Friday, November 23, 2012

Teaching the Value of Hard Work

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I enjoyed seeing my family and I am definitely enjoying a couple of days off from work!  It's been pretty intense over the last month, so I am enjoying time to read, knit, craft and just relax with my family!
A while back I mentioned that we have a new system of how to pay allowance to Imani so I wanted to take the time to share it with all of you.  It has been working out well so far and we've been doing it for a few months.
As I mentioned before, we used to just give Imani $20 every month.  She was only expected to help out as needed, make her bed and sweep the stairs.  We came to realize that this method wasn't really working out so well.  Half of the time, her bed wasn't made and the stairs were rarely swept.  Nonetheless, she had her little hand extended every 1st day of the month in expectation of her $20. 
So we decided we would start to pay her weekly, rather than monthly, and we would give her a list of a bunch of things around the house that need to be done regularly. 
We keep a big bottle of marbles and each marble is worth 25 cents.  Each time Imani does something off of the list, she gets a marble (or two, depending on the chore).
Sometimes, Imani thinks of other things she would like to do (like vacuum my car or brush Maggie or clean Noah's room) and she will ask if she can get a marble for it.

She keeps all of her marbles for the week in a different jar.  On Sunday, we count up how much we owe her and we pay her for her work.  She is expected to save 10 percent and donate 10 percent (anywhere she'd like - sometimes it goes to Church, sometimes to the library, sometimes to the SPCA . . . wherever she feels like giving).

When we first rolled this out, Imani was on a mission:  She cleaned the whole house and practically filled her jar with marbles.  Jason and I got nervous that we'd be handing over half of our bank account to Imani.
But over time her enthusiasm has leveled out. During the week, when homework, basketball and practicing her violin take up a lot of her time, she doesn't do as much to earn marbles.
We've noticed that on the weekends, she will often pick up a broom instead of the iPad.  It's been great.
Another cool thing about this is that if we ask Imani to help us with something and she doesn't, or if she misbehaves, talks back etc, we will tell her she needs to take a marble out of her jar.  Yes, we "charge" her in a way. 
We expect that she will still contribute in a meaningful and positive way in the house: that she doesn't ONLY help for marbles -- so if we ask for help or tell her to do something (like pick up her room), she is expected to do it without complaint and without earning a marble.
There is one chore that is expected every day and she doesn't get a marble for it.  She must make her bed.  If she doesn't make her bed, she has to take a marble out of her jar. The exception is if OUR bed isn't made . . . then we can't charge her.  She loves to see if our bed is made so it sort of keeps us all accountable.
There have also been times when I see her do something incredibly generous or kind and I want her to know I recognized it -- so I'll tell her later, "I really liked how you were generous with your friend when she came over today.  I'd like to give you an extra marble in your jar."
She loves when that happens.
Don't get me wrong; on more than one occasion Imani has grumbled, "Can we go back to the old way for allowance?! I hate this way."  She hates it because she actually has to DO something to get the money. 
But she loves getting paid weekly. 
She loves seeing the marbles accumulate in the jar,
and she loves being in control of being paid more.
She's been really motivated because she is saving up for a Macbook.  She also told me last week that this year, she wants to buy me and Jason a present for Christmas with her own money, so she's been setting some of her money aside for that. 
I'm really proud of her.
Some of the things she can do to make money are:
Sweep the stairs - 25cents
Empty the bathroom garbage cans - 25 cents
Vacuum the house - 50 cents
Pick up Maggie's dog doo doo in the yard - 50 cents (we know we're making out on this one . . . but she must know it too because she never does it!!)
Dust - 25cents
Put in a load of laundry - 25 cents
Load the dishwasher - 25 cents
 That's just a snapshot of a few of the chores.  She can always ask if there is something else she'd like to do.
We believe it's important for Imani to have money of her own so she understands how to save, how to make smart purchases and the value of hard work.
So far, this system has worked well for us!
I'd love to hear how all of you pay allowance (or why you don't pay allowance) to your children.
Have a great weekend.  "See" you Monday (I promise :-)


1 comment:

  1. Stephenie,
    I paid allowances and let them do as they please with the money however, I also matched long term savings to encourage it. At first it went as expected, money was gone before the next day. However with time, they learned to budget, save, donate. Great job teaching Imani the value of a dollar and hard work!
    Your Friend,


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