Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why I Don't Pay My Kids to Clean Their Room - Chore Binder System Explained.

About 5 years ago when my oldest child was 5 I began my quest for a chore system that would fit our families needs.

I ran into 2 main problems:

1. All the chore systems out there were wall or fridge based. At the time I was a major decor junkie and I couldn't stand that all the chore systems had to clutter up my wall or fridge space- and that most of them didn't match. Don't worry- I've progressed past that OCD stage but deep down inside I'm still a little obsessed about order and visual aesthetics- even though my home is rarely a reflection of that due to 4 little people that do their darnedest to make sure that my house is ever a reflection of a massive toy and art explosion
2. Most of the chore systems out there were based around a system that involved paying your children to do things that I felt were a responsibility. For example- I don't think that kids should be paid to clean their room. Or brush their teeth. Or the systems rewarded kids with stickers, treats, or cash but didn't integrate life skills and autonomy.

So what's an OCD Mommy of 4 armed with ambition and Photoshop to do? Why design her OWN chore system of course!

After over a year of twerking and making necessary changes based off of what was working and what wasn't- I had an entire system in place that was color coded per child, fit neatly on a shelf, and 4 happy children who LOVED doing their chores!

* They love it because they each get their OWN binder. It is THEIRS. Not mine. 
*They love it because they get paid every week! And with said money they get to spend and budget accordingly and don't have to ask me for money or items anymore. 
*They love it because I'm not nagging them anymore about what to do, when, and how. Not only for their chores but also when it comes to cleaning their room and their daily hygiene.

So why don't I pay my kids to clean their rooms or brush their teeth? It's simple:

I want my home to be a safe and loving reflection of the real world- since that is what they will be entering one day. A place to learn, grow, make mistakes, and prosper, all under my roof and loving guidance

So how do we do that? 

In the real world (generally speaking) you go to work, get paid for going to work, and then come home. And you are expected to fulfill (hopefully happily and willingly) whatever responsibilities are necessary at both places. 
The way I decided to apply that theory and practice  into our home was simple. Their room became their "home" and our home became  their "job". Their physical hygiene is wrapped up in their "home" responsibilities. Because short of being a Trucker I can't think of any other job where it's OK for you to brush your teeth, shower, and get dressed on the job.

So in order to mimic real adult life as much as possible my children were now expected to go to "work" in order to receive a paycheck- which they would now need to purchase all their wants and needs. Before the age of 8 I take care of all their needs. Shoes, school supplies, new outfits, etc. But after the age of 8 they get a pay increase and that responsibility falls on them. And they LOVE it! It does my heart good to see my 8 and 10 year olds get out their shopping lists and budget their wants vs. their needs. Granted, they will make mistakes. Oops- spent all the money at the movies and on that brand new toy they thought they needed...  but it doesn't take them long to figure out that they disappointed themselves by blowing all their money in one place.

The thing is... I WANT them to make those mistakes NOW and not when they are 18 and handed a credit card! By that age the mistakes are usually on a much grander scale with much higher consequences. 

Plus, giving your children the responsibility of their own lives via their own finances builds trust, communication, and self esteem! 
AND they learn to take better care of what they have because if it breaks or gets worn out- they know it's THEIR responsibility to replace it.

This also means that I'm no longer paying for all their wants/needs so our budget has remained the same. The money is simply redirected into their hands instead of my wallet.

About half way through our little binder experiment I realized that I could make this even more life applicable by also giving them the freedom to choose whether or not they wanted to go to work that day. In the real world if you miss a day of work you miss out on a piece of your pay check. And once you're at work- you rarely get to choose what you have to do. You have a list of expectations (whether they are boss given or self directed) and you are supposed to get them done.

So now I don't force my children to go to work. But once they decide to go to work that day- they do all that was assigned. They don't get to pick and choose. In our home my children rarely take a day off. They want their paycheck on Saturday and they don't want it to be smaller than any of their siblings. But of course it happens and when it does, I don't freak out about it anymore. Granted, I may have to pick up their slack, or that chore won't get done at all that day, but that's OK! We are thinking bigger picture here! We are trying to build a life skill now not just keep the house clean and tidy. 

To BUY THIS SYSTEM as an instant download CLICK HERE

To BUY JUST THE CHORE CARDS as an instant download CLICK HERE

To See all that is included in the Responsibility Binders CLICK HERE!


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