Family Work System #5,231 … or so it seems

not mistakes

Wow – chores … jobs … work. It takes great effort to keep this going in our family.

We did a ticket system. This one bothered me the most. I wanted the kids to work because it was important as a member of our family – not to earn a prize. We don’t always have immediate rewards in life. This one didn’t last long… maybe a summer. The kids really liked it though. They liked earning prizes from mom’s closet.
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We had a super system that worked for a few years. We used wet erase markers and the kids marked things off… and then started afresh every day. Then they grew lazy and stopped marking and stopped doing.

Then I read The Entitlement Trap by the Eyres. A great book that helped me think about teaching our kids how to manage money… having a family work system… a family legal system.

Based on that I put together this point system… we wanted to teach our children to be honorable members of the family… and weekly “allowance” (how I hate that term though) earnings were based on your efforts & work.

This one I put together and we used it for like 2 weeks. Too complicated. I wasn’t following through every night with the kids. We have some major issues to resolve… such as personal hygiene for the boys, follow-through on jobs, etc.2013 05 daily list chore vs 3 abe

This was Jimmy’s less-than-one-week plan. I decided it might be best if I kept it in my court since I’m home most of the day with the tots. I can’t follow through on something they are reporting to Jimmy on. I didn’t like the demerit thing either. Yes, there are consequences for behavior… but I didn’t want to focus on that.IMG_20130604_120927 copy

Take #5,231 … Let’s Try this. This one is a little more ‘loose’ compared to the one above. The kids ‘earnings’ will still be based on this. They save 10% for missions, 10% for college, & 10% goes to tithing. The rest is budgeted for clothes, entertainment, extras. They get roughly half their age every week… so for Hannah… $5. We have a check register where they track their deposits and withdrawals.  I’m not sure I believe in the ‘earning’ system.  But we have a motivation problem… and this might get us out of a rut.  I know we’ll have to tweak..
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Most of their ‘earnings’ are based on their diligence (being thorough… stay on task) in their family jobs. They have 5 jobs a week that I pick with them. I saw an idea on pinterest to put instructions for each job so they know how to do it (especially great for #2 child who claims he didn’t know how to do something). If they want to earn extra money, they can pick extra jobs. Here are a few:
2013 05 work for hire15

I don’t like the idea of allowance… but it’s much better if they really are earning it… and not just given $ for nothing. I want my kids to learn how to manage money. Will this help? I guess we’ll see. Child #1 already saves her money for college (like father… like daughter). Child #2 & #3… money burns a hole in their pocket (hmmm… like their mother.)

As we all know, I spend more time & effort creating systems than implementing them. But I’m determined to find something that will work for a few years… and then we’ll maybe swap things up.

It’s such a tricky balance to teach the kids the value of hard work/accomplishment/fulfillment … and then somehow encourage them along. We’ve had lots of complaining about simple tasks that need to be done. It takes a lot of hard work to keep this family going… and we need each child. I hope we can teach these principles in a way that is appropriate. I know the Spirit can guide us as we listen. This is my hope… sigh…

27 replies
  1. Tammy Schick
    Tammy Schick says:

    You are such a good mommy! Honestly, I think that you just have to keep on switching it up. They are kids and they lose interest fast.
    My boys are older now; 15 & 17. We’ve tried all sorts of things through the years. I’ve always struggled with allowance, too. Probably the thing that ended up working the best was just routine.
    Saturday mornings are clean your room day. Yes. That means that I have to let it go the rest of the time.
    They’re older – so there isn’t a REAL need to tidy up daily (although – come on – the laundry basket is RIGHT THERE!). Back then we picked up toys before baths every night. THEIR SPACE is THEIR responsibility. Their room, their bathroom, their laundry. No $ for those. Helping with basics, dishes, trash – again, no $ for those. I tried paying them for “extra” jobs but really that didn’t work when I would just buy them treats here or there anyway.

