We've taken a step on our never-ending quest to get the kids to clean up/help around the house! I found this (downloadable) chore chart over at Simple Mom (Scroll down and you will see it listed as the Preschooler's Chore Chart). She explains how they handle chores and allowance, and it sounded great to me so I decided to give it a try.
I printed out the chart, and sat down with our 5yr old to decide which chores she would like to do. I was thinking 3-4, she picked 5. Here's how and why it's worked so far... two weeks later:
1. There have only been a couple of days when she has actually completed all five chores. I'm not pushing for her to complete everything- my goal right now is for her to be conscious of picking up after herself, and contributing to the household.
2. We use stickers, so she has instant gratification- she gets to pick the sticker and put it on the chart, when she completes the chore.
3. She's getting an allowance. I wasn't sure what that would mean to her, but when I explained that she would get a coin for every sticker on her chart at the end of the week, her eyes lit up and she said "I get MONEY? It'll be MY money?? Woo HOOO!". Ok, then. We started out saying a nickel for every sticker, but we changed it up to a dime for every sticker. At a nickel a sticker- if she did every chore on her chart, she'd earn $1.75/week. With a dime she could make $3.50, but at the rate she's going she's making about $1.60/week. And it's working out great. She got paid, and we showed her how to set some of it aside for other things, and keep the rest for something fun. A few days later she took a trip to the mall with Dad, and paid for her very own ice cream!