I splurged on the Fisher Kids Responsibility System because I needed a system to encourage all of us to keep the house clean, to teach the kids new things, and to build responsibility.
Here’s what didn’t work:
Magnetic Chore Chart
Written Chore Chart
No Chore Chart
Weekly allowance -we only sometimes remembered to give.
The Fisher Kids belief is “If I fish for a man, he eats for a day. If I teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” -Lao Tzu. Their system is $48 but I got a deal for $20 off. It was still is pricy. BUT I think, worth it.
The Fisher System (Get it, fish– er?):
So, we hung the metal pegboard with hooks where we put a magnetic weekly calendar listing the kids’ responsibilities. Also, we hung up metal buckets with chore sticks which we wrote, a paycheck notepad and 3 vinyl money bags — give, save, spend — for each child.
My husband was a bit irked that I wanted to try this system because we’ve always believed that you do chores because you’re a member of the household. And, you got allowance for just being. This works a bit differently. Kids are paid a commission for completion of all the daily responsibilities. They must fill out a paycheck notepad and turn it in on Sunday to be paid. If they forget, bummer for them, they don’t get paid. And, I must follow through on payday, none of this I’ll pay you later stuff. Everyone is responsible, even my husband and me.
We already have banks with the three compartments – give, spend and save — so that piece isn’t new. Everything else is new to us and so far the girls think it’s awesome. (We’ve started with two chores for the 9 year old per day and 1 for the 6 year old. Completion of responsibilities every day is 50 cents.)
I wrote up chores appropriate for each girl’s age and since we started, everyone has thought of more chore ideas so we’ve been adding more sticks. Some of the chores are a challenge which is great — I can teach each child how to do those chores and work along side her until she masters them. For example, stripping the linen and doing the laundry are challenges right now but won’t be for long.
I think the best part is that this is a system that helps us all stay on task and accountable.
Organization and systems are the key to my happiness as I mentioned in my post on summer organization for learning. I’m feeling very happy! And, if it doesn’t work long-term, it’s at least a great start.
UPDATE 8/2011: We started out strong and loving this system. When our schedule got a bit lax after swim team ended and we took a trip, the chart was forgotten. However, I still like this and will keep it up again now that school is back. My six-year old didn’t find this motivating, probably because she’s just learning about money and it didn’t carry any meaning for her. Stickers would be fine for her. I may change things around this fall.