    So – whatever. We tried. They still take care of their own spaces and things on Saturday mornings. Eventually, we’ll move back to the US and the older one will get a “real” job – then he can really see what budgeting looks like. Babysitting money here or there is nothing like having a job with real money coming in. I think you just hang in there. You keep doing what works, until it doesn’t anymore – then try something new.

    If it doesn’t work long-term, that’s ok. You’re teaching your kids how to work things out. How to try new ideas and new systems. The whole process teaches them lessons. They may not learn to pick up on their own, but they are still learning. :) Hang in there. These are the physically exhausting years. I truly think that they prepare you for the mentally/emotionally exhausting teenage years…

  2. Laura
    Laura says:

    Heather, reading your blog is like reading my own journal (that I haven’t written yet). I am going through the EXACT same thing with summer routines, chores, etc. I’ve had several systems over the years too and just spent a good amount of time on yet another one for this summer involving points per day. Some days are good and others are a complete failure, but you have to try something or the house gets out of control and the stress of it all takes over. Great job with everything and good luck with the new system.

  3. Cindy Price
    Cindy Price says:

    Hi Heather! I don’t know if you remember me from Arizona, but hi anyway! I was looking for some chores stuff on pinterest and came across one of the charts you made. I laughed so hard when I clicked on it and saw your face on the blog. No wonder it is cute, you always made such cute things for Young Womens!! Anyway, small world. Love the chart. I’m dealing with the same issues with chores at my house. Hoping to find a system that works too!!

  4. PamJWM
    PamJWM says:

    I love the chore cards, but I would love it if there was a blank customizable template so I can make my own.

  5. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    Hi Heather, I love you chore chart ideas! did you make them yourself or did you find a template for them? I would love to get a copy of some of them but I would like to change it to the specifications of my family. Any ideas? I would really love some help on this! Thanks a bunch! Stephanie

  6. Julie
    Julie says:

    I LOVE these. They are so cute and colorful! I was hoping you have a template to use to customize the chores. Could you email me a file. I would appreciate it so much!

  7. Amy
    Amy says:

    Love the cards with specific instructions and the amount! Is there a way to get the template to customize it for our family? Thanks!!

  8. connie galloway
    connie galloway says:

    would love to copy the cards with specific instructions and the amount for use with my granddaughter

  9. Shanna
    Shanna says:

    Might I be able to get a copy of your extra chores? I love that the ave all the expectations on the card!

  10. Maggie Langway
    Maggie Langway says:

    Hi! I’m wondering if you can just email the cute chore duties sheet. I love it and think I get my girls to help with these. I’ll have to up the allowance in order to get results.

  11. Heather
    Heather says:

    Have you tried starting out with their “allowance” and then assigning each chore a “cost”? If it is completed satisfactorily, then they keep that chore money. If it is not, or someone else has to do it (or offers to do it), then that person gets the money. At the end of the week they still have to divvy it up and they may only have a bare minimum to spend. Like earning a paycheck. You only get paid for the hours or work you do. Anyone have any thoughts?

  12. Maegan
    Maegan says:

    Hi Heather!

    Do you have templates for your colorful chore cards (with instructions) available for download or purchase anywhere? I am in the process of creating summer chore charts for my girls and instructions would be so useful! Thank you!

  13. jodi
    jodi says:

    Would also love a downloadable/ printable version of these awesome charts! Thank you for posting on this topic!

  14. Colleen Speer
    Colleen Speer says:

    Just found your site and yes, would also LOVE a printable – yours is the nicest design I’ve found. Can you send me the template? Thanks!

  15. Susan Whelan
    Susan Whelan says:

    Is there anyway of getting a word version of this, i love it, i just want to include and change a few jobs to suit my girls?

  16. Katy Blakeley
    Katy Blakeley says:


  17. Jennifer Wahl
    Jennifer Wahl says:

    Love this idea. This post was hilarious in so many ways… kids I tell ya. Do you have these in downloadable format or in an edited version? Thanks so much!

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