Should I pay my kids for Chores?

Should I pay my kids for Chores?

This is a hot topic among parents and one that has been long debated. One school of thought is that if I start paying my kids for chores they will want me to pay them to do anything around the house. The other thought is kids need money to buy things, why not get some stuff done around the house, you will buy them the things anyway.

What ever camp you are in, let me break down some of the thoughts I have on this subject, and hopefully some of the insight I have had through parenting and grand parenting will shed some light on the subject.

I have long believed that our kids job is to go to school, do their homework and keep their rooms clean. In parenting my children, they were clear on that score. No payment for that job was required, and although special rewards came from certain achievements, no allowance was paid for doing their job. Anything aside from that was open to negotiation.

Why? Well I believe that children do need a sense of accomplishment, and also money to buy things. They go out in the world and earn money doing their job, and that is how the world at large works. So why not teach our children that value of earning money, and the responsibilities that go with that.

Paying an allowance or agreed upon amounts for certain jobs brings with it the accountability for those said funds. Let’s say that your child wants a certain type of running shoe that is not necessary to their everyday life. My son collected Air Jordon’s and I was not going to buy them more than once a year. My son would just about any chore for his shoe fund. Another child of ours like to save money for a rainy day, which could mean pizza, candy, movies with friends.

Whatever system you create to compensate your child, it must be fair, realistic and most of consistent. Here are some tips that will help you create a balance between their “job” in life and pay for money chores.

Sit down as a family and be clear about what your expectations are of your child at home/school. I suggest you make yearly contracts that outline what the expectations are, with both you and your child signing that agreement. Secondly, openly talk about what you would be willing to pay for certain chores. Make sure you write up a weekly schedule that outlines the non negotiables first. After that you can add the agreed upon chores for cash. Whether it is a weekly amount or pay by chore, outline that system on a schedule. I call it the map to success. You are creating a guideline of expectations that will create accountability for both parties. Accountability creates clarity, the key to success in any relationship.
Communication is the foundation of a relationship, but the companion to that foundation is clarity. Knowing what is wanted and expected creates choice, thereby creating dialogue.

Get your child in the habit of keeping track of his/her money. I suggest you have them start a bank account and save a portion of all money they earn. If they save 40%, give 10% (charity or church) and spend 50%, it gives them a good idea of how life works. Balancing out their financial wellbeing by fostering an attitude of intention, planning and generosity gives them a head start in this long journey we go on as adults. Make sure fun is scheduled in their lives, we become so forgetful of simple laughter and joy as adults, your kids will rub off on you!

Family dinner table traditions

Family dinner table traditions

Many studies have been done on the benefits of eating dinner together as a family. I think it creates connection and culture within a family. Here are some of the benefits that the studies have found.

  1. When families eat together, everyone tends to eat healthier.Children are often eating more vegetables and healthier choices as they are part of the meal ritual and are being encouraged to eat the food provided.
  2. Children tend to eat more fruits and vegetables when they frequently have dinner with their families. Meal planning and healthier foods are made when a family sit down dinner is part of the daily routine.
  3. Children are less likely to be overweightParent are usually monitoring portions and what their kids are eating when they come together at dinner time on a frequent basis
  4. Children get better grades. I believe this is because parents are asking how school is, what is the status of homework or projects, and maybe even what difficulties they are facing at school. Positive feedback and encouragement goes a long way to better grades.
  5. Children have better language skillscompared to kids from families who do not have the check ins and family bonding time at the dinner table. It’s good for emotional health to share and care while socializing over a meal.
  6. Children who eat together at mealtime with their family report feeling happierand are more optimistic about the future. The family dining table provides stability, continuity and routine so badly needed in these formative years.
  7. Eating together can decrease stress levels of all the family, including working parents. Knowing that you can come home to a loving family and share a meal gives a family member the chance to shed their cares and connect with those they love.
  8. Eating together gives family members the chance to communicate and build relationships with each other. It can also promote your children creating mealtime traditions with their friends at school, as lunchtime can be stressful for school children. Bonding with friends over a meal can create the chance to build relationships and trust.

Although this may sound simple, it really is one of the best ways to ensure the emotional health of your family.

Some simple tips to create a fun zone at mealtimes are;

Involve your kids in meal planning

Get your kids cooking with you

Try different recipes that are from different cultures

Invite guests to your dinner table and cook a family favourite recipe

Make the dinner table an electronics free zone

Encourage a peaceful kind atmosphere at the dinner table

Adopting a vegetarian lifestyle

Adopting a vegetarian lifestyle

So, you are thinking about becoming a vegetarian? There is a lot to think about. Let’s start out with an understanding of what being a vegetarian means. There are a few categories.

  1. Lacto Vegetarian – no animal products except for dairy.
  2. Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian- no animal products except for dairy and eggs.
  3. Pescatarian- (Veganish)No animal products except for dairy, eggs and fish.
  4. Vegan- No animal products
  5. Raw Vegan- No animal products and food not cooked above 48C or 118F

Hopefully this will dispel any confusion over Vegetarian terms. The most important thing when considering vegetarianism is to research the topic extensively. Are you ready for the commitment? Can you afford to buy the supplies needed?

If you are still game, then let’s start with the basic way to get started. I suggest you start with one meal a day for one month. Breakfast is a good start, and it is the easiest way to get familiar with eliminating common elements of your diet. Dairy is a hot topic for many vegetarians. Dairy advocates will say that it is mother’s milk and gives you a good source of iron/calcium. It is mother’s milk, but for a calf, not human. Milk is one of the leading causes of inflammation, and that can result in many ailments that are caused by an inflammatory internal environment. If you can switch to Almond or Coconut milk, it will make a huge difference to your overall health. There are many healthy alternatives to dairy products and I would encourage you to have an open mind about exploring them. I have seen eczema, psoriasis, and arthritis become almost non existent in those that left dairy in the past.

Start with breakfast, and get some great smoothie recipes. There are many breakfast meals that vegetarians can enjoy. Oatmeal with dates, waffles, muffins (high fibre), fruit salad and granola.

Once you eliminate the bad fats from products such as bacon, sausage, fast food that are simple carbs, you will notice how much sharper you feel in the morning. Upon rising drink some hot water with lemon, this gets your system flushed out. Plan out your breakfast the night before, and enjoy all the different flavours fresh food can provide.

Next, start dropping one animal product a week. I recommend you start with red meat, and eliminate that over the next four weeks. You will feel a great deal of resistance to this, as it is surprising that once you make up your mind to eliminate something, it shows up in abundance. Don’t shame yourself, but rather recommit to the goal of becoming a vegetarian.  Every month replace another meal, until you have eliminated animal products altogether.  Get recipe books, and join an online community if it will inspire you to stick with your new lifestyle.

Overall becoming a vegetarian will help reduce bad fats, salt and sugar from your diet. Blood pressure, diabetes, weight issues, heart disease and skin disorders will be greatly reduced. Vegetarian lifestyle is great for the environment, both inside and out. As many Tibetans say, being a vegetarian is a peaceful way to live life!

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