How We Use Chores to Prevent Entitled Kids
Do you worry about raising entitled kids? I did too. Then we started this system and it's drastically reduced my fears while teaching my kids responsibility.
My 7 year old is responsible for buying more than probably all of his friends combined:
- School Lunches
- Clothing (including shoes, coats, underwear, etc.)
- Eating Out
- School Activities (T-Shirts for Field Trips, donations for class supplies)
- Birthday Presents for friends
- Teacher Gifts (Christmas, Valentines, End of Year)
- Cub Scout Extra Activities (Go See Its, Zoo, etc.)
- Sports (Baseball, Soccer)
- Toys and fun stuff
He also goes to school in high-water jeans with holes in the knees and shoes that show more wear than most of you would like on your own shoes, but let me tell you why I'm not stressing about it.
After being fed up with the spoiled, rotten, little, entitled kids that we had created (we were well-intentioned but misguided), my husband and I discovered a book called The Entitlement Trap by Richard and Linda Eyre and devoured it. It was so enlightening and humbling.
We changed the Eyre's system just slightly to fit our needs a little better but not much. So here's how we are shaping our entitled kids into responsible little human beings.
Kids Start at Age 7
Each kid on their 7th birthday gets to start the "Peg Chart". (Before that, we're basically just teaching them how to do chores but giving them an allowance.) Each child gets one of these charts:
Each peg represents, not just one, but a set of responsibilities.
Peg 1: Morning Peg = $1
- Wake up on time on your own
- Eat breakfast and clean up your mess
- Get dressed
- Brush your teeth
- Make your bed
- Be ready for the day at the appropriate time (differs from summer to school-time)
Peg 2: Afternoon Peg = $1
- Have quiet time (during summer while little ones nap)
- Practice piano
- Clean up lunch or after school snack mess
Peg 3: Zone Peg = $1
- Do the chores that are on your chore chart before bedtime or when told
Peg 4: Evening Peg = $1
- Clean up your mess after dinner
- Take a shower
- Brush teeth
- Be ready for bed before bedtime
Arguments are Settled with the Family Book
And when there are arguments over expectations and responsibilities, we consult the handy family book.
It's all spelled out there in black and white, so no one is confused.
How We Decided How Much to Pay our Kids
So how did we come up with each peg being worth $1? Well, thanks to YNAB, we were able to go through our categories and add up how much we were spending on each kid in a year. Then we divided by 30 days, and it ended up being about $3-4 a day, which was perfect for our little system. (You can make the pegs worth whatever you want.)
Each day, the kid is supposed to fill out a "peg slip" before bedtime, have it signed, and put it in the "treasure chest". Every Saturday is the beloved payday where we count up slips and put money into their categories in YNAB.
No Nagging, No Reminding
And here's the kicker: it's completely their responsibility. We cannot nag, remind, or even suggest that he do his pegs. We let natural consequences play their role and are truly sympathetic when necessary.
"Wow, that seems harsh," I can hear you saying. Yes, I know, it really kind of is. But is it as harsh as an entitled kid growing up to become an 18-year-old boy getting a car repossessed...and blaming his mother? Is it as harsh as a 20-year-old having a dozen open credit cards, struggling to make minimum payments...and getting dear ol' dad to bail him out?
The stakes are low right now for my wee children. I want them to learn the lessons now while they don't come at such a high price later.
Help teach your kids about money with a free YNAB video series. Each video comes with an activity sheet and is perfect for elementary-aged kids.