I really like the idea behind Chore Wars. I think that it is nice that a family can tailor the program to suit their needs rather that being a one-size-fits-all site. It was, however, getting to be somewhat of a chore (ironically enough) for me to put everyone’s chores into the site at the end of the day. There were times when I’d forget and have to go back several days to input chore information to ensure that everyone was getting his or her points. The other problem I was having with Chore Wars was that the site would keep a running weekly total for all chores completed during the previous seven days. The kids were having trouble figuring out exactly how many points they had earned from Monday morning to date because there were additional days from the previous week also being added into the total.
In an effort to streamline the process, I decided to do a slight adaptation of the method set forth in America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money, by Steve and Annette Economides. (I enjoyed the book and recommend it to others as a refresher in getting one's family back on financial track, or as a way to glean a few more tips on how to pinch pennies here and there.) Their program focuses on a point system and the children are awarded an allowance based on the points they have accumulated during the week.
Rather than keeping points for each chore completed, the kids are now scored in four different categories; morning chores, school work, daily chores, and bedtime. If a child completes his or her morning chores (get up, get dressed, make bed, brush teeth and hair, and wash face) on time, they will get one point. Another point is earned if they complete their individual educational goals each day before we start our evening routine. If they complete all of their chosen daily chores, they get another point. Finally, if they are ready for bed and reading quietly at 8pm, they receive their final point.
I finalized the chart last weekend so we could use it this past week, as we got back into our regular routine. I think it was a success. Jake earned $3 (out of $5), Jolie earned $1.10 (out of $2.50) and Jensen earned $.30. The chart is posted on the side of the fridge next to our daily routine so that they can keep track of their responsibilities without me needing to harp on them to get their stuff done. I have put the chart into a plastic paper protector and us a wipe-off marker to keep track of accumulated points.
As usual, if the method isn’t working, I’ll modify it to meet the needs of our family or scrap it completely for a different method. I'm semi-flexible like that.
Next weekend we are planning to sit down on “Pay Day” (Sunday evening) and delegate the kids’ earnings into Savings, Charitable Giving, and Personal funds. We want the kids to learn how to save, how to give, and how to have a little fun with what they work hard to earn. Hopefully learning those skills early will set them up well for life in the real world when they are grown.