As a parent, we have many things to teach our children. We want for them to grow up to be compassionate, smart, well-balanced and happy. We also want to make sure that they have the tools they need to take care of themselves. It is easy to teach them how to cook, do laundry and run a household, but don’t forget another important life tool — Money Management.
I will be the first one to admit that we’ve tried different systems, which did not always work. Rather than quit, we just changed what we were doing and tried something new. One method (when our kids were younger) was the Ticket Reward System. Now that our kids are getting older and truly grasping the concept of how to use money, we are using something new. This method rewards and penalizes her for behaviors.
Read More: 11 Financial Lessons Kids Must Learn
The money our kids earn is referred to as commission. We don’t call it an allowance. She earns commission for the work she completes, just like adults experience in the real world. It is an easy concept they. We created a chart which works for us based upon our system of rewards. Our chart includes categories for responsibilities, bonuses and fines. Here is how we apply each one.
RESPONSIBILITIES: Our kids range in age from 6 – 10. Each of our kids have different items for which they are responsible every day. The number of items relate directly to their age. Our youngest has 6 chores, while our oldest has 10.
We ensure that their tasks are items they can do on their own. They include such as make your bed, put away your clean laundry, pick up your toys, set/clear the table, keep your shoes in your room, etc. Simple things. Easy things. We then assigned a weekly value to each chore for the week. For instance, if they make their bed every day they will earn $1 for the week. However, if they miss one day, the forfeit the entire value for the week. You can of course assign a daily value if you would like – it is up to you.
BONUSES: Who doesn’t love a bonus? I know that my kids do! We’ve got a section on our form just for this. We are trying to teach our children to take initiative and not be told to do things — nor do things only because they have to. We want them to see that the toys need to be picked up from the front room or that there are still crayons on the table at dinner time and put them where they belong without mom or dad asking them to do so. These items earn bonus dollars. We assign a value to each bonus completed, which results in additional money for the week!
FINES: Ahhh, yes. The fines. If you are caught speeding, you may get a traffic ticket and get a fine. The same goes for our children. We add the area that they may have a problem with, be it fighting, whining at bedtime or talking back. These events are assigned a fine value. Each time they do something that earns them a fine, they get a checkmark by that item on their chart. This helps them visualize what they are losing by doing things that mom and dad may find less than desirable.
When “pay day” arrives each Sunday evening, we don’t simply add up the total they have earned (adding in bonuses and deducting fines). Oh no! We make them sit down at the table and get involved in the entire transaction. We first review their chart and go through the responsibilities and help them add up the total that they earned for the week. We then pay them that amount by laying it on the table in front of them (we stick to using one dollar bills and quarters).
Once they have earned their base pay, we look at the chart and see how many bonus items they completed. In our house, the bonus is one value that you can earn if you complete a bonus item every day. For instance, if our daughter always picks up something without being told each day, she will earn $3 for the week. However, if she misses a day, she loses the entire bonus. We then hand over more dollar bills to pay her for the additional chores she completed. We then have them count the money in front of us. And then…..come the fines……..
We have our children each look at their charts to see the fines they had for the week. As we come to a fine, we tell them you owe me “X.” They must pull out the payment from the cash/change on the table and place it in my hand. We do this for each and every violation. This is the hardest part of payday for our children. It is very difficult for them to have to give us back the money they just earned. However, this is teaching them a valuable lesson — there are costs associated with doing the wrong things in life. We hope that this is helping instill morals and values that are so important.
Once they have settled up with mom and dad, we help them count what they have left. Then, they place their cash into one of three envelopes: Save, Give, Spend. They are required to put a select percentage into Give and Save and the rest goes into Spend. They can use the Give money to place in the collection basket at church or to give to someone in need (however they usually just take that money to church each week). They can use Spend money on whatever they want (within reason, of course).
When our children want to purchase something, we make them take their own money to the store. I won’t forget the time our oldest purchased a LEGO set with her own money. She had just enough to cover the cost, which left her with around $1 – $2. She was very upset – but she learned a lesson. Just because she has money, she doesn’t have to spend it. So now, we are heading out to the store tomorrow and she has already shopped on-line to learn the prices and know what she wants to buy. She also already said that she is not spending all of her money on toys – which makes me so proud of her.
If you are interested, you can actually download a FREE Responsibility Chart to use yourself. We laminated ours so that we could just use dry erase markers and use it each week. You can do this at your local UPS or Office Supply store.
Everyone can talk to their children about strangers, drugs, and reproduction. However, parents tend to forget about money. It is just as important as everything else. We feel good knowing that our children already know the importance of earning money as well as how to save and give and even how to spend it wisely. It is our hope that by the time they are adults that this is normal to them and they will always continue to be wise when it comes to managing their money.
Learn more about Chore Charts for Kids.