I’ve written here before about my sometimes cluttered and messy house. While I have been working on instilling a sense of responsibility in the girls, their compliance has been uneven. Some days they are extremely helpful while others they’re…well, just not. They’re still fairly young, and I am trying to keep my expectations realistic, but I don’t want them growing up thinking that someone else is going to do everything for them.
Sometimes, though, we accidentally hit upon something that motivates them. Like the Chore Tax.
On a day where Daughter #2 was being especially immobile, my wife said something to her out of frustration:
“I would like you to pick up the things we asked you to pick up.”
“Okay, we’re taking a money out of your bank.”
We were amazed by how well this worked. After a look of horror on her face, she quickly performed the chore we asked her to do.
Of the two of them, no one is as enamored of money as Daughter #2. Maybe she understands how money works (that we need it for food, clothes, toys and special things like trips), and appreciates its value. Or maybe she just likes that it’s shiny a gets a kick out of hearing the coins go “clink!” in her bank after earning a quarter (or nickel, or whatever we have on hand). And the thought of money coming out of her bank instead of going in…well, that was just more than she could take.
Perhaps bribing your kids to do chores isn’t the best choice. I worry sometimes about creating an environment based on “what’s in it for me?” However, they’re a little young to simply be satisfied by a job well done. They’ll get there eventually. Besides, there is a lesson here as well–you have to do something in order to get something. And if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, there are consequences.