If you’ve been following me for long, you know I’m a huge proponent of giving kids household responsibilities and teaching them to manage money at an early age. I’ve done a lot of research on the topic and even developed some pretty slick tools to help parents get started.
I’ll be the first to admit, though, that even the best routines need shaking up every once in a while, and my Kids’ Responsibility and Money Management Kit is no different.
In our house, the system was still working beautifully for keeping the kids on task doing chores and managing their allowance.
The problem was their attitudes.
Like many families who’ve been together entirely too long during this pandemic, ours has struggled with bad attitudes. In this case, our kids were still doing the chores on their Family Jobs and Money Jobs charts, but more often than not it was accompanied by dragging feet, rolling eyes, and incessant whining.
Something had to give. So I do what I always do in situations like these, I started researching.
Enter “The Chore Wheel of Doom”
Somewhere down the rabbit hole I came across an article that suggested novelty might be the key to easing our troubles. (Try as I might, I can’t seem to find this article to point you back to, my apologies!)
The author posited that kids, like adults, find being asked to perform the same tasks over and over to be super monotonous and boring. It makes them feel like a drudge.
The solution is two-fold:
- Add a component of randomness
- Everyone has to participate (even parents)
To add a sense of chance to our daily routine, we decided to address the kids’ daily chores. (For reference, our kids are now nearly 13, 11, and 7 but I think this would be a big hit with the younger set too.)
Everyone is still expected to pick up after themselves, keep their rooms tidy, bring down their laundry on their day, etc. But instead of always having our oldest do dishes, or consistently putting my youngest in charge of watering the plants, I picked 5 daily chores (because there are 5 members of our family) and wrote them with a sharpie on an inexpensive game spinner I bought on Amazon.
Hint #1: If you have extra spaces like we did, add a “You Pick” or “Spin Again” option.
When the kids saw what I’d done, they actually got excited. They also affectionately named the spinner “The Wheel of Doom”.
The part they like the most? Mom and Dad have to spin it everyday too.
That means, not only might they get lucky and not have to pick up after the dog, they might also get to sit back and enjoy watching me do it while they only have to get the mail or wipe down the bathroom counters.
Hint #2: I modified some of the chores for my youngest. When he lands on “dishes”, for example, he only has to do the silverware. This means I have to pick up the slack some days by doing my chore plus the rest of the dishes, but the improved attitudes all around are well worth it.
We’ve only been at this for a week or two, but so far it’s working. The whining has been significantly reduced, my daughter even made a point of telling me how much better chores are now that she doesn’t start off each day knowing she has to do the same task she dreads.
The most unexpected benefit? The family camaraderie that occurs knowing we’re all facing The Wheel of Doom together.
I’m sure the magic will wear off eventually, and I’ll start searching for (and sharing) more ideas once it does. But for now, I’m enjoying the peace and quiet.
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