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Sunday, September 25, 2022
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FranklyStein: How to get kids to work

Recently my husband and I were lamenting the lack of work ethic in our house.

It seemed like pulling teeth to get the kids to help out around the house or to even do anything to earn a buck.

Our 11-year-old son was hired last fall to mow our neighbor’s lawn. It’s easy money and he liked the idea at first, but when the time came to actually do the work, he’d rather forgo the cash and bag the whole proposition.

But since he agreed to the job, we are making him do it anyway.

Meantime he’s also supposed to be mowing our lawn. It started last year as a means of paying off a debt, but once that was over, we started paying him a small stipend (half of what he’s making next door for twice the size lawn). It worked for a while, but then not so much. He was “too tired” when it came time to mow.

Until last week, that is, when something amazing happened.

Maggie, who is 13 and suddenly highly motivated by money, jumped at the opportunity to mow for cash.

And as soon as Adam saw Maggie out mowing, he wanted his old job back. Luckily, we have more than one mower so we put them both to work.

And when Lilly caught wind of this, she wanted a way to earn money too. So she proposed cleaning up the third-floor playroom for cash. And when the time came, she put dibs on mowing their grandfather’s lawn.

All it took was a little competition and suddenly everyone is willing to work. Unless, of course, it’s a job that doesn’t pay, like cleaning their rooms, taking out the trash or emptying the dishwasher.

Anyone have ideas for ways to get them to fight over who gets to do those tasks?

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 13, Lilly, 11, Adam, 11, and Jonah, 7.

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