Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wadda Ya Wanna Know?

  • Renee said...Ooh - I love when you can ask questions. Here's mine: What are your chore and allowance systems? And do you link the two?  October 16, 2011 9:46 AM 

With a family this size, we simply do not have it in our budget to have the kids on our payroll. Nope, we just can't do it. So there are NO allowances! But to be truthful, even if it were in our budget, I still don't think we'd have an allowance system. As awful as that sounds, I'm just going to put it out there and tell you that Rich and I don't think our kids should be paid to keep their house in good order. They live here. They eat, sleep, make trash, dirty the bathroom, spit in the sinks, walk on the carpet, play in the yard... I could go on and on, but you get the idea. It's their house as much as ours, so they should help clean it, too,  without expecting to be paid.  

That being said, we DO pay them for "extras" -- like for instance, if someone wants to earn money I will set them to work organizing the pantry. Whoa, that can be a job! Or they can organize the pots & pans and the tupperware. Or they can clean out, spray and wipe down the shelves and drawers in the refrigerator. Those are jobs that don't get done every day, and can be quite tedious. Or they can clean up someone else's room (Aria! She always has such a mess in her little room!) or clean our master bathroom, and make our bed.  Sure, I'll pay them to clean our bedroom!  Our room is always the last to look good because I tend to clean the rest of the house first!     A lot of the time  I will pay an older sibling to entertain the two youngest ones so that I can get some things done in the house, or even so that I can have some time to myself.  We pay Audriana and Afton to babysit for us. Many times they do this for free, like if I have to run an errand or something.  But if Rich and I want to go somewhere without kids for a few hours, then we will pay the older girls for their time. Tony will babysit, too, every now and then.  But because he's an almost-twenty-one adult living in the home for free, he doesn't feel it's right to take money for it.  He's happy to contribute in any way that he can.  Smart boy!

As far as chores go, everyone is assigned something to do each day. But it's not written in stone. There are days when, for example, whoever is supposed to take out all the household trash (Alex) is not home for whatever reason. Then what? Well, the trash still needs to be taken out, so I just tell another kid to do his chore for him. I get groans and the typical, "Why do I have to do it?" and my answer is usually, "Because you are here and he is not. Please just do it." And while that sounds terribly unfair of me,  just know this: they keep track! The next day, the kid who did Alex's chore will say, "Hey Alex.  Since I did your chore yesterday, you should do mine today."  and Alex will. That's just the unwritten rule around here.


As far as who does what chores....
  • I do the laundry, but all kids help to put it away.   
  • If Tony (20) is home with us during a meal time, then he will clean up the kitchen in detail while the other kids help clear the table. He also is in charge of washing the kitchen floor each night.  
  • Audriana (18) takes out the recycle each day, walks & feeds the dog.  
  • Afton (16) is in charge of emptying the dishwasher. 
  • Alex (12) picks up after the dog, empties the various trashcans throughout the house.  
  • Avery (10) cleans the upstairs bathroom. 
  • A.J. (8)  is in charge of the garage - organizing it, sweeping the floor daily.  
  • Aislynn  (6) is in charge of putting away all the shoes that gather in the front entryway.  
  • Andrew and Aria do not have assigned chores.  I'm still working on those two. They aren't the best helpers right now.  Being the two youngest, they are used to having their older siblings do the work.  I'm working on changing that mentality of theirs!  
  • The vacuuming is something that we all do from time to time.  One day it will be me, another day it's Rich, then another day it's some random kid who happens to walk by when it needs to be done.  The kids call that being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  
  • Let's see, what else....oh yes.  Tony mows our lawns, and both he and Rich wash our cars. When Tony washes the cars, he will usually ask either A.J. or Alex to come out and help him.  
As I look at this breakdown of the chores, I can see I need to make some changes. For one thing, the kids don't really have all that much to do.  Sometimes I wish we lived on a farm so they would really learn the value of hard work! And another thing -- Afton is getting off easy! She's sixteen and all she has is the dishwasher? Man, how have I let her slip by like that?  And I just have to find something for Andrew to do everyday.  He's five.  It's time!


One thing about having a large family:  We might make a huge mess in fifteen minutes, but we can clean up a mess in less than five minutes when we all "take a room" - it's very true that "many hands make light work!"





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4 comments:

  1. This is great info. I loved reading about your system. I have struggled with the idea of allowance or no. My girls are too young to get an allowance yet, though I do have a chart and reward system for my two year old if she cleans up her toys and helps me feed the dog every night. I feel the same way you do about allowance, but I also want them to have some way to make a little money when they are young so they can learn it's value and learn how to save/budget etc if there is something special they'd like to buy. But your system seems like a great way to do this too!! Thanks for sharing it.

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  2. One thing about large families is it is hard to spoil the children. Not giving your kids chores is tantamount to abuse.. They grow up with a scewed value system, a low work ethic and unrealistic expectations. The biggest challange for today's "average" sized families is avoiding the temptation to spoil the kids and pass on the values that your children are growing up with.

    Well done!!

    Crankhy Old Man

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  3. Great post!! I grew up in a large family and I totally agree with your perspective on this.

    I have a question of my own for you should you care to answer it in one of your fabulous Q & A posts: sibling rivalry/fighting/arguing/bickering/whatever you want to call it--with so many kids in the house and such a wide range of ages, how do you deal with it?

    I love your blog!!

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  4. Thanks for the detailed response! (And tell Afton I say sorry for making you realize she wasn't doing enough :-)

    I have another question for you, if you have a chance. I hope it's not too impertinent, but how do you manage to support such a large family on a single income? Do either of you have help from family (either by means of an inheritance or otherwise)? We are thinking about kid #4, and the cost is (sadly enough) giving us pause. Hope that's not too nosy, and feel free not to answer if it is...

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