Niki and I were getting frustrated. It seemed like we were always repeating the same things to the kids. “Make your bed.” “Did you brush your teeth?” “Who didn’t flush the toilet?” “It’s not my job to make your lunch–it’s your job.” And, of course, the classic, “How many times do I have to keep telling you this?!?!”

The kids were getting frustrated, too. They’re growing up. They want to be trusted with more. They want to have more privileges (privileges are earned through exercising responsibility, I’d remind them). And above all, they wanted more freedom to buy things (which is hard to do when you don’t have any money).

See, I’m opposed to giving allowance. I don’t understand, or agree with, the message: you get paid just for being a kid. What’s up with that?! Nobody pays me just for being. I can imagine it now — Oh, Kelly! We’re so glad you came into the office today because we just enjoy YOU so much. Here’s your paycheck, in advance! And feel free to take off the next couple weeks — we just wanted to give this paycheck to you because you’re you!

Right.

Welcome to the real world, kids. You only get paid, and the freedom that comes with managing your money and getting to make the purchases you want, if you perform. It’s a hard reality. But you’re going to learn it sooner or later. Sit on your bum and play video games all day — no money. Desert your responsibilities for the things that are fun and not boring — no money. But do what you’re supposed to do, honor those in authority over you, and you’ll not only get paid but also have the time and resource to do lots of things that are fun. (There’s a proverb in there somewhere.)

On the other hand, I also am opposed to instilling a you-gotta-earn-my-love paradigm in our kids. Giving them gifts, buying impulsive treats at the store, that’s all part of how I let them know I love them.

So how to solve the parent and child frustration simultaneously while also maintaining my parenting values?

And that’s when the idea of a kids’ chore chart came to mind. The idea would be to itemize their responsibilities and then also add other optional chores/activities they can do. Each chore/activity has a point value associated with it. For each day the kids perform the chore/activity, they earn the points for it. However, for the responsibilities they are expected to perform (which I listed above the blue line), if they fail to perform it, then they get that amount of points taken away. (So if a chore is worth 10 points and they don’t do it, then they get 10 points deducted from their total). Then for every 45 points they earn at the end of the week, they get a quarter.

Here’s Button’s chore chart, as an example. Feel free to customize it to create one for your own parenting needs.

BUTTON
Chore
M
T
W
R
F
S
S
Points
Total Points for Week
Bed Made
10
Teeth Brushed AM
5
Teeth Brushed PM
5
Room Clean
10
Toilet Flushed, Hands Washed
5
Ready to Go On Time
5
Lights Off
5
Dishes Cleared
10
Lunches Made
15
Bathroom Cleaned
15
Toys and Shoes Put Away
10
Garage Organized
10
Table Wiped Down
10
Floor Swept Under Table
15
Laundry in Basket
5
Put Away Clothes
10
Showered Thoroughly
5
Car Cleaned Out
10
Used Manners
15
Respected Self and Others
20
Obeyed all Directions
20
Wipe down counters
15
Sweep deck
20
Wash table on deck
10
Fold 1 load of laundry
20
Bring in trash bins
10
Take out the trash
10
Make guest room bed
20
Clean guest bathroom
30
Put groceries away
30
Put dishes away
30
Non-Fiction book report
60
Water plants
10
TOTAL POINTS FOR WEEK
45 points = $.25                90 points = $.50                135 points = $.75              180 points = $1