Chores. Allowance. Commission. Salary.
Lots of ideas out there when it comes to imparting responsibility to your children. We've tried several routes with varying degrees of success. We don't give allowance - that implies that you get money simply because you exist and that's not a belief that I care to foster in my children. You don't get something for nothing. We respect hard work and it is rewarded so any chore/money set up we've tried here has been more of a "commission" than anything else. I drank the Dave Ramsey Kool-Aid a long time ago and I wholeheartedly agree with his take on chores/money.
For the most part, and with minimal reminders, The Boy and The Girl are very good about keeping their rooms tidy, clearing their plates after dinner, cleaning up after themselves, etc. But finding a way/method to motivate them to shoulder a little more responsibility around the house has been challenging. And then I saw this: Fisher Kids. While it's great to have them help around the house, the responsibility for keeping track of their work and their pay usually fell to me and that didn't always work well. The biggest draw (for me) of this system is that the responsibility for keeping track of what they've done and what they've earned is THEIR responsibility. Not mine.
Just as an employee is responsible for clocking in and clocking out, The Boy and The Girl are responsible for keeping track of what chores they do, writing down how much they earned by doing said chores, etc. The only thing I have to be responsible for is having cash on hand (often an issue...I don't usually carry cash).
We just started this recently and so far, it's going well. In addition to their responsibilities as a part of this household (personal care, putting dirty laundry in the laundry room, putting away their clean laundry, clearing their plates after meals, tidying their rooms, etc.) they are expected to read for 20-30 minutes each day (above and beyond what is necessary for school) and do 2 chores. Most of the chores are pretty easy and only take 5-10 minutes. So they are quite do-able for a 7 and 10 year old.
The other thing I like about this system is that it teaches kids how to manage their money in that a percentage should go for 'giving', a percentage should go for 'saving', and the rest goes into 'spending'. We had a great talk about giving - why we give, to whom do we give, etc. They asked if they were able to choose to whom their money was given and the answer is most definitely. If you decide you want to give your money to Save The Whales, great. If you decide you want to give it all to a Salvation Army bell-ringer, wonderful. If you want to tithe at church, go right ahead. If you want to change things up, that's fine too. I had them each make a small list of places/organizations/entities to which they'd be interested in giving their money and we talked about each one.
Then we talked about saving and what kinds of things we save for: college, cars, trips to Hawaii, etc. We talked about the difference between long-term savings goals and short-term savings goals. We made lists of items that go in each. And then we talked about the fact that we don't take our money (the 'save' or the 'spend') and go looking for places to spend it. We don't walk into Target or Toys R Us with our money in our pocket and not have a specific item we plan to purchase. We tell our money where it goes, not the other way around. (this is good advice for me too...)
And there is math involved. I did my best to keep things to dollar and half-dollar amounts so that calculating percentages ('give', 'save', and 'spend') is relatively easy. The Girl is not quite done with division so we've not yet touched on percentages but calculating 10% ('give') is pretty easy and then doubling that for 20% ('save') isn't hard from there.
They love it thus far. They've always wanted to help around the house but never really knew what needed to be done and I failed at coming up with a way to set it up for them. And, after running a few numbers, I find that they are cheaper than a cleaning service! They are paid well for their work (I have high standards) and, while some parents might balk at what I pay them, the deal is that I will no longer buy toys for them upon request (I will still buy them birthday and Christmas presents as well as the occasional "I love you" gift but I will not bow to the "Can I just get one small toy?" when we're at a store). My answer now will be, "Of course you may get a small toy. How much money do you have? Figure out what toy you want and when we come back, you may bring your money and buy it."
The final thing that I like about this is that they WANT to help. I explained to them all of the things that Mommy and Daddy are responsible for in the course of a day and how much it helps for them to do these chores and earn their pay. I also explained to them that, while the money is great, their assistance around the house is something to take pride in. I like helping them tidy up their rooms from time to time and I tell them this. They like helping me around the house and it's nice to see it go both ways.
I am working to make sure this sticks!