Nerdy dad doing nerdy things with nerdy kids and nerdy wife about household chores.

What possible loopholes or unintended consequences do you see in this Household Chorestitution?

It was written in consultation with the kids. Parts of it were their ideas.

Hm. I was expecting something called “Chorestitution” to involved choreography and restitution. A dance about restorative justice maybe?

I was sure it was going to be about sex in exchange for housework.

Are children under ten supposed to comprehend this document? Just curious.

Not really–the explanation to our five year olds is purely verbal, but they’ll grow into understanding it as they learn more and more about reading.

Here are a few a few things that occurred to me after going over the document:

“I.d One unit of Screen Time is 30 minutes of time spent with attention chiefly
on moving figures on an electronic screen.”

So websites with text only (for example, don’t count has screen time?
What happens if a teacher assigns your child a project that requires the use of the
internet. Does this count as screen time?

“III.a.i Dad will determine these assignments”
“VI.a.i Dad will determine these assignments”

Suggest you change these lines to:
“Dad will determine these assignments. If Dad is not available then Mom will determine these assignments.”

A couple of questions that occur to me:

This looks like will take some effort to keep track of all the chores and credits. Are you planning
on having one of the children be an accountant and paying them an extra credit?

Can the children trade tasks? (For example “I’ll rake the leaves if you vacuum the carpet.”)

Can one child loan credits to another? To help keep things simple I would suggest you make a
rule that says that credits can’t be loaned.

Also suggest you add:
“Any attempt to cheat this system or steal money or credits with result in the forfeiture of
all credits and/or money earned by cashing in credits.”

  • X. L. Lent

Thanks for reminding me–I did mean to have a provision in there that the older kids can trade assignments, either for credits or assignments, and can determine the value themselves. (The younger kids could too easily be taken advantage of so they’re excluded from this). I’ll put that back in!

Keeping track will be done via a chart. (I really want to just do it in excel but the younger ones may understand charts with icons better).

I’ll be changing almost all “dads” to “mom and dad.”

The question of whether reading text is screentime or not is… a question of frequent debate hereabouts, and one of those unfortunate cases where the two parents have not come to an agreement themselves. I am for allowing purely textual reading to count as not screentime. My wife is not sympathetic with that idea. We haven’t decided really. Perhaps the institution of this system will lead to a resolution on that issue…

If so I’ll probably add wording to the effect that time spent with attention chiefly on a screen does not count as screen time if the content on the screen is chiefly text based, with images existing only to support the textual content. (Comics and graphic novels may be a fuzzy area here but, contrary to the impression this document might give, we’re big on an ethos of reasonableness and kindness in interpretation so I’m not too worried. If we need to nail it down we will, through the amendment process.)

Definitely no loans.

Very good questions thanks!

Glad I could help.

I just noticed an error in my last suggestion. It should have read:
“Any attempt to cheat this system or steal money or credits will result in the forfeiture of
all credits and/or money that was earned by cashing in credits.”

I’ll be changing almost all “dads” to “mom and dad.”
Suggest you make this “mom or dad”. Otherwise both of you would have
to be present when tasks are assigned.

Another idea just occurred to me that might resolve the text / moving image issue. For example,
the child could redeem one credit for 30 minutes of time for moving images or 60 minutes of time for
text websites. Homework assignments will be exempt from this rule.
(Perhaps I missed something in the document, but I don’t see what the exchange rate is for credits
being converted to screen time.)

One more question:
What would happen to old credits when the child reaches his/her 8th birthday? It seems to me
child would probably hold on to his/her credits in the months leading up to his/her birthday knowing
that they would soon double in value.
Hope this all works out well for the Frylock family.

That looks to me like a feature, not a bug. Delayed gratification is one of the most important lessons a kid can be taught.

When I read this I get the impression that the children can sell their chores to each other for money. Am I correct in thinking a child who doesn’t want to do chores can simply pay a sibling to do them? And what if sibling A pays sibling B to do a task, and B doesn’t complete the task. Who gets fined? What if younger sibling B doesn’t do as good a job on the task as you’d expect from older sibling A?

And if a child doesn’t use their allotted Screen Time, the time goes back into the communal bank? Shouldn’t it go into the child’s personal account?

Why not? They’re the only ones who intuitively know how to program the touchpad on the microwave.

Good point, we’ll have to formalize that. Buying someone’s chore assignment will mean it’s now assigned to you for that day, and you’ll be fined if you don’t complete it.

This is part of why the exchange is only available to the older kids. But in the large scale, I am not worried about this–it will only count as “done” when I say it’s done.

No, because screen time is given in exchange for paying the “tax”. So it’s basically that you have a choice. You have to spend a credit a day either on screen time or on the communal savings project.

I already know which kids will contribute and which will not, and I’m okay with all of this.

I thought it was probably going to be some sort of a prostitution fantasy between a married couple.

Are you at risk here of creating whiny children who expect to be micro-rewarded for each little thing they do, instead of recognising their obligation to do things for the collective good as part of their free contribution to basic household maintenance? I recall hearing apparently knowledgable types on the radio say that bargaining for screen time is not a good idea.

Is there a risk here of creating whiny children who expect to be micro-rewarded for every little thing, instead of understanding that chores are their voluntary contribution to basic household maintenance?

I recall hearing from apparently knowledgable people on the radio that we shouldn’t be bargaining screen time.

And here it is.

Sorry about the almost-double post. Original seemed to disappear, then reappeared mysteriously.