WFMW: Puffballs!


I’ve been struggling with how to handle chores at our house for a good long while now. But I finally have a system that works!


Huh? You heard me.

You know, little crafty-type pom-poms? I award them to my children in exchange for chores. I bought two packages of the cutest, girliest pom-poms I could find and put them in a large drinking glass. That serves as the “bank.”

Then I took two smaller drinking glasses, labeled them with each child’s name, and started to fill them. They earn “puffballs” (as we call them) for performing chores. Making your bed, picking up toys, and setting the table are generally worth one puffball. Unloading the dishwasher—both racks—is worth two. Swishing and swiping (wiping down bathroom mirror, countertop, sink & toilet) is worth three puffballs.

If a chore is worth more to me that day, though (say, if Mommy’s TIRED) I might double its value.

I find that the morning starts more smoothly if I require the kids to earn three puffballs before they leave for school. I don’t quibble about WHICH chores they are, as long as they’re worth three puffballs. After school, I might ask them to earn a few more, depending on our schedule of after-school activities.

They can either redeem the puffballs for smaller rewards (for example, I decided last week that buying an ice cream bar from the ice cream truck would set them back six puffballs), or save up for a big one, like inviting a friend for a sleepover or their favorite, a date with Mom or Dad.

Last weekend, Big Sis took me on a date to Denny’s (where I won’t normally take the kids or my cardiac-patient mom because it’s just so UNHEALTHY), then to the movies to see G-Force, and finally to Dairy Queen for a sundae.

It works for the kids and for ME! For more great ideas, check out Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.


About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to
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4 Responses to WFMW: Puffballs!

  1. MizFit says:

    and? gforce? did you like it?

    I didnt
    the husband didnt really
    the daughter? DIDNT AT ALL!

    I was surprised…

    • Sandwiched says:

      G-Force was okay; laughed once or twice. I expected it to be MUCH, MUCH worse, and begged Big Sis not to make me go. Not worth spending money to see it on the big screen, IMHO, and if you rent it for your kids, don’t feel the need to watch it with them.

      Guinea pigs. Yikes.

  2. Cardamom says:

    What a great idea – very colorful and “builds up” fast. I have 9 children and I’ve been thinking of pennies per chores (double if done quickly) and so on. But this system I think would work very well with my younger girls… Thanks!

  3. This is a fun idea! My kids are always asking for things they can do to earn money. This would be a good way to keep track of their earnings.

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