When we walk in the door after school, everyone knows what he/she is suppose to do. If they have homework (even if it is reading for 40 minutes), my kids know it comes first. Then, before there is any play time of any kind (bike riding, doll playing, gaming, or texting), my kids know chores must be done. There is too much for one person to do: laundry, dishes, cleaning rooms, sanitizing, recycle, compost, trash . . . the list goes on.
One day after school, Son Number Two comes home from school one day and asks me, “Mom, did you know I can make money?” He is in third grade.
I am standing at the stove preparing dinner, “No, I didn’t. How can you make money?” I decided to bite on his clever conversation starter. I don’t know if engaging the conversation is such a good idea because he should either be reading or doing his chores.
“Mr. Teacher says that I can make money by doing chores,”Number Two looks at me with glossy eyes and a wide smile. I, on the other hand, have one eyebrow cocked and ready to unload some serious sarcasm. But I play it cool.
“Really? Hmmm . . . Okay, but we all do chores in this house because we all have jobs to help the family.” Mr. Teacher has just moved down a few notches on my likable radar. No me gusta!
“Well, I think I should get paid for my chores,” Number Two stands his ground.
“You do. You just do not get paid in money. You get paid in screen time,” I am not making eye contact because I do not want to get sucked into this vortex.
Number Two must be mulling this over because I am getting zero audible response. I look at him. “If you would rather get paid for your chores instead of getting play time, that is fine by me,” I am hoping he does not call this bluff. I turn back to the stove to refrain from eye contact. I have absolutely no intention of following through with this, but I know I will have to if Number Two senses any doubt.
“Nah, I just wanted you to know that some kids get paid with money. Can I go play xBox?”
“Is your room clean?” Reinforcing the rule that is important here – work, then play.
“Okay, Mom. I get it.”
There are many great ideas on Pinterest for chore lists. Some promote payment, some allow privileges. Being a working mom of five children, we all are expected to help around the house and nobody gets paid to do these chores. Our family philosophy is that it takes everyone to keep our house running. Therefore, each person has his/her list of items to do. These items change frequently. We help each other. And the end results is that it all gets done, but it is not one doing all. Everyone does his/her part.
Do you pay your kids to do chores? How do you do chores in your family?