My kids work for commission. Yup, we are that family. Allowances have been revoked and so have the IOU’s. I mean, we are just trying to be realistic. We are trying to teach our kids that money doesn’t grow on trees but that it comes from working. Work, that four letter word that some of us adults dislike, but we have to do it because if we don’t we might starve.
Please, please, please don’t think that I think that I am the world’s greatest mom and I know it all. I am not, and I certainly don’t! Please don’t think that I think that my way is the only right way and everyone should be teaching their kids these principles, I don’t. These are what I want my kids to learn, and I’m sharing because a couple of people have asked me about it. Just because it works for my family does not mean it will work for yours. All I want is to share the principles I’ve learned and maybe answer some of the questions I’ve gotten asked about lately after I posted about PAYDAY! So here we go.
My kids WORK for their commission. (We want them to really learn that money comes from working, not from your parents, other people or trees 😉
Expectations before the extra…
You will see in my sample work list for my kids that there are expected things my kids need to do before they can get paid for their chores or any other extras they want to do. The few things we expect them to do gets them the “FREE” stuff…Shelter, Food & clothing. Fair??? We think so.
NOT ALL CHORES ARE PAID EQUALLY!!!
For the most part, each chore costs us $0.25 but some chores are harder or take longer to finish than another so those chores pay more. We normally decide as parents which chore will pay more and how much more.
* We have three kids and sometimes they fight over a paid chore…Solution: On a dry erase board on my fridge I write down the jobs available that day…The task and a line where they can sign-up for the job. Once you sign your name the chore is yours. Not only did the list eliminate the over watering of the plants or the daily dusting of furniture; it helped spread the jobs out and almost eliminated the fighting over the easy jobs 🙂
Pay them in dollar bills, lay it out in front of them and count it out
(be sure you show them their pay stub a.k.a chore chart, put it in an envelope and hand it to them.)
We have giggles’ payday every Sunday. Why Sunday? It gives them time to do extra chores for money if they wanted to on Friday nights and all day Saturday.
If you are paying with dollar bills be sure to get to the bank on Friday to get them. Did you forget? Ask for cash back in dollar bills at the grocery store (you might get a funny stare but chances are you might already get them anyway 😉 ). A whole bunch of singles looks and feels like much more than a single five dollar bill.
Envelopes? One to hand their pay over (nothing more fun than taking their money out of their own CASH envelope!!) And three different ones that has these labels: Give (church or charity) , Save (to add to their bank account or to make a bigger purchase) and spend (right away if they wish to). Again this is something you and hubby will have to decide on, heck don’t like envelopes, use mason jars, piggy banks, socks… it doesn’t matter, just do it!
Be honest and fair to the kiddos.
We are their bosses and we are paying them, but if you find yourself needing to cut back on the amount for each JOB; adjust it for the next work cycle and EXPLAIN to the kid(s) why you had to do it. Be sure you pay them CORRECTLY that week. Pay cuts suck but hey, it’s the real world. The company can’t afford to keep paying you that much money, so we have to be fair and cut your pay. Life lesson, use it as a teaching moment not an ‘I let them down moment.’
Their chore should correspond with their age and your family’s to do list!
Please do not look at this as a chance to promote child labor at home, there are laws against that 🙂 Do not abuse it. Be kind, but do not under estimate what your child can do. Make a list of all your should do list around the home and then formulate your child or children’s list(s) from there.
* If your children are new to chores, please be patient with them. Take this opportunity to teach them the way you want it done. If they have never done it or were never taught how to do it, how can they do it right by your standards? Fairness and patience will come to play here and might take more than a week or two but please be patient. Keep chugging along, be their encourager not their JUDGE! It’s better they learn from you now than fail as an adult because they never learned how to do their jobs the right way. These are skills that will stay with them, so please be patient.
* The expectations and jobs will get harder as they age, just like at work. The more experience someone has the more expectations increase. Another lesson worth teaching and learning as they get older.
Lastly use this as a teaching moment for each child.
Let them make the decisions on what to do with their money. If you’re kids are old enough to understand budgeting, teach them. Let this be a time you allow them to make the mistakes while they are young and not really in charge of anything financially. When you have to help them make the corrections, be sure you are patient at explaining it to them. Teach them about savings and spending and don’t make them feel bad about spending the money they worked hard for.
* This is our family’s first try at teaching our kids about being financially ready. YES, to some it might seem extreme or even STUPID, but it works for us and so for now we will continue it. My fear is that if we don’t do this now and my kids start a real job at 16 they will not know how to save/spend their hard earned ‘real money?’ Why not teach them now when they earn a few dollars, as opposed to when they are earning hundreds of dollars.
I hope I have helped answer a few of the questions some friends have asked. Keep it simple and fun. Above all, use it as a teaching moment about something that will always be a part of their lives. I hope you make it a great day!