Beliefnet
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We’re of the firm belief that it’s important to teach kids — while they’re kids — about how the real world works. In the real world, people just don’t give you money for nothing. You have to earn it.

So we don’t give our kids a free monthly allowance. They get paid upon completing their chores, some of which are mandatory and some of which are optional. We don’t have a minimum or maximum amount they can earn. If they do more of their chores, they get paid more. If they don’t do anything, they don’t make any money that week. They are also responsible for keeping track by checking off a weekly list on the fridge after completing a task. If they forget to note it, they lose out. Pretty simple system, based entirely on them being responsible for themselves, taking initiative to do things that need to be done, and earning their own income.

When I was a kid, my chores included taking out the trash, making my own lunch for school, and cleaning up the dog’s poop in the backyard. My kids’ chores aren’t much different…

Daughter, 6th grade:
• Set the table for dinner (daily)
• Feed Daisy (alternating days with her brother)
• Help with dinner (optional)
• Laundry (fold and put up your own clothes)
• Empty the dishwasher (optional)
• Empty trash (as needed, at least once a week)
• Miscellaneous cleaning (optional, as needed or assigned)
• Practice piano (daily)

Son, 3rd grade:
• Make bed (daily)
• Clear the table after dinner (daily)
• Feed Daisy (alternating days with his sister)
• Help clean garage/patio (optional)
• Laundry (fold and put up your own clothes)
• Empty the dishwasher (optional)
• Empty trash (as needed, at least once a week)
• Miscellaneous cleaning (optional, as needed or assigned)
• Practice piano (daily)

These chore charts change occasionally. There are some chores — like my son’s “Make the bed” — that are really just expected behaviors. We introduce the behavior first by making it a chore. Once it becomes a habit, we remove it from the chore chart but expect the kid to continue doing it. Stuff like brush your teeth or take your plate to the sink after dinner started as chores but are now things we expect them to do and won’t pay them for. The kids are aware of this arrangement and don’t complain when we remove things from the list. (And when we remove something, we always replace it with another money-making option.)

Anyway, that’s how we roll. What about you? How do you handle chores and/or allowance for kids? And what kinds of things are on your kids’ charts?

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