FAMILY/ Kids/Family

Charts, Chores, Allowances, & Behavior-Part 1 – Purposeful Living

These posts written by Todd (Amy’s husband) are
designed to model a system of purposeful living.  At least once a month, he spends time setting
meaningful goals around one of seventeen core priorities.

If you missed it, consider reading the foundation post – Purposeful Living #1. 


Correct Priority
Priority #5 – Social Health – Immediate Family–Children (Emotional Health)

Goal Setting & Reflection Date
Sunday, March 4

Invest in the emotional health of my children by revising our chart, chore, and allowance system.  Specifically this means:

  • Revising our list of morning, afternoon, and evening routines/chores.
  • Listing routines/chores in the order they should be completed.
  • Developing an easier system of connecting routines/chores to an allowance.  The system must be easy to record and monitor.  
  • Developing effective and easy to implement consequences for misbehavior.

Goal Status
In Progress

This week I spent time reflecting and setting goals to be a better parent.  To do a better job of meeting the emotional needs of my wonderful children.  
Amy & I have three amazing girls ages 12, 11, and 8 and they are number five on my list of correct priorities.  They are beautiful, and precious, and we are extremely proud them.  They bring joy to our lives and make us smile on a daily basis.   

{our girls-2010}

But even the best of kids can struggle if not given proper boundaries.

Two and a half years ago we developed a morning, afternoon, and evening chart system which included a list of chores for our girls to complete during each part of the day.  We also connected an allowance to the successful completion of these chores.  

While the charts have been modestly successful and have made life a bit easier over the past couple of years, the charts also have some serious flaws.  Enforcing them has become harder and harder and over the months Amy & I have stopped expecting them to get done almost completely.  Our girls still do some of the routines on their own, but there are many they will only do if nagged and many more that they don’t do at all.  As Amy likes to say, “We’ve got monkeys on our backs that don’t belong there.” I agree, we are spending too much time telling (nagging) our girls to get their responsibilities (monkeys) done.

This goal of revising our chart, chore, and allowance system is so important to me that I am moving it immediately to my weekly to-do list.  Over the next few weeks I will dedicate significant time to this project.  It is an area where I have missed the mark as parent and it is time to tighten things up.   

Not only will Amy & I benefit, but more important our girls will benefit.  They will benefit by learning the value of hard work and discipline.     

I plan to share the results of this work very soon!

Foundation Post
Purposeful Living #1

Outline Of All Purposeful Living Posts

Additional Posts In This Series

Charts, Chores, & Allowances–Part 2

Charts, Chores, & Allowances–Part 3
Charts, Chores, & Allowances–Part 4
Charts, Chores, & Allowances–Part 5
Charts, Chores, & Allowances–Part 6

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    […] Outline More posts under Correct Priority #5. Social Health – Immediate Family–Children Charts, Chores, Allowances, & Behavior–Part 1Charts, Chores, Allowances, & Behavior- Part 2Charts, Chores, Allowances, & Behavior-Part 3 […]

  • stephanie
    August 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    i would like to see the other parts in this series…are they still available?

  • Marlene
    May 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    My girls are now 19 and 23. We did the chore chart during their younger years. It worked really well for us. (Although I agree it was sometimes a pain for ME to keep up with!) We did pay for chores. I felt like it was a life lesson. Out in the real world you work to earn money. (I realize there is controversy in that thought) We had jars for the money. 3 jars. One for donation. (For us it was their Sunday School offering.) One for saving and one to do with as you please. Donation was 10% and the rest was divided between the 2 other jars. One of my favorite memories was the day my oldest daughter had “saved” enough to purchase the long awaited for Barbie rollerblades. She paid with the change from her savings jar. 🙂

    One side note…both of my girls had the same upbringing but they are wired very differently. One is a saver and one not so much. The saver is thrilled to add to her savings every paycheck. However, lest anyone judge, the non-saver is a college graduate (without debt) with a good job. Saving just is harder for her.

    Keep up the good work. Do what works for your family. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks!

