Do Your Kids Do Chores?

I recently saw an article on Yahoo! that said only 28% of today’s kids do chores versus 82% of kids from our generation.

I don’t know about you, but I had chores when I was growing up.  I took care of our pets, washed the dishes, and helped clean the house ALL day on Saturdays.  (I still have nightmares about cleaning each and every slat on our huge stereo.)

My kids are definitely part of the 28% of today’s kids who have chores.  My 10 year old is responsible for doing three chores a day including things like vacuuming the living room or his bedroom, emptying the dishwasher, and cleaning the bathroom.  My younger kids are 6 and 5, and they’re responsible for two chores a day including picking up their toys, cleaning their rooms, putting away clean clothes, and feeding the cat.

Kids do ChoresWe have our kids do chores because we want them to learn to be self-sufficient, and we want them to understand that there are not always people there to do things for them.  I plan to work with my oldest this summer to teach him how to prepare some basic meals.

Repercussions for Kids Who Don’t Do Chores

But what about the other 72% of kids who don’t do chores?

One of my friends had surgery recently, and she had trouble getting up to prepare her food.  Her boys are 17 and 13, but neither of them could make her anything while her husband was at work because they hadn’t yet learned to cook.  Her son had to go to the store to buy some frozen meals for her.

And herein lies the problem.  “Too often children leave home for college unable to look after themselves adequately.  They have to rely on junk food or expensive ready-made meals” (Yahoo!).

If your children do not have the most basic of skills to care for themselves, when they’re adults their lack of skills can cost them a small fortune.  You likely know of people who don’t know how to cook, so instead they fill their grocery carts with frozen meals or go out to eat every night.

Even worse, your adult child may be so cozy at home that he never leaves!

Parents Sacrifice Now So Greater Rewards Can Come Later

My guess is that many parents don’t give their children chores because training them to do chores properly takes time, sometimes a few weeks to a few months.  It can be a painful process.

Gina Gardiner, author of the Yahoo! article, states, “Many parents I believe are suffering from the ‘It’s quicker, easier and less hassle to do it yourself syndrome.’ Of course, it takes time to teach children how to do chores and a real commitment to motivate children to do the chores and understand why it’s important—but it is well worth the investment.”

I know that is why I have neglected to teach my oldest to cook and why I’m waiting to do so until the summer when we’ll have more time.  Teaching him to cook will require patience on my end (and perhaps his, too), but it will be well worth the time and effort.

Do you require your children to do chores?  If you don’t, why not? 

5 Fun Ways to Educate Your Child about Money This Summer

Ah, summer.  Your kids get to take a break from the school grind, and as a parent, you get to take a break from the homework grind.  While your child will likely have fun hanging out with friends, playing sports, going to the movies, and reading, now is the time for you to sneak in a little summer education.

Teaching our kids about money is one of the most important things we can do as parents.  What our children learn about money and see us do with money will likely affect them for years to come.  This summer, take the time to educate your children about money while making it fun.

TD Bank’s Summer Reading Program

Educate your child about moneyTD Bank has a summer reading program where your kids will earn $10 if they read 10 books.  TD Banks are mainly on the East coast, so not all kids can benefit from the reading program.  However, all kids can take advantage of TD Bank’s summer reading list for kids from Kindergarten to 7th grade.

The list is broken down by grade level, and each book suggested has a financial lesson.  For instance, one of the books for 7th grade is Money Hungry, a story about a young girl who is driven by greed.

TD Bank also has a section for parents that includes a story that you can read to children along with worksheets you can do with them.  In addition, there is a virtual stock game that your kids can play to practice investing in the stock market.

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, Jr.

Dave Ramsey takes his advice and rolls it into a package for children.  Financial Peace, Jr. includes audio CDs as well as a workbook.  There are also cash envelopes, stickers, and other fun activities for kids.  This kit is for kids ages 3 to 12.  When two of my kids were 4 and 8, they loved listening to the CDs and doing the activities.

Nick Jr. Money Games and Activities

If you have little ones who are just starting to learn about money, why not try Nick Jr.’s Money Games and Activities.  These activities primarily help young kids differentiate coins and learn the value of each one.

Star Banks Adventure

T. Rowe Price has created this game as part of their Money Confident Kids program. This game will likely be appealing to kids thanks to the video game-like presentation. Parents will love that the program teaches kids about inflation, saving, spending wisely, and asset allocation, among other topics.  This game is available as an app and as an online game.

Board Games

On a long, hot summer day, nothing beats staying inside playing a board game.  Many classic board games offer your children entertainment AND financial education.  Some of my favorite for this purpose are Monopoly, Life, and Payday.

Use these activities a few times a week, and your child will not only have a fun summer, but one that is filled with financial lessons.

What are your favorite activities and games to teach your kids about money?

5 Ways to Have a Frugal Halloween

While the marketers would like us to think that Halloween should cost a fortune, it doesn’t have to.  On average, Americans in 2013 planned to spend $75.03 on Halloween candy and costumes.  (My guess is those with more than two children will spend significantly more than this, especially if they choose to buy costumes.)

If you use some creativity and resourcefulness, you and your kids can have a fun Halloween without spending a fortune.  Here’s a way to have a ghoulish Halloween without frightening your wallet.

Save Serious Money on Costumes

5 Ways to have a frugal halloween

If you have the cash to spend, you can certainly find costumes at a discount by visiting second hand stores or perusing Craigslist.  However, if you don’t have the money to spend or you simply choose not to, there are still plenty of adorable costumes for your kids:

Use costumes you have around the house.

If you have dress up clothes, those are fair game for a Halloween costume.  Another idea is to use your child’s clothing from extracurricular activities.  Does your son have a little league uniform?  Great, he can be a baseball player.  Does your daughter take dance classes?  She can be a ballerina.  Does your child have a pair of skeleton pajamas?  They could easily double for her Halloween costume.

Marketers want us to think that a child should be able to pick any costume he or she would like for Halloween.  However, you can limit this to whatever type of costume the child can find around the house.

Create your own costume.

With a little creativity (and maybe some face paint), you can likely find a good costume with things you already have around the house.  An old white sheet makes for a great ghost costume and your child’s clothes along with face paint can help create an adorable hobo.  With the help of Pinterest, you’ll find plenty of costume ideas you can make at little to no cost using items around the house.

Have a costume swap.

If you have old costumes that the kids have outgrown or no longer want, why not get together a few of your friends and have a costume swap.  You may leave with a new-to-him costume for your child, and you will have decluttered your home of a few costumes you’ll never use again in the process.

Save on Candy

Reuse candy.

Now, before you get upset with the wording “reuse candy” hear me out.  Buy a bag or two of candy to give to the trick or treaters.   If you have young children, take them early in the night.  When you get home, go through the candy that your kids don’t like.  (As a kid, I hated any candy bars that had nuts in them.)  This candy will likely go in your own mouth if the kids won’t eat it.  Instead, put it in your candy bowl and give it to the trick or treaters at your door.

Turn off the light when the candy is out.

I know some people who live in subdivisions popular with trick or treaters.  These people will buy five, six, seven bags of candy.  That adds up fast!  Instead, buy whatever amount of candy your budget allows.  When you run out, turn off the outside light, turn off the lights in the front of the house, and go settle in to watch a movie or read a good book in the back of the house.  Don’t feel pressured to buy more candy than you comfortably can financially.

What are your favorite tricks to save on Halloween?