41 answers

Chores/Allowance/Discipline Ideas

** I appreciate everyone's responses so far- just to be clear too, her dad and I do have 50/50 parenting and he and his wife work from home so she has lots of personal interaction with all parents involved :)**
I am a single mom of a 5 year old very headstrong, out going girl. She is very smart, involved in activities and pre-school. However, her step mom and I are both having issues at home with deliberate disobedience and can't find a punishment that seems to work. Recently we took all of her stuffed dogs away and told her she needs to earn them back and that seemed to help (for now) but I'm curious what other ideas are out there. That also got me thinking about chores & allowance. I don't know what age appropriate chores might be and what to do to handle allowance either... Any suggestions? The only thing I can come up with is making her bed and putting toys away but I feel those should just be expected and not rewarded with an allowance...

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well- I am so greatful for all of the responses! I can't believe 41 of you cared enough to share your thoughts and ideas with me. This weekend Kaileigh and I went on the hunt for the perfect marbles to put in her jar and I'm currently working on her chart- which she is helping me with ideas for- both chores, rewards and consequences. She was very excited to hear that she could start earning marbles and immediatly started volunteering to dust etc again. I had her help clear and set the table, fix up the guest room for out of town visitors this weekend, dust the living room, wipe down her bathroom counter & sink etc. I don't know why I never thought much of those before- I guess I just figured I'd have to redo it all so why bother-- but even if I do have to redo something (when she's not looking of course) it's teaching her that she has a part to play as well.
Thank you all for your input!! I've been able to share it all with a neighbor too who rushed right out and got the marbles started!

Featured Answers

I have worked with 15 years of parents, and 3 boys of my own and suggest wholeheartedly that you give 'Love and Logic' a try. It is a parenting philosophy that is simple and amazing. I have never met a child that it didn't work for. It eliminates yelling, power struggles, fighting over chores or homework etc. There is a websight, and you can get books, tapes or CD's and even find classes you can attend.
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.. I had some of the same issues with my daughter, now 6. Something that works for me is a behavior chart. I made up a chart myself and she gets very excited about it. I made it positive, so instead of saying, no talking back...etc, I said I will not talk back, I will keep my room clean, I will be responsible, etc. At the end of the day she gets to color her stars that she earned that day and we talk about examples of how she was responsible as well as how she could have made better choices. I hang it at eye level to her on the fridge. Not only has it been a good thing for me but also a positive thing for her. When she loses a star she has to go to bed a little early for each one. If she gets all of them in a day she gets to stay up a little later. It also helps because if she is acting up I can say "you are about to lose a star" and she shapes right up. It is something that she is proud of and she can see her progress. As a long term reward you can offer that if she colors so many you will take her to chuck e cheese, shopping for something she wants, get an allowance, etc. I have found that this works great for me. Every child is so different. Hopefully it is something that can work for you. Good luck!

Hi, M.!
I raised seven children and found the books "On Becoming Childwise" and "On Becoming Toddlerwise" excellent guides for instilling obedience in my children. They truly were a joy to once I started implementing the principles in those books. I grew up a lot, too, in the process!
Hope that helps,

More Answers

We use Love and Logic parenting skills and we have found that our daughters do better with piles. I put 3 piles on the floor of things that I have collected throughout the day and then after school I show all the girls their assigned piles--of course the eldest gets the biggest pile(ages 8, 5, & 3)I then tell them that their piles need to be gone by dinner time, we don't nag them. If the chores are not done by dinner, I tell them "That's okay dinner will be served for 30 minutes, hope you can make it". Of course if they don't get it done they don't get to eat dinner (they learned this pretty quickly and only nearly missed one meal and now it is not an issue). Another effective way if our kids won't do things when we ask is to is to say, "Okay, I'll be happy to wake you up at 6:00 in the morning so you can get it done before school"--this method also usually only takes once or twice to motivate. Or the other method which is most effective for our eight year old is "Don't worry I'll take care of it" and then you charge them a fee for doing their chores. Now when I tell my eight year old "I'll take care of it" she is quick to respond. We don't pay our kids for chores but charge money for work we have done for them if we have to "take care of it". Also try using the word contribution instead of chores--it is a more positive word and conveys the fact that their help is needed. Remember to praise them for a job well done. They get an allowance, regardless of chore duties, but can earn extra money by doing extra work. Kids are also very adaptable if you are consistant at your house, she will learn the rules at your house.

2 moms found this helpful

As parents we never gave our kids allowances. We are self-employed so they've always had to do some kind of work. It builds character, we were fond of telling them. :)
If you do want to do allowances, you might check out Focus on the Family, or Crown Financial Services. They both have good resources on child rearing and money issues.

