This morning, I had to stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things before bringing Teddy to school (since one of the items was something he needed for school). I did self checkout and paid cash. Teddy immediately ran to the cash dispenser and took the money out. But instead of being helpful and handing it to me, he wanted to keep it for himself and got upset when I told him that, no, he wasn't getting the money. I'm not even sure what he wanted the money for - maybe a snack at lunch time or something like that. Money being as tight as it is this month, I really didn't have it to spare.
By the time we got back to the van, he'd calmed down and that's when he asked a question I hadn't expected. "Mommy, if I clean my room all by myself, can I get an allowance?" This is the child that fights me tooth and nail to feed the cat (one of his few regular chores - yeah, I know... he should have been doing more. That's what this is working toward). During the short drive to school, I told him that would probably be acceptable, but it would need to be more than just cleaning his room once to get an allowance.
"Well, feeding the cat without complaining is one thing..."
I thought for a few seconds, a multitude of my hated chores wanting to rush out of my mouth and sit squarely on his shoulders. But instead, I told him that it was something that Daddy and I needed to talk about before I knew for sure. That we'd talk about it tonight.
I talked to Rich about it briefly this morning, and we've decided that a $5 allowance a week would be a good amount for him. And that with this $5 a week allowance, "good boy gifts" (which was a semi-regular occurrence when we went shopping) were going out the window. He can pay for them himself. I'm thinking of the same for Pete (though at this point, I'm thinking $3 a week for him will be good).
I'm also thinking of tying Rich and my spending money into our chores. I'm thinking that it may help to teach the boys that it's not just them that get spending money by helping around the house. It's all of us can use the help that it would provide to curb spending.
So today I'm tasking myself with getting a chore chart started. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to actually make/print out the chore charts or if I'm just going to do the prep work, but I do know that I want to do this for the whole family. I'm working hard at trying to stay organized, and I'm getting frustrated with having to go behind everyone to do things that they are able to do perfectly themselves (laundry off the floor, paper plates in the trash, dishes in the kitchen). Yes, I'm the stay at home mom, but that doesn't mean I should do all of it by myself.
Along with writing out what chores each person needs to do, I'm trying to decide how to create the chart. I've been looking at various chore charts online and pinning them to my organization and parenting boards on Pintrest for ideas. There are a lot of create ones out there. But they ultimately come down to money and creative ability. I don't really want to reprint a chart every week and, while I think a white board would be a great way to go, I don't have the money to purchase one large enough right now. I do have one thing I can possibly reuse already, but there really isn't the room to add the various things that need to be added. So I'm looking at various options for how to create as well as what will be on it.
So, dear readers, what are your thoughts on Chore Charts? More trouble than it's worth? A godsend? What works for you and what doesn't. I'm always open for ideas!