In our home today, we have our 3 kids. Being a blended family as well as foster parents, there are often 5 or more kids here at a time. The question of pocket money comes up frequently and so does the nagging to have kids help with chores. If you ask around, all kids have chores. They range from taking care of animals to the dishwasher to the vacuum. Some get paid, some don't. But what is right? I sure haven't got it figured out yet and my oldest is about to turn 15!
A family is a team and in a team we all have positions. Offence and Defence. And, my new tactic is to use that team play as a way to conquer my house. We are breaking the chores down into three groups. Red for difficult, Orange for medium and Green for easy. I'm going to write the chores I want done in cards, and categorise them accordingly. Each family member is going to get a traffic light system of chores. Parents included!
As far as pocket money goes, we have tried that. Did it work? No, I say. I think it encouraged the kids to spend the money on junk food at school. Having coins in their pocket, and an open canteen in school meant that they were spending their money on food! What? It was never enough for a delicious thing at school (a chicken parma sub is $10 in high school!) so it went to biscuits, cakes and ice-creams! So pocket money just became a way to eat junk food.
So, how do we manage the "need for spending money" situation? Well, we set up a debate type system. The kids need to come to us and argue a point to us about what they want money for, what they need it for and how they are going to use it. It has to be a worthwhile and sometimes gets to be hilarious as they argue that they want to buy a slurpee from school because its a hot day. We argue reasons back of course, like it might dirty their socks, and they are learning how to stand up for themselves, think things through and be creative.
Who knows if what we are doing is right or wrong? Its always such a gamble and everyone seems to be an expert, but you. This is what I do and hopefully if you are confused about your kids and chores, maybe I've given some ideas!
Written by guest writer Alice Slamani. Known as The Laundry Fairy and also Creative Consultant at gFocus Photography (www.gFocusPhotography.com
Some of our jobs!
Red: Unstack dishwasher
Red: Wipe counters in bathroom each morning
Red: Take rubbish out each day and bins out on rubbish pick up day
Orange: Fold socks
Orange: Pick up shoes and put away (front door)
Orange: Feed cat
Green: Wipe front of fridge
Green: Sweep the front porch
Green: Windex the mirrors.