Dave and I decided that when Milo entered Kindergarten would be a good time to begin having him learn how to manage a little bit of money. We initially planned to just give him a small weekly allowance and teach him about taking care of it, saving some, and spending wisely. Around when he started school this year I also realized that both Milo and Eliot were old enough to do some regular chores around the house. They had been keeping up with some routines: bedtime stuff, picking up the playroom, etc. but none of the expected chores were written down, and I hadn’t yet branched out into letting them help with some of the bigger household duties, like cleaning the floors and bathrooms. With these two progress milestones on the horizon, I thought combining the chores and the money into one simple system would be the easiest way for us all to keep track of these new little responsibilities. What I came up with after looking a bunch online and talking to some good friends is The Star Chart, a simple chore and earning system for young kids. If after reading you think this will work for you too, click HERE to download the free star chart (without names, of course).
The system is simple, and has some features that I couldn’t find in any of the other charts and systems I found. There are four expected chores each day in our house: The boys must stay in their beds all night every night and make them in the morning, put all of their dirty clothes into the laundry hamper in their room, clear all of their used dishes into the sink after snacks and meals, and pick up all of the toys in the play room every night before bed. For each day that each of those tasks is completed consistently, they get a star. Additionally, there are two other ways to earn bonus stars. They can complete any or all of the extra chores listed down the right, like vacuuming the floor, wiping a bathroom counter, or loading the dishwasher. And, they also get extra stars for having a good attitude, and being kind and happy, listed on their charts as “choose happy!” which is our family theme for this school year. I’ve noticed that since we’ve put the star chart into practice, the boys are more likely to remember their daily chores, and more eager to help with additional ones, as well as to choose happy. They’ll often do something nice for each other then tell me and ask if that mean’s they’ll get an extra star! Now for the translating of stars stickers (which I choose specifically because they’re always available and inexpensive in office supply) into money. Each complete column of daily chores is worth a quarter. That means if they complete every task every day in the week, those chores are worth $1. If they miss a task one day in the week, that column doesn’t earn money that week. In addition to that, each bonus star on the page is worth a quarter. If the daily chores seem minimally funded, the bonus stars definitely make up for it because they can add up fast! Our chart has nine bonus chores and the happy stars are unlimited. Milo has averaged around $4-5 per week so far and Eliot just less than that. I purposely kept the daily chores at low earnings value, because those are expected daily tasks. They are the minimum necessary to contribute to the family’s household maintenance. The extras teach real work ethic because they can really start to earn by taking extra opportunities to help. On occasion I mention that one of the extra chores needs doing and offer it to them before I take care of it myself, but they, Milo especially, is hyper aware of when he can gain some extra stars. It’s been really cool to watch.
Read on to learn how to make the simple star wallets with an illustrated tutorial. Read More