Our New Flexible Children’s Chore System


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If there is one thing I have learned in 19 years as a parent it is that schedules, routines, and systems all change with the seasons.

One such system that changes as the children age is chores. How much to pay for a chore. How many chores each child has. What the child is expected to do with their money and so forth.

I have known for a while now that our current system of a set chore chart for each child and a set allowance wasn’t working anymore.

My children are all older now and no longer home all day at the same time. My oldest just got his first job. My middle child attends a christian private school 2 days a week. My daughter is a social butterfly visiting with her friends when ever she gets the chance.

A flexible Children's chore system adaptable to changing daily life.

All the activities mean that sometimes during the day only one child is home. Other times no children are at home. Problem is chores need to be done whether the kids are home or not and that left my husband and I or another child picking up the slack for the child/children not home when the dishes needed doing or the laundry needed sorting. Which means we were doing chores other people were getting paid to do.

So in a moment of pure parent frustration born out of a child who was whining about sorting laundry because it wasn’t her chore, our chore system got  long over due update. One that I hope will last us through these final years as the children leave the nest (our youngest is now 12).

I made this system up in one afternoon, and based it on the sugar bowl system we use to use when the children were much younger and had been using still for irregular chores. This system is flexible. The chores are assigned on a day by day basis meaning those that are home get paid to do chores and those that are not home that day, miss out on earning money.

Our New Children’s Chore System

monoply money

I am all about simple, so I knew we needed a simple way to keep track of work done as it was done so that I knew how much I owed them at the end of the month.

I knew the simplest thing to do would be to switch to an automatic pay system. As in you do the chore you get paid instantly. However, I like making payment for chores as close to real life as possible. I don’t know about you but I know my husband doesn’t get cash at the end of each work day.

I also prefer paying my children in a lump sum at the end of the month because I find it easier to teach them how to tithe and save for bigger purchases. It is possible to take the .50 cents you just earned from emptying the dish washer and put .05 cents aside for tithe , save .30 cents and put .15 cents in your spending but time consuming. My children do several chores a day and I didn’t want that much change in the house at one time.

Which is where the picture of the Junior Monopoly board game comes into play.  I wanted the problem fixed right now! I wasn’t about to run to the store and buy fake money. Nor did I want to make up a bunch of paper slips like last time, since the kids earn a lot more chore money now then they use to and writing all those slips out would cramp any hand.

making chore moneySo I grabbed the money out of the Junior Monopoly game and photocopied it and then broke out our laminator and  laminated it. I assumed that since this is only for personal use, and I owned the Junior Monopoly game I used that I wouldn’t be breaking any laws to photocopy it and use it in our families chore system.

photo copied quartersThe Junior Monopoly only has $1, $2, $3, $4 and $5 and I wanted to do a half dollar too. I thought about cutting a bunch of the $1 in 1/2 but then thought I could just photocopy quarters instead.

large paper cutter slicing chore money in halfI then cut the laminated sheets of money in half with our large full sized paper cutter.

small paper cutter for chore moneyI then used my smaller creative memories paper cutter to cut out the rest of the money.

our pay slips for our new chore system

I put all the money slips into separate bags and placed them all in a zippered pencil case.

The rule is each child is to report to mom or dad when their chore is done and ready for inspection. If upon inspection a parent sees something that isn’t done right the child must correct it without whining. If you whine, you don’t get paid.

Once the chore is done right the child gets their pay slip which they put in their pay envelopes.

Our chore cards The children pick out a certain number each day and exchange them for payment when done

For the chore cards I didn’t get as fancy as I did with the money slips. I used simple index cards and wrote what the chore was across the top. Then below I wrote any further instructions (such as cleaning toilet means cleaning around base, both sides of seat and the bowl) .  I then wrote in the price.

chore envelopes they hold the chore payment slips until the end of the month when they have pay day.

To keep the pay slips all in one place until the end of the month when my children get their pay day, I wrote each child’s name on an envelope and placed it in an empty container.

What chore system do you currently use at your house?

7 ways to raise a thrifty child (button)Here are 7 ways we are raising our children to be thrifty

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  1. You are so right – our chore system flexes and changes all the time. I love the idea of making payment closer to real life. Pinning so I can think on this some more. Thanks for the great inspiration!

  2. What a great idea. I like how you are giving them play money to trade in for their real pay at the end of the month. That helps bridge the gap and show them what they’re earning. Great lessons.

  3. This is brilliant. How clever to give them play money and have them trade it in at the end of the month. Gives them an instant reward without instant gratification!

    • Very true. With my children being older what I am finding is that it is giving my kids motivation to do more so they can reach their financial goals as they count it as they earn it.

  4. I LOVE this idea! My kids are growing up too and it can get frustrating. I think this helps the younger ones earn more if they are doing more chores. It also gives the older ones a chance to pull out something that they can do quick when they are home and want to earn some money.

    • Yes! Exactly. I have to admit my oldest one isn’t amused by the play money aspect of it but he does love that I am no longer nagging at him to catch up on chores when he is home. Instead I assign him chores that he can squeeze in when he is home. My daughter who is the youngest is loving it because she can make more than her brothers and that works fine since one of her brothers already brings in an income with a part time job and doesn’t really need chore income as much anymore. Of course they all still have basic FREE chores like keeping their room clean.

  5. I’m not exactly sure why you are paying your kids to do chores……that they should be doing as a member of the household anyway. I never got an allowance or “paid” for chores when I was growing up and I don’t normally do that for my own kids. It’s a good idea and I would use this option to trade the play $$ for items they would want me to purchase for them – DVD’s, CD’s, movies, etc.

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