In the days when our children were little, I used to jokingly wish we could afford to hire a maid once in a while to help with routine household chores.
Well, that maid never made her appearance. Instead, we decided to hire our own boys. Why not pay them to do work that we would be willing to pay someone else to do? Suddenly our live-in mess-makers became live-in maids (or butlers?) as well!
Initially it took time to train them, and then to encourage them and inspect their work, but it turned out to be a good investment of our time. At ages 8, 6, and 4, our boys were doing almost all the laundry chores, caring for animals, cleaning sinks, vacuuming and dusting, emptying wastebaskets, helping with meals, and quite a few other jobs that merely require diligence, time, and a little training. As parents, we gained extra time for other responsibilities, and we greatly appreciated the much-needed help in times of illness or extra pressure.
We didn’t pay the kids very much, and we had them do some chores without pay, just because that’s part of contributing to the household. But we did pay them for some of these extra duties. Not only did we gain their help, but paying them gave us the opportunity to teach them many valuable lessons about working and money.
The boys learned many things:
- Diligence and faithfulness in doing a job well
- Skills in performing many household duties
- How to save money
- How to tithe
- How to spend money wisely
- The reality of no money when they didn’t work
- How to identify different coins and their value
- Addition, subtraction, and multiplication
- Training as an employee
The Service Opportunities chart helped us with this process. We developed and used this simple chart with our four oldest starting when they were ages 8, 6, 4, and 2, and we were amazed at the amount of time it saved us!
Do you involve your children in household chores? What has worked best for you?