Hope that helps some...K

1 mom found this helpful

I have worked with 15 years of parents, and 3 boys of my own and suggest wholeheartedly that you give 'Love and Logic' a try. It is a parenting philosophy that is simple and amazing. I have never met a child that it didn't work for. It eliminates yelling, power struggles, fighting over chores or homework etc. There is a websight, and you can get books, tapes or CD's and even find classes you can attend.
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


When I was married, we tried lots of things -- helping Mom, praise, rewards, punishment, money, star boards, etc. But I found a strong incentive for kids helping out/chores when I became divorced and raising three sons alone most of the time. The strongest incentive turned out to be SINCERE gratitude and letting them do things on their own time - granted my sons were a bit older.
When I was married, I dind't really "need" the boys to help, so the thanks and praise were a bit "phony" even though I didn't realize it at the time. When I was working two full-time jobs, however, the thanks and praise were heartfelt, sincere. I was so exhausted and didn't even have time to do everything - believe me my gratitude was sincere, which turned out to be the key. I cried the first time I came home at midnight after my second shift and the dishes were in the dishwasher, the trash was out and MY laundry had been washed and folded waiting on the couch. (My youngest started doing the laundry in 6th/7th grade.)

The other thing that is so important -- again my children were a bit older -- is to ask them to do something in a way where they are being considered and have some control, such as "When you get a chance would you please take the trash out?" This works wonderfully because it shows them respect and lets them be responsible and pitch in on their own schedule. I did't care if the trash wasn't taken out till the next day or even the next, just don't flip out about it not being done on YOUR schedule, don't nag, don't take it out yourself and gripe. Let them do it in their own time, thank them, and amazingly they get to it faster and without you even asking. But never take it for granted, never stop saying thank you or telling them how awsome they are. (It has a great effect on their friends as well. I had all these kids helping around my house because I sincerely appreciated it and gushed about how awsome they were.)

On the schedule thing, here's the deal, I wouldn't like it or respond well or perhaps at all if I was engaged in something, say TV, and someone told me to do something and "do it now!" Would you? Our children are no different. I'd be happy to help if someone said "would you please do this when you get the chance or when you get back?" This is very important for teens and preteens.

Friends and coworkers were always amazed at how much and how easily my teenage and preteen sons helped out; they would say they always had to nag their kids to get them to do anything.
Well, I wouldn't recommend divorce, two full-time jobs or raising them alone -- but the experience sure opened my eyes.
Bottom line: sincere thanks, letting them know how awsome you think they are, and letting them do it on their schedule.

"Thank you so much" is a better reward and incentive than money or anything else.

Good luck, if this doesn't help now, keep it in mind for those pre-teen and teenage years; they'll go a lot smoother.

P.S. When it comes to their rooms, respect that everyone has a different personality. Don't expect a pack rat or a person who is not a neat freak to keep his room immaculate -- again, teens. Respect that it is their space and close the door if you can't stand it. As long as they respect that other parts of the house are shared space and will be maintained.

1 mom found this helpful

My 5yo boy puts the silverware away from the dishwasher and can help fold laundry. The silverware also helps with sorting and such. That is how he earns allowance and he helps feed our two dogs. And also, I found that he can help with vacuuming and dusting and most of those kind of things. I hope this helps. Good luck!

These are just my oppinions.... I think you are right in that kids need to help around the house (like making their beds and picking up toys) without being paid to do so. IF a child "needs" money then they can do extra chores (like washing the trash cans) to earn the money. Everyone should be a contributing memeber of the family.

As for the discipline.. every child is different and that "trigger" will change over time. If taking her dogs away works now then use it! Later it might be taking away a sport activity. What ever you chose to use... stick with it. If you give in she wins and the fight is that much bigger next time. It kinda sounds like the step mom is willing to work with you, great! Work things out with her and dad before hand and let them know what her discipine is for the time being so they help you. If not this could become a situation where she can manipulate everyone.

Your daughter sounds like my daughter! Here is what we started out doing, as far as chores anyway. I put a poster board up and put down a few "must do's", chores she has to do everyday: make her bed, take her dishes to the sink, feed the cats, put her dirty clothes in the hamper. For each of those she gets 10 cents. Then she has another set of chores the "extra's", help sort laundry, help clear the whole table, make her younger brother's bed, etc. For each of those she earns 25 cents. I agree that some things should just be done around the house, but I also believe in teaching children the value of money. She has three jars for her money, one for spending, one for saving, and one for giving. You can decide what percent goes in each one.
As far as discipline we started a marble jar. Everytime she does something the first time we tell her, or if she does something extra nice for her brother, or is just really well behaved, she gets a marble in her jar. When she misbehaves or doesn't listen, or argues with us, we take a marble away. When she fills the marble jar up, she gets a special prize, It isn't anything huge, lunch out with just mom or dad, a trip to the ice cream store, etc. We've found what she likes the reward to be the best is some one on one time with her dad or I.
Good luck!

My daughters started at age 4. My oldest was unloading the dishwasher (granted, everything that was too high to put away, was just put on the counter) The other ones we tried were, unloading the dryer and putting them on the couch, and dusting or wiping things down with clorox wipes (which they love!!) We started at one dollar of every year they were old. I hope this helps.

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