My husband and I have never paid our children a set allowance. We prefer to pay them for what they do. We also change our systems frequently, to mix things up and keep our children motivated. One of the all-time favorite allowance systems we have had is…the Money Grab.
It started when Mike and I heard about a family whose children reached into a jar full of coins for their weekly allowance. The idea piqued our interest but didn’t seem the right fit for our family. We had been looking for something to: First, motivate our children to want to complete their daily tasks; second, we wanted them to work a little more quickly and willingly. We tweaked a few systems together to come up with one that worked.
Each week, our children have a spreadsheet to mark off required tasks. At the end of each week, we look at their efforts and their results and with some fancy calculations (age, effort, results, etc.) each child receives a number of seconds. Let me explain.
Based off the container of coins idea, and with a little tweaking, our coins got scattered across the family room floor. The first time we did this, my (sometimes cheap) husband looked down on the floor and saw too many quarters scattered, so at the last minute he threw in a negotiation. Each child could “buy” a couple more seconds if, while they grabbed for coins, they were blindfolded.
It was a common sight in our home on a Sunday afternoon to find my husband holding spreadsheets, me holding a stop watch, and a child scrambling blind-folded around our family room floor. It turned out to be a fairly minimal “allowance” they earned the first week, but their confidence in grabbing more money each week helped them stay on task with their chores.
It helped too that we had a “bonus coin” thrown in the mix. If grabbed, it provided either extra seconds or “double your money”.
Before you run to the bank requesting rolls of coins, remember it is more about finding a way for children to want to work hard and obey rather than having a specific system. Be creative! Have fun! Think about your personalities, the end goal, and, ultimately, find what works for you.
Question: What fun things do your chore or allowance systems include?
Challenge: Try changing a few things around to incorporate more fun into the responsibilities you give to your children. For a lot of additional ideas and step-by-step help setting up work and money practices in your home, check out our Teaching Kids about Work and Money program.
Picture collage courtesy of Tiffany Sowby