  • Diana
    March 22, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I was inspired to make morning, afternoon, and evening routine charts for my 10-year-old son this past week after reading Amy’s blog. I’d been thinking of doing something like that for awhile because nagging him was wearing us both out. Although he’s obedient, he’s easily distracted and doesn’t have a good sense of time yet. The charts keep him focused without me nagging him. I decided that since he is now 10, learning to manage spending money of his own is a good idea. Since he is too young to get a regular job, the only way that will happen is with an allowance. I explained that I will give him $4 every Sunday night. Of that, $1 goes into a charity envelope, $1 into a savings envelope, and $2 into a spending envelope. For every “hole” on his chart where he doesn’t complete one of his responsibilities, he loses 25 cents from his spending money. Besides the usual tasks of getting himself dressed, brushing his teeth, etc., his responsibilities include homework and a few mandatory chores such as cleaning his room. I have another chart listing extra chores that he may do to earn additional money. I told him that as he grows older, some of the extra chores will become mandatory chores, and new extra chores will be added.

    I also have a 19-year-old son who received an allowance like that when he was younger. I didn’t go as far as to create charts for him or to connect the allowance to his responsibilities because he didn’t need those incentives to stay focused and comply. We also did not pay him for good grades. We did pay him for extra chores. We stopped paying him an allowance when he was a teenager because he earned enough spending money on his own. He is a good money manager, works hard in school and at his part-time job, and still gives to charity. His savings envelope became a savings account at a bank, and he now uses that to pay for his books for college.

  • Amy Bowman
    March 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    {comments are from Todd}

    Thanks for the comments! I respect Dave Ramsey and your positions. And when the discussion stays in the realm of philosophy and theory I tend to agree. I taught 8th grade Language Arts for 12 years in some tough schools and never gave incentives for behaving properly or completing homework. And until our oldest turned ten none of our girls had every received an allowance for anything. We couldn’t afford it. So for a long period of time all of them were expected to work around the home without any expectation of reward. But in the real world of being a parent, I’m a big fan of an allowance being attached to daily routines and to additional work that the children choose. Part 3 in this series will be dedicated to this topic. In terms of our girls, I know I’m biased, but I just think they are great. They are good students, work hard, pretty sure they aren’t pampered, and have generous and kind hearts. Thanks again for your comments and please consider commenting on the remaining parts of this series – even if you disagree with me!

  • Anonymous
    March 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I think the value of hard work is the reward that comes with it. Our children are expected to do basic things around the house and we pay for the “extra” things that we ask for them to do. Although we don’t pay allowance, I see no problem with it. Now that my oldest is 21, I see things much differently than I did when all of my children were younger. The younger ones are definitely reaping the benefits of our “mistakes”. 🙂

  • Anonymous
    March 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I will never understand why parents pay kids to help with chores or get good grades. Too many kids are being pampered and not being taught the value of hard work.

  • Nate B.
    March 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Similar to what Anita said. We pay our kids Commission, not allowance, and they only get that for things that we designate and sometimes these things change. Some things are required without payment. We also have fines for poor behavior and we will also charge the kids for doing their jobs they were supposed to do. Tie the commissions into a savings goal and fines become a big deal because then they lose money toward their goal. It really has worked well as long as a goal is in place, without it they lose interest in their jobs. The cool thing is they start looking for jobs to do when they get close to their goal. We got this from Dave Ramsey but you get the idea. Has worked really well so far.

  • Anita
    March 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Here’s a thought. No allowance. Kids don’t get paid for being an important part of the combined unit of a family. Every role in the family is important and has responsibility to the social, emotional, and spiritual welfare of each family. They help the family unit work at it’s best if they complete daily responsibilities. (I don’t get paid for being their Mom and they don’t get paid for being my daughter. Being a Mom has responsibilities, and so does being a daughter. You are a family.) They only get paid for extra work that needs completed. Ex: Fall clean-up, Car washes, Spring-cleaning, reorganizing cabinets and closets, of course you get to determine the extra chore for payment… but take away the allowance and the girls will come up with all sorts of ways to earn money – that’s a good thing. Blessings to you.

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