Children and Chores

hard at work

We’re back to the pocket money question.

It’s been more than a year since we first experimented with the concept, but we gave it up because Ben said he didn’t want pocket money any more, and Hannah was too young to care.

He claimed he no longer wanted it because “Daddy already spends too much on me”.

I suspect it was so we couldn’t dock it for bad behaviour.

But now, he wants it again.

He goes to a junior youth club on a friday evening and wants more of the readies to spend on Haribo horrors.

So I decide to come over all American, and demand chores in return for cash.

I know they should do the chores anyway, but we haven’t managed to insist on it yet and I think this is a good opportunity to move things in the right direction.

And I always find bribery much easier than the more time-consuming methods of persuasion.

So we discuss which chores are up for grabs and they agree which ones they’ll take on.

Hannah - laying the table for breakfast and washing up (meal unspecified)

Ben - clearing the table and sweeping under it (after tea)

Day 1
I come down to breakfast to find a grinning Hannah, standing next to a table replete with bowls, cereal, a pot of tea for Daddy and a cup of white frothy stuff which looks like milk.
For me.

I don’t much like milk. I drink coffee for breakfast, and I have shown her how to make it.

I enquire further and discover that the cup contains half cold milk and half hot water, carefully frothed up.
No coffee.

“I forgot about that,” she explains.

I show her again, and take Mike’s tea up to him before it goes cold. It is, apparently, delicious.

At teatime, Ben gulps down his food, removes his plate and then stands by the table, hovering over the rest of us enquiring – “Have you finished yet?” every time we swallow.

A minor eruption occurs when I make it clear he doesn’t get to claim the cash immediately after the first day’s chore is accomplished.

Day 2
Breakfast is ready again, this time with frothy milk and coffee.
I wonder how long this will continue, as it’s a step beyond our agreement.

Tea-time goes more smoothly, with Ben claiming he hasn’t fogotten to sweep under the table. He’s just waiting until we’ve all finished, otherwise he’d have to sweep up all over again.

My regular lectures about time management are obviously beginning to hit home; if not in relation to homework/getting dressed/undressed/ready to go out – at least in relation to something.

We’re onto Day 3 tomorrow, and by Friday they will feel they’ve earned enough sweets to rot not only their own teeth, but also those of every other child in the school.

Whether or not sweets will make up for many minutes wasted on tasks they’d rather sit and watch Mike and me do – we will doubtless discover.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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8 Responses to Children and Chores

  1. Iota says:

    It’s such a tricky one, this. We decided not to give financial rewards for chores, on the basis that these are part of family life, and should be part of the child’s life, without reward. Of course this inevitably has meant that they don’t do chores.

  2. guineapigmum says:

    Good luck on this one! I think we’re in the same position as Iota. They can earn money by doing extra chores, particularly ones I don’t want to do (the rate definitely increases for those!) but it doesn’t seem to happen very often.

  3. dulwichmum says:

    This is a difficult one, and I am in the same place as you right now. We are giving pocket money for chores. It seems to work in fits and starts. How did you get on?

  4. Beta Mum says:

    We keep forgetting to give them their pocket money – but Hannah has been making breakfast most mornings (she has weekends off) and Ben sweeps under the table a lot.
    So it’s we who are reneging on the deal!

  5. Omega Mum says:

    The scary thing about pocket money is how little I’d get if I applied the bad behaviour/docking rule to myself…..Hope your well. Do admire your blogging stamina. How do you keep going so consistently?

  6. Beta Mum says:

    I am cursed with a completer-finisher gene.

  7. Kerry says:

    Hi there

    I do apologise for clogging up your comment box with this but would it be possible for you to drop me an email at your convenience?

    I’m working on something at the moment that I think may be of interest to you both as a parent and a blogger.



  8. KTJ says:

    This is a difficult one but I agree there’s too few hours in the day for a working mum to be trying to persuade children to help out round the home.

    I pay my son money for keeping his room tidy and, since he’s naturally messy, he never gets paid. So he loses out on things he wants as I refuse to buy him things other than clothes and food unless it’s Easter, Birthday or Christmas.

    I’m trying to encourage him to get his own breakfast by saying if he doesn’t he’ll starve till lunch time. That tends to work… ;0)

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