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Money Motivates Kids to do Chores!

Submitted by Sherri

I have two teenage daughters and can drive myself nuts on a daily basis trying to get them to remember to do things without the fuss and repeated "Clean your room" or "I told you to pick this up!". My remedy? 

Set up a weekly schedule of what you expect your child/teen to do each day from morning to night like brush teeth before bed, make bed before school, etc. Next to each item put a money amount. For example, I made it to where if all things were done each day, they would earn $5 for the week (at the time I started this they were both in elementary school so $5 was a big deal on a weekly basis). Depending on the importance of the chore was how I figured the amount for that chore. For instance, brushing their teeth before school was something that I wanted them to do, but I didn't rate it as high as making their bed before school (because bad breath would affect their relationships with FRIENDS during the school day, not ME...lol), so I may give 10 cents for the teeth and 20 for the bed getting made. It doesn't sound like much, but add it up every day for a week, and it can either make a child very happy or make a child very UNhappy...no money, no happy...lol...

Anyway, keep track by marking off each day (I made rows and columns) whether something was done or not. Don't beg or plead, just simply mark that it wasn't done. If something wasn't picked up, or trash didn't get taken to the curb, I would do it (if I felt the desire...lol) and then "charge them" by subtracting a set amout from the final weekly amount they had earned--usually I subtracted DOUBLE what they would have otherwise EARNED had they done it themselves when they were supposed to. 

Or, depending on what it was, I would give them the opportunity to do what wasn't done the previous day for HALF the amount they would have made provided they do it before a set time the following day. For example, if the dusting, a 40-cent chore, didn't get done yesterday, they have until 4pm today (they get home from school at 3pm) to do it to earn HALF--20 cents. Hey, SOME money is better than NO money, huh? 

At the end of the week, tally up the amounts and give them what they've actually EARNED. I've paid as little as less than a dollar some weeks, but it MOTIVATES them to do better next week. 

Also, I gave them a daily housecleaning chore (dusting, vacuuming, washing dishes, etc.) to do (a different chore each day). If it wasn't done, I made them do that chore each day for a week on top of the other daily chores they had to do. THIS was an EXCELLENT motivator!

Hope this eases your stress, as it did mine! I really had to make myself "stop nagging" and just let the chips fall where they may (money-wise). My husband doesn't agree with this, as he's that hard-core kind of parent who doesn't believe children should be given a choice, but it's worked for ME to keep the headaches at bay and since I'm the one at home dealing with them until 6pm every day I figure whatever works for ME, is how it'll be done! 

Besides, as long as they have money of their OWN to spend, I can use it for my excuse to say NO when I don't want to sound like the bad guy when they ask me to buy them something that I either don't have the money for or don't think I should spend MY money on (like their makeup, magazines, CDs). I just say "that's what your earned money is for". Another motivator to get done what they are supposed to do so they have money to buy these things!

Oh, I also give them EXTRA money for things they OFFER to do. It's usually anything from 50cents to a dollar depending on what they are offering to do.

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