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I often speak with moms who are overwhelmed and stressed. They find themselves doing everything to run the house – laundry, meals, errands – while the children and dad are playing video games. Something about this picture is not fair. I firmly believe the family needs to work together.
My boys are now 22 and 26 years old and I am thankful that early in their lives (during preschool years) I was blessed with the tools that helped mold them into the independent young men they are now. One of those tools was Larry Burkett's book "Complete Financial Guide For Young Couples." Several chapters in this book are devoted to teaching kids how to handle their finances and I would strongly recommend this book to anyone, whether you have children or not.
One of the lessons I learned from his book was the responsibility of parents to teach their children to be good employees. They should learn how to work diligently and how to handle their money.
So, at ages 3 and 7, this is what it looked like at our house:
We found jobs for our kids based upon their abilities to perform. The 3-year-old could empty the trash cans in the bathrooms and bedrooms and feed the pets. Our older child had jobs such as unloading the silverware from the dishwasher, setting the table and even separating the laundry. As they grew up, they learned how to do chores that were more difficult such as swapping the clothes from the washer to the dryer. The boys were only given 2-3 regular responsibilities. We had a chore chart on the refrigerator and for every job they completed they put an “x” on the chart. Each “x” represented 5 cents. We NEVER used this chart or the money they earned as a form of punishment nor did we pay them to pick up their toys or do other tasks that were expected of them.
Occasionally they took the initiative to do their chores without being told and we rewarded them for “seeing the need and meeting the need”. Oftentimes we would tell them to put 2 “x’s” down as a means of reward. I remember several times asking my sons to dust the baseboards paying them 5 “x’s”. It was like a game to them to see who could finish first and the chore became fun. On the other hand, if they ever complained about doing their chore they still had to complete the task, but did not get compensated for it.
These small chores provided help for me and the boys learned how to work diligently. It also gave us an opportunity to praise them. Everyone won in this situation. Little did we know then we were setting our kids up for success in so many areas of their lives. While learning responsibilities, they also learned how to manage their finances which has carried them into their adulthood.
Note: the above article was a guest post from Kim Pittman, who was an original contributor to MomsMorningCoffee, a prior format of BreakthroughHomeschooling.
Are you being intentional in *your* parenting?
Teaching your kids - and especially teens - concepts like responsibility requires intentionality: setting aside the time and finding resources that you can trust and that align with your values. But there are foundational concepts that can make this easier. Check out my 5-video series on Intentional Parenting to discover some insights... They're short-and-sweet, and you can get started TODAY!
How do you teach your kids responsibility? At what age do you start? Any techniques or helpful comments or encouragement you'd be willing to share? We're all ears!