July 15, 2008

Preschoolers and chores

We're going to start giving Ella an allowance, but I am calling it a "commission", per Dave Ramsey's Tips for Teaching Your Kids About Money. I want her to grow up knowing that chores are a part of her contribution to the family, not something she's getting paid to do. So, I told her that if she finishes her chores each day (with some help from me) and does a little extra here and there to help me out, she will get her commission at the end of the week. We're starting with $1 per week. I have been looking for a neat way to help Ella keep up with her chores by herself. I was just delighted when I found these To Do List Jars posted by Megan on her blog called and everything nice. Since Ella can't read yet, I thought that she would need a picture prompts on each stick to help her figure out which chores she needs to complete. First I scoured the clip art sites for some cute graphics that showed jobs around the house. But, then I had a stroke of genius (I'm sure that's debatable!). Why not take a picture of Ella performing each chore, then attach each picture to a craft stick? So, we went around the house, taking cheesy pictures depicting her chores. Always the ham, Ella loved every minute! I cropped each pic into a 3"x3" square, arranged them into a Word document for easy printing, put some card stock in the printer, then hit the print button. I used some clear laminate to cover each chore card, then taped it to a stick. On the other end, I let Ella add a smiley face sticker. I used permanent marker to write the name of the chore on the picture.When she completes a chores, she turns the stick upside down to show the smiley face! We put them in a little basket that will stay on her night stand. The chores I came up with are:

1. Make the bed
2. Get dressed
3. Brush teeth (we made 2 of these and Ella put a sticker of a sun on the one for morning and a sticker with dark clouds for night)
4. Put up (dirty) laundry (in her hamper)
5. Help mommy (we showed her washing the dishes in the pic)
6. Water the plants
7. Pick up toys

To see the pictures I took for each chore (minus the one of her getting dressed!), check them out on my Flickr page. If you make a version of these, I'd love to see them. Also, what are your thoughts on giving kids an allowance? If you already give and allowance, how much is it per week? We plan to teach Ella to put aside 70% for spending, 10% for her tithe, 10% for charity, and 10% for savings. If you have any creative ideas to help us with that, let me know!


Penny said...

really neat idea!

I'm not so sold on the allowance idea yet though. Partly because we don't have much spare cash and partly because virtue is it's own reward (snigger). But I like your method :)

Susana Mendoza Kepner said...

I like the to-do cards... very cute idea

Angela Miller said...

That is a great idea, Jenny! I should make some for Keegan. My MIL gave me the book Accountable Kids. I am trying to read it, in my spare time :) We will also be teaching Keegan to tithe, save and give to charity. I think those are very important things to instill into our children at a very young age, so that they become a normal part of life.

greedygrace said...

I saw the original idea at and everything nice, but I really like your version, too! Can I ask, how old is your daughter? My daughter is 2 1/2, but I'm not sure that she's old enough for chores or alwance yet. What's your thought on this?

Jenny said...

Hi! I hope you see my reply here. First of all, thanks for your comment. Second, my daughter is almost 5. We had not done anything formal with chores up to this point. She has been taught to help around the house, but again, this was mainly to teach her responsibility. Now I am interested in teaching her some principles about money, which is why I'm doing something more structured in keeping track of her chores. In your daughter's case, you could certainly begin showing her how to pick up her toys, fold laundry, and other little things with your help, but I don't think I'd start the allowance right now. I believe she needs to be at a point where she knows general concepts of money so that she can really understand things like saving and spending. This is just my two cents, though, and I'm definitely not an expert! :) You'll know when the time comes, but for now, I'd keep it simple and work on laying the foundation for those things that will be introduced later on. Hope that helps!