Summer Jobs

The boys decided months ago that they wanted to attend skateboard camp at the skate park that is near our house. They oohed and ahhed over the tricks they observed each time we passed and set their hearts on becoming skateboarders.

Troy and I didn’t want to just hand the equipment and experience over to them, so we told them if they could each earn a specific amount of money towards the camp, we’d supplement the rest. It is really important to us that they learn how to work hard. Working towards skateboard camp seemed like the perfect motivation for them to hunker down on their jobs.

I’ve used several different job systems to track their progress including checklists and zones and even a fancy magnet board with tiered levels. But the thing with systems is, over time, they lose appeal. I read a book recently called “The Parenting Breakthrough” by Merrilee Boyack. She echoed the idea that using the same method of assigning chores all the time is incredibly dull. We don’t serve the same meal day after day or wear the same clothes day after day or see the same movies week after week, so it’s no wonder the kids lose interest in job systems over time.

All this time I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect job system that would last forever, when in reality, we’re going to switch it up many, many times during these boys’ lives. Given their ages and schedules during this particular summer, I took down our fancy magnet board and decided to simplify.

They each have a clipboard that they carry around with them while working. I stick notecards with their jobs for the day in the “to do” envelope each morning and they move them to the “done” envelope when they are completed. That’s it.

Once all of their notecards are moved to “done” each day, they earn some money towards skateboard camp.

Even though the system is simple and straightforward, I am still greeted with plenty of reluctance and complaining. Shocking, right?

That’s where the job jar comes in.

That thing works miracles.

When the boys complain about a job, instigate a fight, talk back to me, use potty language, etc., I calmly tell them to go pick a job from the job jar. It saves me from nagging and yelling and reminds the boys to make better choices next time so they don’t get stuck with additional jobs. And it makes our house a lot cleaner.

Most of the jobs are chores that involve cleaning a surface or dusting a piece of furniture or helping in the kitchen. I drew some very amateur pictures to help Nash, who isn’t fully reading yet, decipher the tasks.

But I had to sprinkle a few fun jobs in there for good measure.

This one is my personal favorite:

This is Blake’s favorite. Thereโ€™s got to be some mercy in there too, right?

Blake and Nash been working hard to fill up their jars with hard earned dollar bills. They’re even doing homework without complaining which is always a success in my book!

These boys’ expressions make me laugh.

Skateboard camp, here we come.


  • Stephanie August 1, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Great ideas. I think I'm going to have to copy them!

  • Shawn August 13, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Sorry it took so long for me to read this post! What great ideas!!!

  • Leave a Reply

    I accept the Privacy Policy