In the past, we have been minute counters in the summer: 30 minutes of reading, 20 minutes of math, and 10 minutes of writing every day. The kids also had a daily chore. By the end of the summer I felt like a stop watch and I was making up random jobs. It was not fun.
This summer, we tried something different. Both kids are trying to earn enough money for some big ticket items: a Switch for Evan and a Go for Issa. We made a list of things they could do. Some were weekly payouts: reading for 140 minutes a week, being active for at least 60 minutes a day, etc. Some where single time projects: reading a book off a carefully chosen list, completing computer coding modules, or designing and completing STEAM projects.
It was a rocky start. We realized we had to pay cold hard cash on completion. The magic number on a piece of paper wasn't concrete enough for Evan. We had to make smaller goals because big projects were over-whelming. We negotiated some books that didn't make the list but could have. We finally found a groove and the kids are happy to be working steadily towards their goals.
Here was the game-changer for me, though: they are cleaning the house! I divided the weekly cleaning tasks, and they each have one a day. At the end of the week, if they have done their half of the cleaning they get $5. It's amazing. The first couple of weeks about killed me. My idea of clean and their ideas of clean did not line up. You forget what it is like to learn to clean: there is such a thing as too much cleaning product. But...they have gotten really good at it! I have time to keep up with the laundry and the dishes and my sanity because the routine cleaning is getting done by them. They are also a lot neater because they understand the pain of getting toothpaste spots off the mirror.
The best part: we are keeping the schedule in the fall! It's the cheapest cleaning service ever, and we all think we are getting the better end of the deal. I'll call that a win!