Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Work Pay and Must Do - A chore chart

As parents we want to teach our children about money management, doing chores around the house and being responsible for their belongings. So, we sat down to discuss how we are going to do that in our family.

Jenny says...let's make a chart, based on their age, of the chores they can do, and they can earn points for doing them each day...for ex. brush teeth, make bed...then they feel successful each day
Scott says...how can we keep track of points, that seems like it will be a long list...
Scott says... it is important that they do not get paid for doing things around that house that they just should do, like keeping their room tidy and brushing teeth. In Suze Orman's book there is a short bit about money with kids, maybe we should stop giving them allowance and turn it into Work Pay.
Jenny says...I like that, so they work for pay, just like the real world.

Here is what we came up with, and it has been working for the last two months.

 Work Pay                             Kid A               Kid B    
 Set Dinner Table  
 Clear Dinner Table  
 Unload Dishwasher  
 Take out the trash  
 Fold one load of laundry        

 Must Do        
 Make Bed  
 Flush Toilet  
 Clean room  
 Clear your dishes

How to start...
Have fun creating a chart with your kids. Have them make a list of all the things that they are supposed to do without pay around the house (then you sit down with your spouse and pick from that list the FEW that you will start with). Then have them think of chores that will pay money (again, you will sit down later and pick a FEW). Start with a small list, and once they are successful with those, make the necessary changes. 

Work Pay: chores that any kid can do, anytime. If the garbage needs to be taken out twice a day, that is great. You want them to do the work for pay and earn as much as they can. Each chore is simple and easy to do. If they don't do a quality job, you do not pay. Each chore is worth 25 cents. Give them a check each time they complete it. When you need a chore done, you can ask, "Does anyone want work pay?"

Must Do: chores that each child must do (we have been having a problem with toilets not being flushed in our home), or they get docked 25 cents. Give them an x if they forget.

Each Week: Set a specific time when you sit down and look over the list. Add up the work pay and subtract the Must Do. That is your kid's earning for the week. Start a new chart. If they work, they get paid. If they forget a must do, they get docked. Keep it simple.

       Create the list, decide on the amount of each workpay, and keep it flexible for change.
The kids will learn math skills, family responsibility, money management all at once.

*The first week, take it easy on your kids, give them a week to adjust to the new routine.
*If you have more than one kid, this will work well to motivate the ones who do not want to work....once they see a sibling collecting all the money, they will want to work too.
*You cannot use this as a form of discipline. You cannot check them for taking out the trash and then later, when they misbehave, take away the check....they work for the pay, and you cannot take it away. This is separate from everything else.    
*It helps to figure out what each child wants to save for, so you can remind them of the object when they lose motivation for workpay.
*If your child wants to do more workpay, after the others are all done, wonderful! Leave an extra space on your chart, so you can write in the extra things you think of for them to do.

Our boys no longer forget to flush the toilet, so we can move on and replace that with something else, like hanging up their bags after school!

Good luck parents, and remember to have fun with it.


  1. I SO NEED THIS TODAY! I'm starting right away! I wanted to tell Brent that if he wants a garbage wife, a laundry & folding freak, or a dish witch...he'll get one! I'll let you know how it goes over when we all sit down to discuss it tomorrow night! LOVE YOUR IDEAS...and yes, my cuboards are still neat and tidy! Because my family hasn't been allowed to touch them! HAHA

  2. Awesome, keep me posted on how your chart looks with 5 kids...and what type of chores you choose for work pay. It would be neat to see what your family comes up with. I am excited to post my cleaning challenge...just waiting for some free time to post it.

  3. So I redid my chart. I added myself. I know this sounds funny but I thought if the kids see how much "Money" I could make by all the work I do in the day when I ask who wants to set the table and everyone ignores me... I just started today (and I already have seven checks) so I will see if it makes my kids a little more motivated. Last week my oldest got a quarter... Not good!

  4. Find out the one thing they want to save for, so they also can remember why they are working. Some weeks are slow, and others go really well because they are more motivated (we are all a little like this).

  5. So we officially started today - maybe you all can check my charts and see if this is actually going to work or not! I don't know how to send pictures though...so maybe I'm on my own?

  6. Thanks BrentsJoy for sending me the email of your charts, they look great! Keep me updated on the progress of your system.