A few months ago we gave Abigail $1 and later on, we went out to the fair. Halfway through the afternoon a little voice piped up 'I would like to use my money to buy this'. While we'd forgotten that we'd even put it in her pocket, she had been carefully weighing up the options of where she would spend her dollar and carefully handed it to the ladies behind the stall.
It was such big thing for her that day and yet she'd been so conscientious about it. We realised Abigail was growing up fast and was probably ready to start receiving pocket money. Then came the big discussion between me and Mark as to what we would expect from her in order to earn it. She may only be 3 years old (almost 4) but we certainly weren't going to give it to her just to spend, without her beginning to understand the concept of earning it and learning the value of money. Call me old-fashioned!
I did a bit of research on the internet to see what tasks other people thought were reasonable for little people of a similar age to do, while we were working out something for Abigail. It surprised me how many 'chore' charts included life skills like getting dressed, brushing teeth and read for 15 mins amongst other things. I see the importance of these tasks and yes, use them on a checklist of things that need to be completed each day but I didn't agree that they should be classified as chores. They should be part of every child's development not something they are rewarded for doing.
With that in my mind I laminated a plain piece of paper and using a dry-erase pen started to devise the first Beckwith family chore chart! As she's still little, we've started quite basic with daily tasks of making her bed, tidying her toys and laying the table for dinner. Then there is the possibility of helping with the washing, shopping, emptying the bins, cleaning the kitchen floor (a favourite pastime of hers ... see Home Help), and filling up the spare loo roll holder, all whenever these jobs need doing during the week.
While we don't expect Abigail to do everything on her chart, she's beginning to understand the value of choosing to do or not to do the jobs listed. We have the chart on the fridge and each time she does something, she gets a mini-magnet in the appropriate box or bubble. If the chart is looking a bit sparse on a Saturday morning (payday) she doesn't get all her money and she's slowly getting the hang of it all, as are we!
Now from time to time, while we're out shopping Abigail will see something she wants and asks us if she can buy it with her pocket money ... and actually thinks to ask us if she has enough money to buy it yet. She has really impressed us with her approach towards her money. From week one of earning it, she saw a hoop in Walmart that she wanted. We went to see how much it cost and then then worked out how many weeks it would take her to earn enough. She was very keen to save the first few weeks money to get it and was really focused towards that goal rather than just spend spend spend the minute Saturday morning came around. In the couple of months that have followed, there has been no change in that mindset ... for which I am both proud and grateful to see!
The chart itself is still a work in progress as we tweak it a little bit here and there, which is why I'm using the dry erase version to start with! Maybe in a few months time I might share the finished thing. I'm aware that this is just our interpretation of what is and isn't good to include as chores, so it may not suit everyone but so far it's worked well in our house!