Kids, Chores and Money

I get asked a lot about how we do chores around our house. So I thought I would share about it here. First of all, in our home we call chores, stations. I’m not sure why but the word chores felt so heavy to me when the kids were finally old enough and I introduced them to the concept. I thought about different options for a while, tasks, clean up, responsibilities etc. not sure how but I settled on stations.

Each one of the kids has a station that they are in charge of. Every day it’s their responsibility to make sure it’s cleaned up and kept orderly. The layout of our house made it pretty easy for me to divide up each child’s section. Living area (which is pretty much the whole downstairs, floor related), dishes, kitchen and dining table, two bedrooms upstairs, that makes four kids and four stations. We usually clean up and everyone does their station after school is done. They play a lot during the day so we try to wrap things up before dinner time and daddy comes home. Once a week I will help them out if things got backed up in the rooms. We also do laundry, bathrooms etc. and pretty much deep clean the whole house so that the next week is a fresh start. If they aren't keeping up with rooms during the week for example, then I try to put things away until it can be kept clean without a struggle. There’s nothing we can take away downstairs so if they complain then they get another week of the same station and I take away screen time or play time.; or think of another consequence for the negative attitude. After they figured the system out, they are pretty great about it, we rarely get complaining anymore.

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I let them have a few toys out, the boys have cars and the girls have dolls, everything else is in tubbys up in their closets or under their beds. We keep things organized by categories and I don’t like anything to be out all over the floor at the end of the day. We try to have a quiet hour everyday and I'll let them pull new toys out to play with, that get put away right after. Books are always out. Since most of the storage is under their beds (we don’t have a designated play room) it's sometimes hard to keep them out of things now that they are older. But when they were little I just rotated things. I always hid most of their stuff so that it could be missed and then they would play extra long and quiet when they got it back.

Real life isn’t perfect and we get busy sometimes. When things get messy and we don’t keep up with everything, I try to tell myself that it's because I have kids and they are home all day with me, being free to be kids. It's always a juggle between a clean house and just accepting real, homeschool, life but for the most part we do manage.

It was somewhat of a hard decision to make, about what kids should do because they are a part of the family or what they should help out with and get paid for. Growing up we always had to help and it was just that. When we heard of kids at school getting allowances just because, it made no sense that we “worked” and didn’t get paid for our chores and they got paid for nothing. So I tried to find some kind of middle ground. I think it’s good to introduce kids to earning money at a young age. Money management is something that isn’t taught well in today’s culture, so what better way and better place to start then at home!

I pay each child once a week for the work that they do, It’s not a lot but it adds up. I would say start little, you can always tip them or give them raises as their work improves. When we started all this, the twins were clueless about money. The were three/four years old and all they did was copy the older siblings. You can’t exactly say their dish washing qualified inspections and most of the time I worked along side them and paid them their quarter right away. I also tried to reward them if they had a great attitude with a little treat of some kind. To encourage them to stay positive and to show them that hard work pays off, at that age it really motivated them. Now that they are in school and learning to comprehend money and the cost of things, they are super excited to get paid and save up for the things that they would like to buy.

The kids also vacuum and wash floors, they do laundry and clean the bathrooms, for now it's all free because they are a part of the family, since it's not a weekly/daily thing for a certain child and I occasionally go through and deep clean everything myself. Now, they see it as a privilege to help out with “grown up” stuff and they sometimes even fight for it, so I'm keeping it that way. I love it! I hardly ever do laundry anymore, I sometimes almost miss it… but not too much lol. Might I add their folding and putting things away doesn’t always look or compare to the way I would do it myself but it’s ok with me, they are learning and I am free to do something else, so it’s a win win!

Mowing the lawn, washing the cars, yard work, the garage, things like that I pay them a little extra. But things like cooking, baking, prepping for and after dinner clean up, are all things we do together. They each know how to manage if I’m not there to help and those are things they do not get paid for, they are part of the family and these are skills they need to know how to do in life for themselves.

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We have an electric lawn mower. It’s battery operated and the two older kids can operate it themselves. I usually stay close by to supervise because we sometimes get strange looks from passing cars or neighbors haha. I guess it does look odd that they are hardly higher than the machine. Hubby goes along afterwards and does all the edges with the string trimmer, they aren’t big enough to operate that one yet. Same as with laundry, it doesn’t always get done perfectly and they miss a spot here or there but they are learning and I couldn’t be more proud of them!

