Are you starting to feel overwhelmed with all the cleaning resting on your shoulders? It may feel like you have no time to sit down and have some “you” time. Are your kids reaching that age where they’re old enough to begin helping around the house but the idea of cleaning is foreign to them? Does it take more effort to get them to help than it does to just do the job yourself?
If so, it may be time to think about setting up a rewards system. A monetary rewards system may be just the thing you need to motivate your kids to help around the house; and at the same time teaching them responsibility around chores and money.
Money may motivate your kids to do their chores more than other types of rewards
Start by setting up a rewards system every week, for example, your child must do X number of chores to earn $20 at the end of the week. This allows your child to focus on their tasks in a short window of time with the potential to receive their monetary reward at the end of that short period. This will help to build their cleaning habits and help them to become responsible with their tasks. You can keep track of their progress with a simple To-do list posted on the fridge.
The first week they’ll be ecstatic to earn a whopping $20 and maybe even the second week as well. As they begin their third week, they may get lazy and may only do half of their chores, thus not earning their $20. This is where the learning begins.
When they do not earn their $20 and you follow through by not giving them their money, all of a sudden, they’re short on funds. They can’t acquire the things they want because they didn’t accomplish the tasks that you asked them to complete. Now they are starting to understand how responsibility works and why they need to do their chores.
There is a direct consequence of not completing their responsibilities. Just because parents say they need or want them to do chores is not enough to motivate most kids. No completed chores equal no money, and therefore no freedom.
If you believe strongly that money is not a good reward, maybe you think money will make your child selfish or your child doesn’t care for money yet. You can use other rewards or punishments instead. Try using their favorite toy or something they care about; you know your child best. Restrict that item until they do their daily or weekly chores to get the same results.
Your kids will learn the value of money when they have none and realize the importance of finishing their chores
The reason money is such a powerful tool for teaching your children to do their chores is because many kids feel a sense of freedom and independence when they have their own money. The consequence of losing that freedom and independence is too great of a cost for the kids. Having their own money allows them to choose how to spend it, buying either a special toy, candy, electronic, game, etc.
If you use a specific item such as candy for your reward system, the only kids that this will affect are those that crave candy each week. For most kids, the task of completing their chores is much more arduous than not receiving their candy. They will think, “oh well, that’s too bad but man I hated doing those chores.”
Now think about when they don’t receive money, “…I really wanted that new Lego set, I made plans to go to the movies with friends, etc., etc.” You see where this is leading. They realize that if they don’t do the tasks they are responsible for around the house, then they can’t earn the freedom to do their activities. Now that is powerful in a kid’s mind. Next week they’ll think twice before they don’t load the dishwasher because they’ve experienced life with earned $20 and life without earning their $20.
Setting goals they can work towards by completing chores will promote dependable cleaning habits
After a few weeks, your kids will start to realize how much power money can give them. In the beginning, they may spend their earned $20 as soon as they receive it, on small items or small activities. Soon they will start to see their $20 as a means towards buying something bigger that may cost them $40.
This is where parenting can get fun. You may watch your child develop the skill and discipline of saving money. They won’t spend it one week and then splurge on a cool new game that all their friends have the next week.
Or, they’ll come to you asking for an increase in their earning potential each week, creating a key parenting moment in the value of saving your money. This will be a strong teaching moment that your child will appreciate in the future.
Set achievable tasks, create earning potential, and teach your child how to be independent with money and you will have a motivated self-cleaning machine on your hands. Not only will they understand the importance of work, but they will also understand the value of money and how they can set financial goals through doing specific chores around the house.
Money can be a strong asset to you as a parent and take the over-flowing load of responsibilities off your shoulders and place them on to your kids while teaching them valuable lessons along the way.
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