I kind of just wish I could just blink my eyes and my kids would know how to do chores, manage their money and never complain about helping. I would have magically somehow found a way to have bread three Mother Theresa's.
Chores and Allowance and Volunteering are all things that I want my children to have a healthy relationship with. Not OCD, or hoarding or laziness or compulsion. I want them to understand these things, respect them, and give them their right place in their life.
Unfortunately, this knowledge isn't something they just have. Seriously, out of everything else, I wish I could buy this knowledge for them, or give it to them like a vitamin every morning ensuring they were responsible people who were capable and able of great things.
In the past we have been really, really bad at following through on chores and paying an allowance. We are sporadic at best, consistent never. As I look at how quickly my children are growing and they currently don't posses skills, in my opinion, they need to be moderately adjusted adults. Heck, I want them to be moderately adjusted people always, even teenagers. So... that means this summer became our responsibility training. For all of us. Me included.
One of the reason Paul and I haven't jumped on the allowance band wagon is we were really struggling to figure our way through it. I am all about kids learning how to manage money and the easiest way to do that is by giving them a allowance. However, we also strongly believe that if you live in the house, then you are responsible to help out. No financial gain. You eat the food, you help clean up. You make the mess, you clean up. We are a team and it is not the responsibility of the parent to assume all of the chores and cleaning and organizing. This is unfair to the parent and most unfair to the kids who never learn how to take care of their things or themselves and live as a community or team.
Then there is the issue of being a team player, but also having some set chores that are elective in choosing to earn extra money. More than this is the fact that I want my kids to learn about volunteering their time without asking for money if they help weed the community garden.
With all of these issues, and the fact that I have a son who needs to know every little detail about every guideline so he can manipulate himself around it and find the loop hole, I decided to write down all of our chores along with our expectations. Gheezzz. it seems excessive, but there is small part of me that likes having it all spelled out on our door so that there is no question about what we expect.
We broke it down into three different categories:
Family Chores: These you do because you are a part of this team and we live, work, and love together. Because we each take up space in this house, we each are expected to pull our weight in pitching in.
Allowance Chores: The kids have a daily chore they must accomplish without complaint. If they consistently complain, we can withhold payment. I HATE complaining. (Wait, I think I am complaining..)
Community Involvement: Much like our family chores, we live in this neighborhood and the garden and garbage walks help better our neighborhood. We do this because we have pride in where we live, and we want to do our part to take care of the place we live. We live by example. We do not get paid for volunteering.
I am hoping this will clear up our confusion and expectations. That my kids can go to the board and know what to do. Starting this in the summer allows us time to teach them how to do these chores properly and allow them time for this schedule to become a habit before school starts.
I will be honest. I am not super excited about all the time this will take on my end to teach them about saving money, how to manage it, and put some way for donating. Or the time it takes to teach them how to clean a bathroom or vacuum out a car.
I would really like to send equipped adults into the world. I want my sons and my daughter to show respect for their things, know how to clean, and have some organizational skills under their belt. More than that, I really want my children to have a healthy relationship with money. To learn how to save it for multiple purposed instead of spending it right away. To learn how to wait and save for the toy they really want, and not spend money they don't have.
Again, if there was a pill that I could give them that would this work for me, I would buy it in a second. I would even donate plasma to make sure we could afford it. Alas, it does not exist, and so our current future looks like we are learning how to be responsible.
Paul and I too, since we have to make sure we follow through and they learn these learn.
Here is what our overall door looks like now. Meal schedule, daily check list to get screen time, and chores. Whew. Who has time to do chores when making all the signs took this long?