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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Allowance based on points earned....for my lovely friend, Lisa

So, Lisa and I met for coffee and were talking about children and she said how she had trouble getting her girls to keep things tidied up and how it was sometimes a struggle to get them to help out around the house.  I actually did NOT come up with this point system, it was actually found in "America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right On the Money" by the Economides family (you can google the title...I borrowed it from the local library).

I told Lisa that I would put a blog post up so she could see what we have running in our house, but here's the basic breakdown: morning point, school point, chore point, and round up point.  Each point has different things that must be accomplished in order to be earned.  Just doing the "basic" list will earn each child a total of 26 points (no school on Saturday or Sunday) and we decided on $0.20 per point for any total from 26 points to 30 points. do they get to 30 (or more) points??  By doing extra chores or helping out with things that normally aren't their responsibility.  For 31 or more points, we pay them $0.30 per point.  We also make their time with electronics dependent on their if they earn $9.60, that would be 960 divided by 60 (minutes in an hour) and that ends up being 16 hours of electronics - payable in poker chips (each chip represents a different amount....white is 1 minute, blue is 10 minutes, red is 60 minutes) only SOUNDS really isn't...but you must be able to stay on top of them when it comes to paying up with the chips, or they will sneak time in and not pay for those minutes/hours spent rotting their brains.

SO here we go:

Well, let's start at the earn their morning point, they MUST: get up and dressed with no fighting, take their vitamins and have breakfast, brush their hair and teeth, and get everything ready for the day....see, not really that hard, but our oldest has Asperger's and ADHD, so he sometimes has trouble with this.

Let's go to the top picture where it lists how they earn their school and chore points.....for the school point, they MUST:  have gotten NO think times during the day, completed ALL homework neatly, have all homework written down neatly (both children, so we can sign off on it as required by teachers), and get all their papers in the proper sections of their notebooks (problem for both kids who like to just shove it in the backpack and then forget about it).  Again, nothing too difficult for either child (mine are 11 and 8 and we've used this for at least 2, closer to 3 years now).

For their chore point, both children MUST:  complete ALL chores promptly with NO reminders.  Ok, this may sound harsh, but....each child has their own list of chores as you will see soon, so they are old enough that they can walk in, read off their list, check to make sure they are done, and move along to the next thing....for some reason, this seems to give them the most trouble, so I've recently told them that if I have to say anything more than "check the chore list", they will NOT earn the chore point for that day.

Finally, we go to the middle picture, the "round up" point.  This is the one that finishes off the day and sets everything back to zero for the next day.  To earn this point, both children MUST:  put their own things away, get dressed and ready for bed, get their clothes out for the next day (to avoid fights in the morning), brush their teeth, and be in bed, with their lights out at the proper time...again, nothing too difficult for either of them. we move on to what they need to do to earn their chore point....some may say it's a lot, but keep in mind their ages and the fact that nothing on either lists takes more than 10 minutes (unless they choose to play instead of getting it done and moving on to something else).

As you can see, both children are expected to clean their bedrooms thoroughly...this doesn't mean that they have to dust and vacuum means that they have to have the floor picked up, no papers piled up on nightstands near lights (fire hazard!!), no piles of clothes all over the place or under the bed....common sense cleaning.  We divided the care of the pets up between the two of them....our oldest is responsible for feeding the 2 cats and for changing the cat litter, but our youngest is responsible for vacuuming the litter and spilled food up and for feeding the dog.  Both are required to put their clothes away properly - piles on the floor, or worse...on the floor NEXT TO THE HAMPER is something that smacks of laziness and REALLY annoys me....have told them that if they can't even get the clothes in the hamper, I can't be bothered to wash them...that has worked a little bit {sigh}.  Our oldest is responsible for the dishes (loading and unloading the dishwasher), dusting the family/tv room,  and vacuuming the living room and tv room as needed - simply because he's taller and a bit stronger than our youngest. Plus, since he's the one that wants electronics all the time, he should be the one that dusts the room that houses them...just my thoughts.  Our youngest takes the kitchen trash out to the huge can in the garage, and is responsible for scrubbing the table - which makes sense since the majority of the milk and syrup spills happen on her side of the table.  Again, none of these really take more than 10 minutes, and they don't have to be done every single day.

So now we have what they can do to get above the minimal 26 points:
There are chores worth anywhere from 1-5 extra points (and sometimes they do things that aren't on here and the parent they helped gets to decide how much it was worth).

