Monday, April 5, 2010
Kids & Money: Commissions (Part 1)
After reviewing the materials from FPU Junior, we recently started a commission system for our 4 year old, Troy. When setting up a system in your house, there are several things to consider.
Age - The age of the child will make a big difference in the quantity and types of jobs you assign. It will probably also greatly affect their willingness to participate. One of the reasons I agree with starting young is the overwhelming willingness of young children to do simple tasks around the house. They like doing some thing that makes them feel more grown up and are still interested in pleasing their parents.
Making sure the jobs you chose are age appropriate will also affect their willingness to participate. If you make it too hard or too easy, you lose out on the teachable moments. There are a lot of non-money life issues you can teach through this process too. Our job is to raise responsible members of society, so take advantage of this opportunity.
Number - How many jobs you chose for your child will depend on their age, the needs of the family, and the amount you are willing to pay your child each week. We're going based on the general idea of 1 job per year of age. Since some jobs are only once a week, though, there is actually much more than that you can include on the list.
Frequency - How often a job needs to be done is an important consideration. While the idea is to have the kids help with chores and learn to equate work with money, you also don't want them repeating a job over and over just to get an extra buck. On the other end of the spectrum, you don't want to give your child a job that needs to be done daily if you don't think they will be responsible with it or have the time to complete it daily.
One thing we're doing to address this issue is reevaluating the job list every week. After "pay day", I take a look at whole is coming in the week ahead, what needs to be done, and how much time my child will have to complete the task. I'll talk about that more in my next post.
Value - Depending on how much you are willing to part with each week, you need to decide a dollar amount for each job. If you child is really young, you will probably want to assign one figure that applies across the board - for us it is $0.25 per job. If your kids are a little older, you can let the wage associated with the job relate to the difficulty of the job. I think we will probably increase the value along with the frequency as my kids get older.
Time - When you are looking at a list of jobs that need to be done, it's important to factor in your family routine and how much time you will have each week. If you kids are in school several days a week, they aren't going to have as much time to do the jobs assigned than if they are younger and home with mom 24-7. Be careful not to set your kids up for failure. Don't give them a time sensitive job like collecting all the trash for the week if your kid has dance class the night before.
Don't forget that you have to have patience with really young children. Some times there best effort to do a job leaves you a little extra work in the end, but it's the lesson that matters not the chore.
In part 2 of Kids & Money: Commissions, I'll share what we are doing with our 4 year old!!!