Almost a year ago, Rylin stunned me when she started making her bed. I always try to foster independence with the kids, but sometimes I really underestimate them, and this was a perfect example. After I praised her profusely and bragged about her newfound skill, Rylin became diligent about this new self-assigned chore. Every. Single. Day. On occasion, the other kids would follow suit and try their hand at bed making. With this, I learned the kids could really be helpful with chores, I started asking them to do other things.
All four kids now proudly help me sort, fold, and put away their laundry. This has been life changing, ya’ll! Laundry for a family of six can easily consume lots of time, but with my laundry secret and the kids’ help it’s pretty simple now. Rylin asked if she could vacuum the kitchen after dinner then took it upon herself to banish crumbs, dust, and dander throughout the house. Forget the Roomba, I have quadruplets! Okay, maybe I might still covet a Roomba, but having the kids help is really a life saver.
I eventually decided it was time for the kids to earn an allowance for successful chore completion, particularly for those which are self-initiated or go above and beyond basic room maintenance. For Christmas, each of the kids received a Coin-Counting Money Jar. I chose these particular jars because they track the money, coins are visible, and they are easy to open. We personalized them and put them on a shelf they can access in the playroom. They’ve been very respectful of each other’s jars and only access them to add coins or check to see what they’ve earned. They also do really well about telling their friends the coin jars are not toys or to be touched.
“Though small was your allowance
You saved a little store
And those who save a little
Shall get a plenty more.”
– William Makepeace Thackeray
Over time, they really enjoyed watching the coins accumulate. When they finally had enough cash to make small purchases, we took a trip to Walmart. Each child was given a budget based upon their savings, and was encouraged to buy something they truly loved, while leaving a little money for later. They did surprisingly well with this task and made sensible purchases given the parameters. Because they purchased these particular toys with their own money, they treat them with a little more respect than other toys they own. When we later read Betty Bunny Wants Everything, they understood the importance of making decisions when shopping.
All four kids are eagerly completing chores in an effort to earn and save money for the next shopping excursion.
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