Being a parent is tough. It starts with sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and around the clock feedings. Slowly those parenting requirements morph into money, responsibility, and independence. How is it that the little baby that fit so comfortably in our arms grows into an adult who will enter the real world and make decisions independently? It seems like just yesterday I was choosing which clothes my girls would wear and how I would do their hair. These days I am occasionally asked my thoughts on outfits and a headband, but most of the time my opinion doesn’t really matter. Our family is truly in the beginning stages our girls turning into little adults …. and then real adults (and it is terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time). One thing that my husband and I know for sure is that we need to prepare our girls for a world full of money and debt. We started using a Responsibility/Chore Chart at an early age (they are now 6 and almost 8 and we have used this system for about a year now). We are taking small steps now to ensure that our girls grow up with financial smarts to succeed in the world.
Why we Pay our Children for Doing Chores
Chores Teach Responsibility.
One of the best ways to teach your child to be responsible is to give them goals to achieve. A chore/responsibility chart is essentially a large reward system where money is the ultimate goal. We are building a positive correlation between doing work that we don’t love and a reward. Really, who loves cleaning a toilet or vacuuming a house? No one, but we do it because the sparkling toilet and dirt free floor are the results that motivate us. Children make a positive correlation between things that they wouldn’t necessarily choose to do and rewards when they have household chores to complete.
Chores Prepares Children for Adulthood.
By having chores and responsibilities at home we are preparing our children for life in the real world. We are creating a base of knowledge regarding money, cleaning, rewards, waiting for pay day, and being self sufficient. We want to prepare out children so when they move out of the safety of our household they succeed. Working and chores are part of the real world. By giving them small amounts of money today they will be prepared for the day when the numbers are bigger.
Chores Makes the Household Workload Bearable.
Let’s face it, if we spent all our time cleaning up after our children we would be grumpy monsters. Chores and responsibilities help the entire house reach a state of harmony. Childhood is an excellent time to learn the old adage “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
We Want Them to Make Mistakes.
Yes, it’s true. We want our children to make financial mistakes when they are young and we are by their sides to help guide them through tough situations. We only have 18 years of our children living with us…..and approximately 12 or 13 years to teach them about money. Mistakes happen to the best of us….we all buy something cheap that falls apart. Getting up, brushing ourselves off, and learning from our mistakes is crucial. Not only do we want to model a few mistakes for our girls, but we also want to hold their hands when mistakes happen to them.
When children have money they get to spend it on cheap toys and small things that they want immediately. My girls have learned that cheap toys and impulse buys are not all that great and instead save their money for more expensive items (like a $5 toy instead of a quarter machine purchase to put “expensive” into perspective). The small inexpensive mistakes they make teach them the value of money. The sooner they learn that cheaper is not always better and that there is buyer’s remorse associated with impulse buys they better off they will be. Paying with their hard earned cash has helped the girls learn that the appeal of some items does not justify the dollar signs.
We Want Them to Succeed.
We are teaching them the ultimate life goal – If you can’t pay cash for an item, you can’t afford it. Paying cash will keep keep them out of debt throughout their lives.
We use a printable responsibility chart in our house. You can read all about the system and print your own chore chart here. Recommended reading: Smart Money, Smart Kids.
How does your house handle chores and responsibilities for kids?
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