Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Chore Jar - Even Naturally Sweet Sisters Have Chores

Over the course of time, our girls have always had what we like to call 'responsibilities'. 

The naturally sweet hubby and I realized that at an early age, even the smallest of kiddos could be assigned a task or have responsibility for something within our household.  It didn't have to be a big task or a big responsibility either.  As long as it was accomplished correctly and with a good attitude (no shrugging or eye-rolls please!), it was successful. 

Plus, I secretly had nightmares after hearing of friends who told me that they went to college without knowing how to operate a clothes dryer!  Oh my!

We started with having the girls start brushing their teeth, washing faces, combing their hair and writing thank you notes.  As the girls grew, their desire to have a family pet helped us to add the next level of responsibilities, cleaning the litter box and adding fresh food and water to our kitten bowls.

Last year we added extra things like making beds, picking up toys from around the house and helping with bigger projects - like cleaning debris up from the tree hitting the house or assisting with the laundry. 

We also upped the ante and added $1.00 allowance per day for each completed day's worth of tasks. 

If the kids forgot their responsibilities, mom and dad still had to do it, so instead of paying the children, we paid ourselves.  Oh yes!  That's right!  We paid ourselves.  Now, that is an eye-opener for children!

A few neat things happened.

*  Our kids realized that they could buy things without mom and dad saying no. 
*  They learned the value of saving up for bigger and better things. 
*  Things that they purchased had more meaning and were taken better care of.
*  We never had the whining in store for something they wanted.  All I had to say was, "Did you bring your own money?" They knew if they could afford it or if they felt it was worth the cost.

Interestingly enough, it also taught our children about hard work and the realization that without working, they literally had empty pockets.  The remedy?  More completed responsibilities the next week.  I am seriously hoping that this lesson stays with them through their teens and early 20's.  Oh my! 

So one more really cool thing happened.  By establishing responsibilities, even though our kids had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, we instilled the expectation that life would continue on, as normal as possible.

We helped our children to clarify their own identity so that they knew they were regular little kids. Type 1 diabetes or not, our kids learned that their identity meant to be good citizens and they had the responsibility to take care of household chores, homework, our family kitten and even themselves.  There was no forgiveness on high or low days... either you completed your responsibility or you didn't. 

Through doing all of this, we helped our little girls discover their own abilities - and removed the idea that they had any sort of disability.  We also gave them a very stable home environment that clearly outlined the expectations and roles of each person in the family.  Not to mention that it also left us a lot of time for loving and cuddling and snuggling - mom had less to do on her own!

As we head into another summer and with two slightly older kids, I am modifying the responsibilities list by giving it a new name.  I thought I might share it with you for a fun opportunity for everyone to teach their kids a cool way to earn allowance money.

Introducing the Chore Jar. 

Inside the jar are about 30 different household chores.  Each completed chore is worth $1.00. 

Every time a chore is completed and verified by mom and dad, the family worker gets to add the chore to their own bucket. 

All chores will be paid on Sunday.

Now here is the catch: mom and dad have a bucket too.  Any chore that they (we) complete first, goes into the 'Mom and Dad' bucket for the week and that chance to earn money for doing that chore during the week is done.

Also, the chores are to be drawn out of the jar at random.  Whatever you get, you have to do.  If you choose not to do it or if you try to re-draw, you lose your chance for the day to do any other chores.  You also lose the chance to earn any money that day, which is very disappointing.

However, if you are on a chore roll, after every completed chore, you can redraw to get another chore - for as long as you would like and ultimately, earn as much money as you can.  Just make it clear that mom and dad must verify to ensure the chore was properly completed before moving on to the next task.

I placed the Chore Jar near their bedrooms in the hallway with the diabetes refrigerator.  I thought it might be a nice daily visual of how many dollars they have coming each week.  They can't walk by without seeing it!

With oldest daughter yearning for more make-up and youngest daughter wishing for Bath and Body Works supplies, this will be a nice incentive to help them both, especially over a long summer.

And me too.  Less for mama to do by herself is always a good thing!

What's that saying?  If mama ain't happy, no one is happy?! 

Right now, I am very happy!


Shari said...

Wonderful! I'm doing it too! Thanks for the inspiration!

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

The girls are having a blast. Can you believe that I actually had to say no more chores last night? Bedtime came and they were still busy bees. Bonus... the house looks great! :)

Scott K. Johnson said...

Great idea!

And I have to say, I'm totally jealous of your diabetes fridge. :-)