Over the years we've gone back and forth, forth and back about allowance and chores. Should we offer payment for jobs done? Should we give allowances so the kids can learn to manage their spending? We always came back to the idea that our children are members of our family, and so certain chores are expected simply because they're part of the team. We also want them to leave our home with all kinds of skills- no paying some girl at college to do their laundry ;)
Recently, however, the kids' piano teacher instituted a point system by which her students could earn points for practicing, attending recitals and concerts, and even for good behavior during a lesson. At a designated time, she would open her "store" and allow them to spend their points on fun things- pencils, stickers, etc.
This got me thinking. My kids could use a little motivation. I think we've been very successful at communicating their responsibility in our home, so perhaps having something fun to strive for would just be a nice little motivator as the weeks roll by.
I started by taking their daily responsibilities and attaching a point value to each chore:
Each Chore = 1 Point
All morning stuff and chores completed each week = 2 bonus points
A Good Attitude, calculated weekly
Quietly working on a reorganization project (game cabinets, puzzle cabinet, schoolroom, garage cabinets, costumes, armoire) without being asked.
Surprise inspections- everything from closets to school shelves to bathroom drawers.
The chore point tally sheet. Very primitive. Needs revamping.
There were also some bad habits established that have bugged me for years, so I thought I could seize the opportunity to use our Chore Store point system to fix the problem. Some people around here think I won't notice when they drop things on top of the dryer on their way to the school room instead of putting said things away in the school room where they belong. Ahem. Others have told me their chores are completed when, indeed, they are not. Can you believe it?
The following result in a loss of points:
Not putting things away where they belong (Legos in the piano drawers, stuff dumped on the dryer instead of put away in the schoolroom, etc.) -2 Points
Lying about chores being done results in a complete loss of all points!
So far, Chore Store is going really well. I keep a tally sheet and we check off accomplishments every day or two at breakfast, and the kids are eager to hear their totals. I haven't set a time for the opening of Chore Store, but I did tell them that nothing in the store will be under 100 points. I won't open it until everyone can purchase something.
Even my oldest guys who have fewer chores than everyone else are interested in earning more points for themselves. I lured them into participation with the promise of movie tickets and gift cards. When the stack of preschool DVDs needed to be reorganized, and lost discs found, guess who volunteered?
The big guys are so great with the little guys. I toss out bonus points for the kindnesses like these.
I still ask, grab, call out to, and assign children tasks all day long without the promise of points. I'm watching to see if attitudes turn greedy, but so far nothing has really changed except for a sudden eagerness to do chores every day. Works for me!