We have an electric lawn mower. It’s battery operated and the two older kids can operate it themselves. I usually stay close by to supervise because we sometimes get strange looks from passing cars or neighbors haha. I guess it does look odd that they are hardly higher than the machine. Hubby goes along afterwards and does all the edges with the string trimmer, they aren’t big enough to operate that one yet. Same as with laundry, it doesn’t always get done perfectly and they miss a spot here or there but they are learning and I couldn’t be more proud of them!

Gardening was completely all on them this year, I didn’t help out. I’m pregnant and we had a hot summer plus I’m kinda clueless lol. My mom and their daddy helped them get started and they were diligent about keeping up with it. I loved watching them work so hard. And tried hard to keep my amazement at bay when things actually grew and they had tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions and watermelon. It actually produced fruit, it wasn’t much but it grew! Some of their plants didn’t make it but it’s ok, it was a learning process.

Gardening was completely all on them this year, I didn’t help out. I’m pregnant and we had a hot summer plus I’m kinda clueless lol. My mom and their daddy helped them get started and they were diligent about keeping up with it. I loved watching them work so hard. And tried hard to keep my amazement at bay when things actually grew and they had tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions and watermelon. It actually produced fruit, it wasn’t much but it grew! Some of their plants didn’t make it but it’s ok, it was a learning process.

Borscht, one of their favorite meals to help with.

Borscht, one of their favorite meals to help with.

Potato salad in the making. I love that I can just ask them, give them instructions and watch it all come together.

Potato salad in the making. I love that I can just ask them, give them instructions and watch it all come together.

Love their unique personalities! Hadassah on the left loves to mostly bake and all things spices. Alistair on the right loves all things fresh and to cook. He loves his garden and usually never says no to helping out in the kitchen. Surprisingly though he’s my pickiest eater but I’m sure one day that will change, because he’s an amazing little chef. They both love to “invent” desserts, soups or salads, to experiment and think things up for themselves. I let them have at it as I get to test their creations, yummy!

Love their unique personalities! Hadassah on the left loves to mostly bake and all things spices. Alistair on the right loves all things fresh and to cook. He loves his garden and usually never says no to helping out in the kitchen. Surprisingly though he’s my pickiest eater but I’m sure one day that will change, because he’s an amazing little chef. They both love to “invent” desserts, soups or salads, to experiment and think things up for themselves. I let them have at it as I get to test their creations, yummy!

I love waking up to the smell of her amazing, made from scratch pancakes. They are the best!

I love waking up to the smell of her amazing, made from scratch pancakes. They are the best!

This guys knows mama well. Loves to make the two of us an egg and toast every morning and he cooks it just the way I like it!

This guys knows mama well. Loves to make the two of us an egg and toast every morning and he cooks it just the way I like it!

We sure do get fancy cakes, cobblers, and crisps, breakfast and much much more from this little one. She loves to try new things and isn’t scared off by any of it.

We sure do get fancy cakes, cobblers, and crisps, breakfast and much much more from this little one. She loves to try new things and isn’t scared off by any of it.

Not only does our home run much smoother this way but also my kids are earning money, learning money management, paying for things they want themselves, giving because they have something to give, they even have a car fund. They are learning valuable lessons, how to help out and most of all independence to care for themselves and for our family when we need them to step up. Money is just a tool but it’s also a great motivator. A lot of us weren’t taught well how to manage it but it’s really not that hard. It takes patience and discipline and over time the reward is great.

My kids have gotten toys, games, bikes, roller blades, my oldest just recently bought herself an electrical razor scooter, all on her own! On top of saving up and budgeting I’ve also been teaching them to buy wisely. My daughter spent months reading reviews on amazon and thinking about which twin dollies she would like to buy, (with my help of course). Now that she has them she couldn’t be happier. When it came to her moped/scooter we both agreed that a few hundred dollars was a bit much for something like that, so we looked around for other options. Facebook market didn’t have much to offer but every now and then we kept looking. One day we were at Once Upon a Child, (a second hand store) and she saw the scooter of her dreams haha. She didn’t have her money with her and wasn’t even sure if she had enough at the moment. We went home and talked about it, she mowed the lawn and did a few other things and finally got enough to buy it. Since by then it’s been over a week that we’ve been there, we weren’t sure that it was still there. I told her that if she really wanted it, she would need to call the store and ask them about it. We made a list of questions she would ask if it was still there, she had them on a sticky note and I sat right next to her. My poor thing was sooo nervous but she put the phone on speaker, called and asked if it was there, if it had the charger and if it all worked. The answer to all those was yes. She was so excited, didn’t even notice the lady on the phone being so shocked and slightly laughing that she was taking to a child. She was so happy when she heard that it was still there, said thank you and convinced her daddy to go with her to buy it. So proud of herself and absolutely thrilled with her purchase.

