Teaching Kids Responsibility with Marble Jars


And dividing the marbles by room makes the task easier to split between the two of them when they decide to work as a team. And who doesn’t want to man the central vacuum, when you’re five?! (or almost seven...)

The dishwasher’s another one I had to think about. It’s broken down by rack. Upper rack, lower rack, and utensils -- three possible marbles earned for emptying the dishwasher. The silverware needs to be sorted in the drawer. The plates and bowls stacked neatly on the counter, the glassware placed neatly on the counter (because they’re too short to reach the cupboards where they’re stored), and the plastics in the clean side of the sink to dry.

But three possible marbles. And they fight over who gets to unload the utensil rack.

The most brilliant part of this entire plan? That I don’t have to harp on my kids to do their chores.

Oh, you don’t feel like earning any marbles today? No problem, you won’t be filling your jar very quickly, will you? MuahahaHA!

And if one fills his jar before the other? Then only one child is getting the $10 towards something he wants -- we don’t give out prizes for maybe around this house, and my kids are going to learn that they have to earn their rewards fair and square. (This depressing and baffling culture of entitlement that has cropped up in society is a rant for another day... possibly two.)

Anyhow. What has this accomplished?

Well, in the last two months there’s been a change -- they actively seek things to do for marbles. They voluntarily do chores they know constitute marbles, and then politely request one once the task is finished(!).

They ask if there’s anything they can do to help, when Mr. Lannis and I are cleaning out the garage, or sorting through clothes for stuff outgrown. They suggest tasks if they see something that could be done (my youngest asked the other day if he could have a marble if he tidied the van -- dumped all the garbage and recycling cluttering up the floor, and put the toys back in their basket... hells yes!).

All in all, we’re delighted with this system. I’m not the house slave one picking up after everyone, and the boys are learning independence, life skills, and a touch of respect for what it takes to keep a house, uh, close to ship shape (let’s pretend, ha!).

And they are proud!

Just wait until someone realizes he’s lightyears behind his little brother... hehe...


Regular Saturday poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than Sandi's (but she still loves me.)

[Sandi: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.



The Mrs Is a mostly joint Sandi and Leslie enterprise in at-least-she-amuses-herself blogging about housewifery, general cheapskatery, and butter. Forgive us if the occasional poem to Terry Pratchett or JordanCon costume post sneaks in there too.


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