For 1 extra point, they can:  water the plants or the garden or they can swiffer the family room
For 2 extra points, they can: scrub the kitchen counters, swiffer the kitchen/dining room floor
For 3 extra points, they can: help fold clothes, help with baking or help with making a meal, or they can change their own sheets (something neither child likes doing)
For 4 extra points, they can: help with the yard work or help with the groceries (bringing them in and putting them away, though as they are getting older, they will start with the shopping as well....teaching them how to get the best deal and use coupons...better to start when they are young )
For 5 extra points, they can: have a kids' cook night (where they are primarily responsible for meal preparation with only some assistance from parent(s)), do their sibling's chore, or clean up their sibling's mess

Not surprisingly, they both try for the last one more than anything else....not only do they earn points, but they get to rat out their sibling....{sigh}.

Here's the breakdown of how we use the poker chips that they earn:

For a white chip, they have 1 minute of electronics or 1 piece of candy
For a blue chip, they have 10 minutes of electronics or 2 pieces of candy, and
For a red chip, they can have 60 minutes of electronics or 3 pieces of candy or a soda
Not only does this help limit their time playing games or watching tv, but it limits the amount of junk they are consuming....AND it forces them to make the choice and once made, that's the end of it.  Oh, NO, they are not allowed to trade in 2 red chips and get 6 pieces of candy or 2 sodas....

This is the chart that we use - found it free online, so I just printed it out and make copies as I need them - one for each child.  The stickers were found on clearance, but sometimes I just put in checks for completed and x's for not completed....and i total it up at the might be able to see that they earned 13 extra points yesterday....they helped with dinner and Dad was primary chef, so he decided they deserved extra points since they both helped with dicing veggies for tacos (something that I still can't handle watching....keep picturing cut fingers and visits to the ER)....obviously they are going to be in the $0.30 per point range this week...last week they weren' make it a "family thing" I am the one who tallies everything, but before they get their allowances, Dad has to review and sign off on it....if they get less than 26 points, they don't get paid because they didn't even do the minimum required work....too many days of that in the real world, and they'd end up fired....we can't and won't fire them from the family, but we will withhold allowance from them.

This is working really well...worked great for the year leading up to our family trip to Disney because we had told them we weren't buying loads of crap after all the $$ we spent just to go on the vacation (we did buy them jackets and ears, but they bought the dual-edge light sabers and other memorabilia that they wanted).  The great thing is that they know there are certain things we will NOT purchase for them (pokemon cards among them), so when they have money in their spend banks, they can buy them and we won't say anything.

That's another thing....we make them divide their allowance into 3 banks: 10% give, 20% save, 70% spend....for Disney, we got rid of the 70% bank and has a 30% Disney and 40% spend....whatever was in their Disney bank was what they took with us.....they actually opted to NOT use their spend bank and add it to their Disney bank (yay...they are actually thinking things through!!!).  We have had discussions about trendy clothing and the increased expenses involved and I have told them that I will give them the $$ that I would spend on a non-trendy item, and they will have to use their spend money to make up the far nobody wants the $90 tennis shoes (though I almost bought a pair of $80 jeans....sanity returned before I made it to the register).

Once they have what they think is a decent amount in their give banks, they decide who to donate it to.  Sometimes it's the church, sometimes it goes to the food bank, but they get to make that choice.  Once their save bank starts getting full, I take it and deposit it in their bank accounts (local bank, no fee, and I am also on their account as custodian until they are 18).  We started the bank accounts for them because we discussed how having 2 children would be expensive when it came to them driving.  We have decided that, while we will buy them a good, solid, safe, used car, they will be responsible for the increase in insurance and keeping gas in the car....hence the savings accounts.  The great thing is that they have no idea how much they have in their accounts, and I plan on keeping it that way for as long as I can because I don't want them accessing the money for trivial things when they are both more than likely college-bound (both are honor roll students) and will need the money for other things.

SO....there it is...the allowance plan for our household....sounds difficult but really isn't.  The hardest part was figuring out how much the extra chores were worth.  I bought a big whiteboard and put it up in the dining room so everyone could see everything...and it also has space leftover that I set up so that each family member had a little memo section - I can write notes to the children about schedule changes, hubby can write reminders to me about groceries that we need...whatever...sometimes it's just the perfect place to write reminders to each other that we love them....

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