I Pay My Kids to Help Clean Up…In Other Words, I Give Them an Allowance
There’s so much trash floating around in outer space that it’s damaging satellites and posing a hazard to astronauts. Old satellites, spent rocket stages, pieces of space craft. There are over 19,000 pieces of debris over 5cm in orbit around Earth. This is because the space program was run by all men. Because no mom would ever let it get like that. That famous sound bite would’ve been,” (STATIC) “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”(STATIC) “Neil, you’re not just going to leave this mess here?”(STATIC) “Who do you think is going to clean this up?” And now NASA has launched a campaign to encourage women to join the space program. Sure, they call us in to clean up the mess.
Maybe if the powers-that-be at NASA had gotten an allowance as children, there'd be less mess.
As a mom of three, all day long I'd find myself picking up everything from Legos to beads to apple cores. It's understandable with a toddler. But with two eight year-olds?
How do I teach my kids to clean up after themselves? I'm finding that bribery helps.
I pay my 8 year-old twins $4 a week in allowance each. In return, they need to make their beds, keep their rooms neat, feed the dogs (one handles breakfast, one handles dinner) and generally clean up after themselves. Then they also had to choose one more chore. My daughter helps me with my almost two year-old son while I'm making dinner, and my son brings out the recycling each week. Anything beyond that, like weeding the garden or shoveling the walk, will earn more.
Some mothers say that they don't believe in an allowance. They believe that kids need to learn that they are part of a family and that a family works together to keep the household running. That's a great theory. And when Laura Ingalls Wilder was a kid and the crops had to harvest before the first frost or they'd all starve to death, I think that was enough of a motivator. I've found it doesn't work that well in practice circa 2013.
You might say, "I spend enough money on these @#$% kids already! I'm not paying them, too!" Maybe on a really bad day, that's what you'd say. On a good day you might just say, "Kids are expensive enough as it is, nice lady." I've found that now that my kids are earning their own money, I'm actually spending less because they ask me for less stuff when we're out at a store. Pre-allowance, every time we went to the supermarket or pharmacy they were asking for candy or a little stuffed animal or a toy. Now before we leave I say, "Bring your wallet if you think you're going to want to buy something." Most of the time when they have to reach into their own wallets, they decide that big-eyed purple tiger cub isn't worth the five bucks. Which brings the added bonus of my not having to add to the pile of big eyed dogs, penguins, giraffes, etc. that are already taking over my kids' rooms.
So that's my two cents. Or, um, eight bucks.