Friday, January 6, 2012

Star Chart and Allowances Questions

"We are starting the implimentation of the "Star Chart"... I am pretty sure on most aspects of it. However, in looking at your chart online, I was finally able to make out the middle column, Wages... Do you actually give your children allowences or is that how much they have earned and cashed in from previous charts? You mentioned in your blog that you would cover "allowences" later...and maybe this is that.

Also, we have 2 small children who are not of the age of 5. One will turn a hand in July, so this will be good for her to see in action before hand... but in the meantime...they are going to want to earn stars and such. and we do not want to discourage their desire to take part in jobs around the house. So, what would you recommend for the 2 smaller ones..."

Yes, the middle column is wages, which is part of our allowances. The kids get paid for three separate things. The first one is the star chart. Every time they do those chores, they get a star. At the end of two weeks, anything over ten stars not cashed in for staying up later or for tv and wii is paid as one quarter per star.

The second thing our kids get paid for is their wages (the middle column). That is basically their wages for helping out the family with their personal responsibilities which are in the third column. Instead of paying them each day to keep their rooms and bathrooms clean, they get paid one time on pay day. The trick is that they can get docked a quarter each time a reminder is given. They don't make their bed, their pay is deducted by one quarter. You find that their bathroom is messy, they get deducted another quarter, and so on. The other things about wages is that it increases by 50 cents each time they have a birthday. This shows pay raises for maturity, but this also includes increased responsibility. It is not a given pay raise, it is an earned pay raise. Give them slightly harder jobs for that extra 50 cents.

The third thing our kids get paid for (every two weeks) is the big house cleaning day. We used to pay someone $50 to clean our house back when I was homeschooling our older two and had three younger ones at home. Now that they are older and we all have time, we clean it ourselves. So instead of paying someone else, I pay them. However, since they made the mess they are cleaning, I only pay about $25 for the house to be cleaned. It's not the same as being paid to clean up someone else's mess. I break down the $25 based on how much each child is responsible for and how well they take care of their chores. Therefore, I pay our older daughters the most because they pull the most weight in chores. They get about $7.50 each and the younger ones get between $3-4.50 depending on how much they do and how well they do it.

Here's an example of a breakdown on payday for Alaizha:

Cashed in 15 stars $3.75
Wages $5.50
Two-week chores $4.50
Total $13.75

Out of this they need to pay 10 percent to tithes and another 10 percent to savings. The rest is theirs to spend.

Now they have money to pay you for all the times you have to remind them to do things, pay their siblings back for broken toys, or to purchase their own want items. When we go to the store, we don't buy our kids things. They know that is what their payday is for. They get special requests for birthdays and Christmas, but other than that, they buy their own toys. On occasion, we will see something with which we want to bless our children. We'll buy it for them because we know they are not demanding or expecting it and that they will see it as a gift. However, be careful not to bless them with gifts too often or they will know you'll give them what they want and there is no need to save up their money. Then you run into laziness because they can afford it.

For the children under five years old, watching older siblings receive the blessings of this system only whets their appetite to be included. Be sure to keep it a privilege though so they are excited when they turn five and are finally added to the chart. The reason for waiting until five is that it is hard for younger kids to understand delayed rewards. They need to be positively reinforced right away. So the reward system that we used for our boys before they turned five was small candy. The boys expressed interest in sweeping the kitchen after meals. So I set out three skittles, or two tic tacs, or a couple of m&ms - just small candies that won't ruin their appetite, but will be enough to encourage them to do a good job. I told them they had five minutes to sweep as much into their dust pan as they could. They had to show me what they swept up before they threw it in the trash. The key is making them utilize the full five minutes and verifying that they actually swept something up, not how well the floor is actually done. An older child or you may still need to sweep again. But they see that they are helping and contributing to cleaning after meals. If they throw a fit because it has not been five minutes and you are telling them to keep sweeping, take one candy and eat it. In the beginning, they will most likely cry harder. Take another one. Eventually they will see that you only pay for their help when they are compliant. You see, some kids will do what you want for a reward and have a bad attitude about it. You are telling them that they need to have the right attitude also before they get paid or the reward is lost. If they give up sweeping, no loss to you because you were already going to sweep again. They are the ones who missed out.

My caution with younger ones is not to give privileges they haven't earned through maturity - like vacuuming or spraying cleaning chemicals. Most kids like these parts of jobs. Yet they need to be mature enough to think through things like stretching the vacuum chord, unplugging and plugging back in (and not by the chord, but by the plug itself), thoroughly vacuuming an area, adequate amounts of spray, correct area to spray, washing hands before touching anything else, etc. Little kids get little jobs that are easy to monitor and cause no harm to themselves, others, or things if they choose to misuse it and lose the privilege of it.

Some examples of things that children under five can do are:
carrying plastic dishware and silverware to the counter after meals
putting away plastic dishware and silverware
setting the table for meals
folding clothes and towels
picking up toys
taking out small trash cans

I hope this gives you enough clarity to start a star chart with your kids. Let me know if you need anymore clarification. Those are good questions that you asked! : )


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