By Shelby Strong
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]eaching children responsibility can be time consuming and difficult at times. Chores are part of learning how to be responsible and to take pride in the living quarters that we have. We as parents need help and want to teach our children to be independent and helpful. Thus, chores are instituted. At first kids think taking on a new job is fun and exciting, but after a while they learn to dread this activity and don’t consider it fun any more. Thus we need to find a way for them to understand how important it is to be responsible and to motivate them to do chores willingly.
Some parents decide to pay their children to do their chores. They may get a weekly allowance that may be used for whatever they like. Other parents things that paying children for things they should be doing willingly is wrong. Whatever camp you side with will be up to you and your values. At our home, our 3 kids have chores every day and then extra Saturday chores on Saturday. They are paid a small amount ($2 each) for the week only if they have done their chores and done them well. We choose to pay our children for chores so they can save their own money for toys and things that they want and to give them some extra spending money.
Paying our children for chores makes it so they love to do them so they can have some extra spending money. It also gives us an opportunity to teach them how to save the money they earn. Because of our beliefs, we pay a tithing to our church at 10%. We keep a paper notebook for each child with columns to keep track of how much money they earn. In one column, we have tithing. In the second, we have college savings and in the third spending. When our kids earn $2.20 cents goes into the tithing column, $1 in the savings, and 80 cents in spending. It adds up very fast and our kids have several hundred dollars in savings for college. They have lots of toys, so we’re not worried about their spending money, they only need a little here and there to play with.
We also have another incentive program in our home. We call it the marble jar. For every chore, nice thing they do, homework, practicing sports or music, we give them a marble in a small votive candle glass. If they do something naughty, we take one away, but just threatening to take one away usually stops the behavior. When they fill up their marble jar, they get to choose a prize. This is also a great way to motivate children to do their chores with the prospect of filling up their jar.
Some ideas for prizes (these can also be used for chores if money is not used) include art supplies that enhance kids imaginations. Many items can be purchased cheaply at local $1 stores or dollar spot at Target, etc. Some parents will do a large prize for a whole month of doing chores well. If one week is missed, the child will not get the prize. This works very well to for older kids. They may do a large prize with something like dress up clothes, because they don’t take up a lot of room, don’t make a mess like toys with little pieces, and they are great for pretend play and for enhancing imagination. We often motivate correct behavior in our home with the reward being dress up clothes and a lot of times our kids save up their money to buy their favorite princess dress or other dress up costume like pirates or superheroes.
Teaching kids to do chores is very important and is part of teaching them how to work hard and how to be successful adults some day. Whether you choose to pay your children money or not or whether you choose to motivate them in other ways, it’s up to you as a parent to decide. Make sure you show you praise your child and let them know that they are doing a great job at being grown up and that you are very proud of them!
Shelby is the mother of 2 girls and 1 boy and lives in Orem, Utah. She also runs a home-based business called My Cute Dressups at http://www.mycutedressups.com that sells Princess dress up clothes and other fun pretend play items for kids, toddlers, and even teenagers and adult princess costumes. She also has an eBay store and a local store run by the same name. She has seen a noticeable difference in her kids after encouraging dress up play. Visit her website for more biographical information or to see her exciting line of Princess Costumes like Cinderella dresses, Snow White Costumes, Sleeping Beauty dresses, wedding dress up, Medieval Princess, Yellow Beauty, Winter Beauty, Rapunzel dress, doll clothes that fit American Girl, 18 inch doll clothes. She has a Cinderella doll dress that matches exactly with the girl Cinderella dress as well as matching Snow White doll dress.