That is the question.
I’ve decided that my boys need chores. Not only do they need to take some responsibility for their environment and their role in our family, but I fear that I am raising future men of leisure (based on the fact that they are currently boys of leisure), who will believe that their whole purpose for being on earth is to have a good time.
I’ve also decided that they’re sissies.
I mean, sure, they can beat the crap out of each other and take a punch just as good as the next brother, who has brothers, but ask them to scrape the food off their plate or take the trash out, and they get all “Eeww! I’m not touching that!! And then, I’m left feeling pity for the women, whom they will one day marry. That is, if they get married. Judging by how they are now, they might just end up living together in a toy strewn bachelor pad, wrestling, and playing video games, while simultaneously texting and eating waffles.
Yes, they definitely need some chores. However, what I’m having a hard time deciding is whether to tie an allowance to their chores or not. I want my kids to earn money, yet, I don’t feel that they should be paid to clean up after themselves, and contribute to the well being of our family. Money tied to chores leads to the idea that kids should get paid or rewarded for doing something that I think should be expected of them. It’s akin to paying them to get good grades. Are you kidding me?
Here’s a picture of the chore chart I created on a wipe board I got in the dollar bins at Target (where, by the way, you can also get boots and snow pants on sale for %50 off right now). As you can see, I’m not asking my boys to do anything remarkable, and in fact, it’s almost a little ridiculous that I’m even calling it a chore chart, since things like brush your teeth and go to bed are really pretty obvious. I’ve seen some chore charts where kids, the same age as my children, are doing much more, i.e., unloading the dishwasher, taking out the trash, wiping down the bathroom counter, and vacuuming. It makes my chart look like child’s play. But this is where I’m pretty sure I need to start, especially since we are coming so late to the game.
Not to overwhelm them, and trust me, they looked overwhelmed, there is also one more thing they’ve been asked to do which is not on their chore chart, but went up on the bathroom mirror in the form of a sign. Talk about annoying (though, I shouldn’t talk too loud, since I have been known to do this), but how hard is it to throw your cup in the trash after you brush your teeth? Talk about hoarders!
Of course, not paying them to do chores, also means I need a separate way to teach them about managing money, because right now, I have one child who acts like we’re printing it in the basement (note to the Feds, we are not).
I’ve thought about giving them a dollar or two a week, but for what? Existing? I’m not sure that makes much sense, either, and that’s definitely not earning money. I’ve also considered just supplying them with money when I think what they are asking for is appropriate (which is pretty much what happens, now), but then, I’m not teaching them much about budgeting or saving, which both my boys could really use a lesson in.
I’m not sure what the allowance answer is, but I’ll get back to you when I get it figured out. In the meantime, we’re three days into chores, and I had to send both boys back upstairs, twice this morning, to finish the job and throw away their bathroom cups. It’s going to be a long road.