Maureen Turner: We Are Family


On Kids and Chores

Allowances, Bonus Chores and Penalties. This Is How We Do It

Tom and I both work, and we have 4 children who we taxi to school in the morning (it’s not a local school) and to sports in the evening. It doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for house work.

Full disclosure: There are 2 hours in the evening that could be used for house work, but we are usually so tired that we end up on the couch in front of the TV or computer.

This is where having 4 kids comes in handy! We have doled out some of our housework as chores. Of course, only 3 of our 4 kids are old enough to do proper chores, but Siobhan does help tidy toys… so long as you sing the “Clean up, clean up” song.

This isn’t just your average chore list though, we have bonus chores and penalties!

Here is the run down:

Eleanor (12) is responsible for unloading the dishwasher, usually a daily chore, and she is paid $6 a week.

Ethan (9) is responsible for garbage. Once a week he has to collect the garbage from all the bedrooms and bathrooms, he has to take out recycling whenever needed, and he has to take the bins to the curb on garbage day. He gets $4 a week.

6-year old Rebecca’s chore, up until very recently, was to feed the dog. Since our dog moved out, we had to change her chore. Now, she is responsible for our front hall. She has to keep the shoes and boots tidy and make sure hats/mitts/scarves are in the bin. She gets $3 a week.

Now, each child has the opportunity to make more money should they choose because we have bonus chores.

If someone takes the initiative to clean the kids bathroom, they will get paid. If they only clean the counter top, they get 50 cents. If they clean the whole bathroom, that’s worth $1.50.

Vacuuming is worth 50 cents per floor. So, they have the potential to make another $1.50 if they vacuum the whole house.

Dusting will get them another 50 cents and wiping down all the kitchen cabinets another $1.50.

They are welcome to negotiate other opportunities also. Tom and I are open to paying them for any house work they do, they just have to negotiate their deal. I have, in the past, paid them 50 cents for sorting socks, Eleanor often asks “How much will you give me to…” and sometimes the answer is nothing… if it’s something like cleaning her own room.

Their earning potential is unlimited!

They also have the potential to lose a lot of money because our chore list includes penalties.

If you leave your light on, you owe me 25 cents. Left clothes lying around? That’ll cost you another 25 cents. Forgetting your dishes on the table will cost you too! Again, 25 cents.

We are saving up the money they are penalized for a nice dinner out for the whole family.

Looking for a way to get your kids to do chores without the expense? Check out HighScore House