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It works great and looks adorable and she only paid $80 for it. It’s been used but you can’t even tell after she cleaned it up and she probably saved a hundred or more by not buying new. Like I said we look and think about things for a while. I teach them not to impulse buy and to first check out all your options and pray about it, if it’s something that you really really want and can’t see life without. She bought her bike on sale at Walmart but her brand new roller blades from someone on FB market place. Dollies online and other little things at the local store, it’s not really about where but more about how and when, making it a thoughtful and wise decision. The reward is great! By the time they save up for something they really want, half the time they change their mind about it and see that it wasn’t something they really wanted/needed after all. Sometimes though the desires don’t go away for months like her dollies or scooter and by the time we found a great deal, she had enough saved up to buy them.

The past few years we also did Operations Christmas Child boxes. The kids would take the ten percent out of the money they had earned that year and we would go to the store and buy little things to put in the boxes. Most of the time of course, they didn’t have enough to fill up a whole box so I would take care of the rest but they participated and gave out of their earnings. We would watch videos of children receiving these boxes and how much they meant to them. It would help the kids not feel like they were just spending their money and sending things off to who knows where. It moved them, they made pictures and wrote letters and prayed for each child who would receive their box.

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Anyway this isn’t a money management post haha but it pays off to pay your kids and to teach them such important things at an early age. Even if they make mistakes (my husband and I slightly disagreed with her about the scooter, we thought it wasn’t worth it and that she would loose interest with it quick) but we decided to let her learn a lesson, the hard way if that would be the case. But we were wrong, she still loves it months later! I’m all up for them making mistakes now though as hard as it feels to let them. That way when they leave my home they are way more equipped to think through each decision they make in life.

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Yum yum yum! Homemade ranch dressing is the best!

Yum yum yum! Homemade ranch dressing is the best!

This pretty much sums up our homeschool life, besides the few hours of academics that we do each morning. For me it’s about teaching my kids life skills, not just this or that but all around everything they may need to know to live life well. To enjoy it fully and not be limited by anything. To know who they are and who they were created to be. One of the greatest ways to show your child that you love them is by equipping them to do life well and independently. You set them up to succeed, instead of rely on you until they are thrown into the world to figure things out for themselves. On top of teaching and correcting you obviously shower them with affirmation and take time to speak their “love language”, pray above all and enjoy them in all seasons of life.

I want to give the Lord all the glory for all He has taught me through and with my children. I’m no expert with kids and never could have foreseen my life turning out the way it has. I am beyond grateful for everything and truly honored to be on this wonderful journey and to share snippets of what I’m learning. I’m sure there is soo much more to discover and I can’t wait!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Would love your feedback in the comments. You got this mom and dad! Be the parent and teach your children wisely even when they don’t understand. My kids question me often and beg for an easier way out, naturally they compare to others. I just patiently tell them that one day they will see the bigger picture and will hopefully thank me. And if not, then it’s ok, I’m doing what I think is in their best interest. I’m sure it will pay off and honestly it already does! They seem to have a healthy perspective on money, debt, saving, giving and working hard for something that you want.

Teaching them to do things like cleaning, cooking, baking also pays off. When I got pregnant and most of my first trimester, I needed a lot more sleep than usual. No one knew about the baby but the special treatment the kids gave me was incredible. I seriously thought they somehow found out because they always surprised me with cleaning up, doing their school, they were quiet while I slept and made me breakfast in bed just about daily. I mean I was so suspicious that we decided to tell them. We seriously thought they already knew somehow, but when we told them they had no idea! The Lord really surprised me through my children of his love and care for me. He’s lead them to do these things and give me the most amazing first trimester. None of it would have been possible if they hadn’t learned these skills in the previous months and years. Again hard works pays off, patience, diligence and being intentional.

I am truly beyond spoiled by my family! (They usually overfeed me haha)

I am truly beyond spoiled by my family! (They usually overfeed me haha)

My little cuties!

My little cuties!

I’m nearing forty weeks of pregnancy now and they have been my little shoppers. We love our local Aldi store. It’s small and usually has all that we need, so it’s a one stop shopping experience for us every week. The kids know their way around so I give them the list and they take off, while I slowly wobble my way behind them haha. Or I take a bathroom break and they meet me at the front all ready to go. I’ve taught them how to pick things out and how to check items before just grabbing them. To make sure to look at the expiration dates, go through each egg and so on. I trust them, they have learned quickly and do a great job! Everyone always comments that they look like worker bees and ask me often if they are all mine. Soon I might just be able to sit in the car and wait for them. Work yourself out of a job as a parent that’s the goal!

Blessings!
Natty