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01 April 2014


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Melanie B

Oh I'm totally looking forward to hearing about the results of your experiment. We've been on the fence about the allowance/chores/pocket money thing forever. I do like your method of just plunging in and doing something to try it out. Because I suppose this really is just one of those things that you have to try and see if it works for your family. I keep going round and round in my head trying to piece together the perfect solution, but it does make more sense to give various methods a road test instead of just theorizing. "we would not know if we liked it till we tried it." In fact now that you put it that way, it seems kind of obvious.

I really like the idea of raising the stakes gradually, adding a new item each month. I think it definitely makes sense that the reward be tangible. Too abstract and you might as well not have one.

Amy F

I'm very curious to hear how this goes (and disappointed that I totally forgot to go to the March meeting).

I wish my boys made less overall mess (paper everywhere! always!) but I'm feeling decent about our approach to chores this year. They're expected to do one big thing a day. If it's Saturday, that might mean cleaning the playroom as a group effort. On school days, it's usually sorting and putting away one's own bin of laundry or working with a brother to sort, fold, and put away linens. Sometimes loading or unloading the dishwasher gets in there.

I broke the news to them recently that when the baby comes, they will be expected to have both a dish chore and another chore. We talked about how important it will be for me to rest for a couple weeks and although they weren't excited about it, they understood that one more person = more mess + Mama can do less while recuperating. I'll probably assign the earlier riser to empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning and the oldest to emptying it after supper.

As for allowances, we technically give $1 per year, biweekly, but usually forget, and expect 10% share, 40% spend, 50% "save", which means no instant candy, but larger toys are ok.


I am really interested in hearing how this goes too. We have never had allowances or chores for money or anything like that. I don't like just giving them money, but I would totally fail a chore chart. I'm not home to administer it during the day and nighttime is already crammed full. Perhaps a yes or no easy decision at the end of the day would work out better.

The question about what to do with the child who doesn't care about the money is one I really want to have answered because that was me growing up which drove my mother crazy. You would think I would know what would motivate someone like me not to act like I did, but I don't.

Your link to your assessment to how your actual parenting lines up with your theoretical ideas of parenting is interesting, but I think you left out a category. What is it that you previously thought wouldn't be important that turned into something very important in your parenting? For me, that's probably my largest category which probably just speaks poorly of my prior concepts.


Oh wow, Jenny, that's a great question. I will have to think about that.

Melanie B

Jenny, I think for me that category would be: things I never even gave a thought to previously because they were assumptions but I've now got firm opinions about.

Like baby food. With Bella I hadn't thought much about it at all. Baby food was just what you did, right? And so I gave her rice cereal and food from jar according to the suggested schedule. Then Sophie threw me for a loop by having all sorts of food sensitivities and I started reading up on baby foods and I decided I wasn't all that keen on baby food in a jar after all. By the time Ben came along Bella was three, Sophie was 16 months when he was born. I didn't have time or energy to deal with spooning food into his mouth. I just gave him real food when he was old enough to do it himself. And then Anthony was fairly disinterested in solid foods until he was about 9 or ten months old. So now I'm a huge fan of child-led weaning and am very against that baby food stuff.


"I think for me that category would be: things I never even gave a thought to previously because they were assumptions but I've now got firm opinions about."

That's pretty much what I'm talking about. Things that you took for granted before, but found that assumption blowing up in your face (in the negative) or moving it beyond the initial assumptions into a Very Important Thing (in the positive).

Barbara C.

Thanks for recommending the book Cleaning House. It's just what I needed to read at this time.

We are going through a huge transition, and my kids are going to have to start pitching in more as a matter of necessity. Plus, some of the obstacles that kept them more sheltered and enabled are gone.

I don't know yet if I'll set up a token or allowance system. But it is helping me think about what areas I most want/need them to step up.

A few years ago, I had also made a multi-page check list of life skills that I wanted to make sure each kid had before they graduated high school. That thing has been dust catcher for over a year, but I think it's time to pull it back out this summer.

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