn’t been about the kids, it’s been more about me. A couple of years ago I was forced to take a hard look at myself. I discovered that I was controlling and unorganized. I also discovered that I had an issue with paying an allowance. I knew I had to come up with a solution because I was holding the kids back with my issues.
I’m a perfectionist, not a very good one, but still a perfectionist. In my little world, things need to get done in a certain way and in a particular order, which makes me a controlling perfectionist. Not a very pretty combination! It was so much easier, on everyone, if I just did everything myself. Things got done right, they were done in a timely manner and I didn’t have to deal with any arguing or fussing.
I never really had any kind of schedule for cleaning, if I saw that something needed cleaning, I did it. I was organized in one way but completely unorganized in others. If you looked in my linen closet or medicine cabinet you would think that someone with OCD lived here. However, the opposite was true when it came to taking the garbage to the curb or making it to scheduled appointments.
When I was growing up we never had any specific chores, so I didn’t know where to start. My mother worked and it was our responsibility to have the house picked up by the time she got home. We didn’t receive an allowance, she felt that cleaning the house was a responsibility and not a job. I guess I’ve been molded by that philosophy and is why I had a problem giving an allowance.
All of my short comings, were at the detriment of my kids. Every time I did something myself I was missing the opportunity to teach them how to be independent and self sufficient adults. I had to figure out a way to teach the kids how to do household chores and a way to reward them for it. Through a lot of reflection, I came up with the following system, which has made huge changes in the running of our home. The system is an organized tool that is based on the kids skill level (age), and it addresses how they are rewarded.
The kids tasks are broken up into three categories:
1. Responsibilities – This teaches the kids that throughout their lives they will have
responsibilities which are not monetarily compensated. The reward comes from the
satisfaction of a job well done.
2. Chores – This teaches them that when they work hard they can earn the money
they need for the things that they want.
3. Team Work – This teaches them that working together on a common goal gets it
done quicker, strengthens bonds, builds character and prepares them for the life.
Here is how we assign tasks: