Topping the Charts

by Mindy Lockard on July 21, 2010

On Sunday while flipping through the American Girl catalog with her bright blue marker and Christmas eyes, Elle yelped…

You’ve got to be kidding me!

Apparently American Girl now has a webkinz like feature where you invest–and I mean invest– in a doll that lives in the real world and also has a persona in cyber world on the American Girl campus.


Needless to say Elle couldn’t get this off of her mind or mine because I was haunted by

Pleeeeaaassseee Mooooooom?

I just love it?

Can we buy one now?

How about now?


As a girl who babysat for an entire summer to buy her first pair of Guess zipper jeans, I decided to strike-up a deal…

You can earn your doll. But it’s not going to be easy. We’ll create a chart for chores and attitude. You can earn 10 cents per item with the ability to make 1 dollar a day. Are you up for it?


Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed how “up for it”
she was/is. A-MAZ-ING! This little venture has turned my darling, yet not naturally gifted in the “What can I do to help you mom?” with a supernatural sense for what’s “not fair”, into the most helpful and pleasant child. A sunny disposition most welcome on what sometimes can feel like never-ending summer days.
And in her own words…

I think this will help me form better habits!

In a perfect world she would behave this way without any incentive but as her father reminded me…

This is Capitalism at it’s finest!

He calls it capitalism, I call it Beautiful with a capital B!


For our system it was important for her to learn:

1. How to work hard for something over a longer period of time– this is going to take everyday for about 3 months. Trust me she has enough immediate gratification in her everyday life.
2. The chores should be a balance of contributing to the household and personal growth
3. That she take personal responsibility for the chart and following through.

What have you found that helps you help your children to contribute to the home and have a good attitude while doing it?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy Stevens 07.22.10 at 7:16 am

I love that you’ve included obeying your parents and no complaining. My son has been asking for some sort of allowance system. I think we’re going to make our own version today! Do the different colors mean anything? Are you going to continue during the school year with a new goal? Thanks for blogging your chart!

Mindy Lockard 07.22.10 at 7:59 am

Hi, Amy,
The colors are just what Elle likes to do. Yes, we do plan to continue this into the school year… probably not with an american girl as a prize… thinking Christmas Money.

Julie 07.22.10 at 9:20 am

We’ve been gaga over that magazine at our house too! Last summer, the girls worked and saved together to purchas Chrissa. They are now on a mission for the online one as well. One thing that we have added to their allowance is that a minimal portion of their earnings has to go to savings and offering. ($2 allowance, .25 to offering, .50 to savings, though sometimes they choose to do more) The rest is theirs to do with what the please. I love that they are learning to be wise with money early on- something I wish I had learned at a younger age!

Mindy Lockard 07.22.10 at 10:08 am

Oh, Julie, me too! ME too! One of our projects this weekend is to create savings, giving, goal jars. I should have mentioned that! We’ll have to have a playdate when the girls reach their goals!

Erin 07.22.10 at 4:02 pm

Elle’s chart is almost identical to Ty’s. We have been doing this for some time….I like the idea of adding the attitude in it! We don’t have an allowance system in our house…Ty can earn a commission. (Cary’s idea!) Every Saturday is payday. He earns a quarter for doing his daily jobs that are required and then a commission for extra jobs. If he is asked twice to do the job he loses his daily wage. On payday he sets some aside for savings and for God. It has been a useful tool and fun too. It has opened up many discussions on money…like $9.99 really mean $10 bucks, how to spend wisely, and to use sales and coupons.

Jennifer Blake 07.26.10 at 6:47 pm

I draw a dot to dot picture of something that Sam is wanting, and he “earns” lines to fill in the picture. He ges a line for doing chores, having a good attitude, being nice to his sister, going to bed easily, etc…Once the picture is filled in he earns his prize. Right now he has a picture of a bowling pin and bowling ball because he really wants to go bowling. Maybe we’ll get to go in August!!!

Mindy Lockard 07.27.10 at 9:10 am

Great idea and what a fun visual Jennifer! Thank you for sharing!

Kristina Rhoddes 08.04.10 at 6:08 am

Mindy this is too fun! Tell Elle that I earned my first American Girl Doll too!! I did chores for my Kirsten doll. How fun! Still as a 22 year-old, I remember earning my doll and all the hard work it took. It was my first big lesson on the value of a dollar. 🙂

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