Friday, February 7, 2014


David and I don't believe in an allowance or chores really. If something needs to be done around the house, we ask our kids to help, and we expect them to pitch in. When I needed windows cleaned, they helped. Garbage cans scrubbed out? I know I can count on them.

I can see both sides to an allowance. I understand that it teaches a kid about money and saving for things they want. But honestly, my kids have everything they need and their wants are very few. I think it teaches kids irresponsibility most of the time. They do a few chores, get some money, save it up and blow it on something they don't really need. Is that how life works? Heck no! In the real world, you bust your ass, get paid, pay your bills and are lucky if you have enough money to buy more ramen noodles, let alone a treat for yourself.

Side story: I was helping in Ben's class today. I got there and everybody was out at recess, even the teacher and aide as they had recess duty. I went to Ben's desk to look at what he was working on. He was writing a paper on the Student of the Week. They all have to write a page paper about what the student said they liked, etc. Ben's first sentence was: What is top ramen? I about died. The kid said his favorite food was Top Ramen and Ben has no idea what that is. He probably feels like he's missing out. Yeah, not so much.

I digress...we've tried a chore chart a few times and the kids are all excited at first. Then, after a few days, they get less excited until it's just...well, a chore. Then, they start doing everything half assed. In the real world, they'd get fired and they'd be back to ramen noddles from mac & cheese. Here at home, I just tell them to get out of my way and go play. I'll take care of it.

But, I'm afraid my kids have become lazy. Don't get me wrong, they'll play all day and never say they are bored, but am I doing what I can to make them self sufficient one day? No. My guy cousin whose in his early twenties wrote on Facebook the other day how sad it is that girls his age can't even cook, like anything. I don't want that to be my daughter or my sons for that matter.

All three kids got in trouble the other night. Noah has gotten into the habit of coming out of his room every night and waking us up. We put him back in his room, but we stay up for hours and can't fall back asleep. Ben and Emily used to sleep together every night.  They are afraid of Bloody Mary (thanks, Pam!).  We never minded.  I like that my kids get along.  I like that they can lay in bed and make up stories and talk until I yell at them to go to sleep.  As adults, they will look back on their childhood and remember that time with each other.  But one school night a few weeks ago, David found them lights on, laughing, practically having a party at 1 AM. Now, they only get to sleep together on the weekends. But, the other night, Emily went in Ben's room, got him to come into her room to sleep and then Ben was trying to sneak back into his room at 5:30 before we woke up. Too bad David was already awake and heard the door opening.

The point being, yesterday was no coffee in the morning for Noah and no technology for Emily and Ben all day. They came home from school and Ben said, "I was thinking today that I want to do chores". I asked him why and he said, "it's the least I can do for having the privilege to live in this home." Gosh, he sounds like his Dad sometimes. Emily was all excited too. She said sometimes she doesn't have anything to do and would like chores. Noah is on board with anything. So, we made chore charts.

I reminded them, they wont get paid to do this stuff.  They do it because we love each other and you need to contribute to our home.  They are on board for now.  First lesson: how to cook ramen noodles.


Anonymous said...

I love Ben's rational, but wondering where the idea for doing chores originated in his thought process. Was it the withdrawal of technology for the day? He always has such an active imagination that I suspect he could think of dozens of other ways to occupy his time. He must be growing up way too fast. But.... Hey doing chores is not a bad idea and in a house the size of yours there is always something to help out with. Making their own beds and keeping their rooms cleaned up is always a good start, but as you mentioned they are always eagar to jump in and help out. I don't think kids need to be rewarded financially for every task they perform and they still have many years ahead to learn how to handle their finances. I believe both you and their Dad are good role models in so many ways and believe me they will learn how to manage their money. :) and probably how to cook ramen noodles as well.

Linda said...

What a great family you have, I love this.

Sarah has never had chores or an allowance really either. Kind of, I've been like you with start and stop on that. She's very spoiled though really - kind of like exactly how my sisters and I were raised. We never even cooked - Mom did everything for us. So imagine, my Mom's surprise when I finally married at age 30 and could not only cook, but do everything pretty well. Well, maybe except for house cleaning, which I've never been that meticulous on.

Anyway, I love reading about your fun household. :)
Love, Linda