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Chores and allowance for keeping the house clean AND building character

 

One of the questions I hear most often from other families—blog readers and friends alike—is how we handle chores and allowance as a family. There are so many different approaches out there…

  • unpaid chores as a contributing member of the family
  • a regular allowance tied to age rather than chores
  • paid daily chores
  • paid optional jobs

As a family, we do a combination of all of these chores and allowance.

For us, chores and allowance offer more than just a way to keep the house clean; they’re also an opportunity to teach many different life values and skills—hard work and diligence, teamwork and entrepreneurship, money management, and more.

At a high level, that means that our approach looks like this:

1. Everyone pitches in with daily chores because we’re all members of the same family, and we work together to keep the house clean and everybody fed.

2. Everyone has the opportunity to pick up regularly paid chores that they do on a daily basis as well. My rule is that you get a say in whether you take the regular job, but once you commit, it’s yours for a time. And if you complain, it becomes an unpaid chore.

3. We offer lots of job opportunities so that our girls can earn additional money based on their willingness to work.

4. For now, we don’t offer a regular allowance outside of those tied to their chores. In the future, I can see giving them a monthly allowance that they’ll need to budget for clothes, going out with friends, and other various odds and ends to help them practice money management, but for now, we pay for those things just because they’re part of the family.

5. We require them to tithe and save out of the money they earn.

On a day-to-day basis, that approach looks like this:

1. Daily chores that we all share and rotate include straightening the house, loading the dishwasher, wiping the kitchen table, taking care of the animals, putting away groceries, straightening the front closet, helping with the babies, etc.

2. Paid jobs include laundry, wiping the kitchen cabinets (how do they get so dirty?), cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, etc.

3. Additional job opportunities include babysitting for a set period, helping me with computer projects, pulling weeds, and washing pots and pans after we let them get out of control (which only takes a day of cooking in this house!).

4. We have a weekly budget for groceries, eating out, and other extras, including ice cream and movie dates, supplies for projects they want to work on, etc., so the spending portion of their earnings is almost exclusively for fun stuff they want to spend it on.

5. We talk about “living on 50% of their income” and setting aside the other half for tithes (10%) and savings (40%). I have a Capital One 360 savings account for each of them, and I’ll write them a check for their savings and let them help me deposit it via the mobile app so they can see the balance growing each time.

Printable time card for kids

A couple of years ago, I created this printable time card for them to use to track their earnings, and it’s one we still use. However, we’ve had issues with it getting lost or taken off the bulletin board, so we now keep it on a clipboard in the kitchen. If you lose it, you don’t get paid, so I highly recommend that they leave it attached to the clipboard at all times. (It’s also their responsibility to write down their jobs if they want to get paid.)

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Although our chores and allowance routines have been in place for a couple of years now, our top focus over the past year has been making sure that our girls are really helping with the chores it takes to keep our house clean because the workload is just too much for Sean and me without their help. While I have been very happy with the changes we’ve made so far, there are a couple of areas where we’ve still been struggling:

  • getting the bathrooms really clean,
  • knowing which jobs to assign
  • and when to keep the house decently clean on a regular basis
As I was selecting products for this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, I was selfishly looking at them through this lens. I wanted to find ebooks, e-course, and printables that would help reduce the stress of running my home, with the assumption that these things would help you as well.

Because I had early access to the bundle, I’ve been using several of the products for the past month or so to do just that, and I really love the difference these are actually making in our home:

Teaching Your Kids to Clean

Teaching Your Kids to Clean by Dana White

This whole ebook is wonderful, but tucked in the middle is the real gem—a photograph of a toilet with arrows and numbers to show kids exactly how to clean the toilet, making sure they clean the least germy areas first, prompting them to use new rags or wipes after especially germy areas, and reminding them to clean the oft-forgotten areas. Dana from A Slob Comes Clean included this for nonreaders, but I’ve printed it out specifically for my big girls because I was so tired of having to go behind them each time they cleaned the bathroom!

Motivated Moms Chore Planner

The Motivated Moms Chore Planner

The Motivated Moms system takes all the tasks needed to run your home and divides them into daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly tasks, which are scheduled right on the planner for you. I’ve never used a chore planner like this before, but I love that I can just assign those tasks to our girls (adding them to their daily checklist) and feel confident that we’re keeping our home clean overall.

Cleaning Around the Seasons

Cleaning Around the Seasons by Becky Rapinchuk

Becky, aka Clean Mama, truly is the queen of clean, and she wrote this ebook to help readers spring clean no matter how much time they had to devote to it—a day, a week, or a whole month. Although we haven’t had a chance to dive into it yet, it includes printable checklists and more to take the stress out of spring cleaning, and that will make it easy to divide these tasks among our family as well!

Cozy Minimalist Mom

The Nester’s Cozy Minimalist Mom eCourse

Myquillyn Smith, aka The Nester, has been encouraging women for years that “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” In this course, she’s partnered with a friend to help moms address the clutter that comes with children and family to create cozy, beautiful homes around Legos, Barbies, and craft supplies. I am very much looking forward to this course to see if we can finally get on top of the persistent clutter that seems to take over the house every day despite our best efforts!

Grove Collaborative FREE Products

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You’ll find resources that have been handpicked (by me!) on the things that truly matter to you:

  • organization, routines & creating a cozy home
  • recipes, grocery shopping, and meal planning
  • budgeting and saving money
  • motherhood (no matter what age your kids are)
  • cultivating a strong marriage
  • faith (for you & your kids)
  • and even self-care (like exercise, weight loss, life planning, and coloring books!)
  • and much more…