For some time now, BJ has been asking when he can start earning allowance. S and I decided that our family would start allowance when a child entered kindergarten -- so today was BJ's first payday. A whole dollar! He wanted it in coins, and when he received it, he declared, "I'm RICH!"
I'm fairly pleased with how the allowance procedure has gone so far. We'd decided that we did not want to pay per chore. We wanted a family understanding that kids were expected to be helpful contributors to the household without being pestered about individual responsibilities. I found a useful "Responsibility Chart" by Melissa & Doug, and BJ has been using it with great success.
He gets to choose up to seven responsibilities to work on each week. For his first week, he chose:
1. Don't Interrupt
2. ONLY Food or Drink In Your Mouth (agreed upon after the doctor's visit last weekend; happily, there have been no complications from the swallowed piece of plastic)
3. Keep Hands To Yourself
4. Clear Table
5. Get Dressed
7. Make Bed
At the end of the day, we asked him to review the daily responsibilities and decide how well he did with each one. If there were obvious lapses, we reminded him of them. (As in the case of Sunday, when he swallowed a bit of string first thing in the morning upon our return from the doctor's visit for swallowing the bit of plastic. Sigh.) But mostly, he reflected upon the day and decided for himself.
Here's how he did:
Not bad, eh?
All told, it's a good system so far. I like that I don't have to be in charge of monitoring it. I like that he gets to decide what he wants to work on. I like that we can fill in the blank with two of the responsibilities -- a useful tool for less-than-typical situations like a 5 year old who still has a strong oral fixation. He enjoys putting up the magnets at the end of the day, and he seemed very satisfied in looking back on the week and having a clear visual for what he had accomplished. It's a smart little chart that Melissa & Doug has put together, and it is working well.
And now my kid is one dollar wealthier than he was yesterday. Now we'll have to start working on economics. He hasn't talked about what he wants to do with that dollar -- he's put it in his piggy bank for now -- but it will be interesting to start helping him learn about money and just how much (or little) it can buy. I sense a trip to the dollar store in my future...