Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Our little helper

I am loving and cherishing the age Colin is right now. He loves to be doing what you're doing - no matter what it is.

Today James and I were installing our new baseboards in our living room. Colin watched us for a few minutes, then proceeded to pick up one of the cut boards, find his little plastic hammer, and wander off to install it in the kitchen. He put the board up against the wall, wiggled it around until it "fit", and then hammered it in place. Then he came to get another piece of board. It was priceless.

Then while we were barbecuing up lunch, I thought Colin might enjoy playing with the leaves. We gave him a broom (he LOVES to sweep up around the house!) and showed him how to sweep all the leaves to the edge of the deck, and then how to pick up the piles and toss them onto the lawn. He was having a blast. My two-year old loves to do chores!

Which leads me to an interesting article I read yesterday about chores and allowance. The article is part of a "Thumb's Up/Thumb's Down" series that explores both sides of an issue. The result for me was that I was very torn on an question I previously would have considered an easy answer. I ended up with three very valid courses of action.

1. Weekly chores are performed for a predetermined allowance. It teaches children that money doesn't grow on trees, and that you need to work to earn things you want to buy. If you don't do the work, you don't get the reward.

2. When kids want to buy something, they perform a chore decided by the parent. The more money the kids would like, the bigger the chore to perform. There is no set weekly chore and no set weekly dollar amount. Regular weekly chores might be a part of this program, but not to earn a reward. The children are taught that things like cleaning a room or setting the table are part of being a family.

3. A regular allowance is given out just as an allowance. It is not based on performance of any chore. The idea is that money management is a skill to be taught and shouldn't be tied to work for young children. That way if the child decides it's not worth working for money, they still are able to learn some money management skills. Regular weekly chores also might be a part of this program, but again, not tied to the receipt of money, but rather as being part of the household.

Obviously we don't have to think about this for a couple of years, at least. But the article was food for thought, as James and I have all these decisions to make concerning raising our family.

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