Does your little one like to help around the house? Do you let him sweep, unload the dishwasher, or put away folded laundry? If your answer is yes, do you think these little jobs should be formalized as chores? And if your answer is no, how do you jump start a little helper?
At What Age Can Kids Start to Contribute?
Circle of Moms member Nicki H.'s son began doing chores when he was five, starting with taking out the trash and picking up his baby sister's toys, for which he received $10 per month. She is slowly adding to his list of things to do, and finds that the system works well for her family.
Christy B. began asking her kids to do simple chores, like picking up their toys, around age two, but she didn't institute an allowance until age five. Why? She believes that kids should be trained to care for their environment as a given, and that privileges such as computer or TV time aren't possible until chores are done. By the time kids reach five or so, they can earn money as one of those privileges, and they can spend it at the store on whatever they want. This saves Christy from having to spend extra on items at the store that aren't on her list, and the kids are limited to the amount of money they have.
Some parents disagree with this approach. Tammy B. wants her daughter to pick up after herself and keep her room tidy, but she doesn't think a child this young should be given regular duties — or an allowance. She plans to provide what her daughter needs, including regularly putting money in a savings account for her.
How to Use Allowances and Reward Charts
Natalie G. takes a hybird approach with her three kids, the youngest of whom is four. Each child gets $5 per week for doing age-appropriate tasks, but she reduces this amount when a child misbehaves. So, for her, chores and allowance are inextricably tied to other expectations, such as not fighting with siblings or using bad language.
My son is nearly two-and-a-half, and we don't yet reward him with money for completing simple chores. But I think by the time he's three or four, peer pressure, if nothing else, will bring the issue to the forefront. Olin has a piggy bank, and he likes putting money into the slot, but I don't think he understands the concept of saving or even what money is for. I don't mind rewarding him for helping with household chores, but I think a few basics should be expected without reward. Keeping his room tidy and picking up his toys are jobs I want him to embrace for the satisfaction they inherently provide. For example, if he is looking for his toy airplane, he will find it easily if he'd earlier put it away in the right place. If he instead left it under the kitchen table, finding it will take longer and he'll feel frustrated.
When I was a kid, I loved earning my allowance, as I felt like the exchange also gave me the freedom to use my money as I saw fit. I often chose to spend all my money on one big, nice toy, whereas my younger sister bought many small things, and was even looking for sales by the time she started school. For better or for worse, these habits have persisted to this day!
Whether or not they offer an allowance, many Circle of Moms members recommend magnet charts or dry-erase boards with pictures of chores for helping your pre-reader (and yourself) remember and track his responsibilities. These methods not only help remind a child of their jobs, nut will help you know when a reward is due. As Elizabeth J. points out, both you and your child will feel great when he can see that he has completed his work.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.