It's really been a struggle to get Jessica to do chores. For a while we asked her to do a certain amount of work (such as empty the utensil tray from the dishwasher and feed the cat) during the week to earn her allowance. Well, it inevitably caused lots of whining and complaints and I didn't really track it so I gave out her allowance whether or not she actually did enough work.
Then I read this idea in Family Fun: instead of giving allowance every week, whenever she does certain chores, she gets a marble. The marbles accumulate in a jar. When she gets enough marbles (roughly equivalent to the amount of work we expected her to do in the course of one week), she gets $5. No more weekly allowance.
I read about this, probably 4 or 5 months ago, but with moving and vacation and laziness, I hadn't gotten around to implementing it before now. We started on Sunday.
Sunday afternoon, we were out, and when we got home, the dishwasher was done running. I called into the living room, "Does anyone want to earn a marble?" (The bonus about this is that it gives Xander a chance to earn money too; he's too young for a real allowance right now).
They didn't hear me, so Hari repeated it to them and they probably ran each other over trying to get into the kitchen. I let them both empty the utensils because they were fighting over who got to do it, thus handing out 2 marbles for what is really only a 1 marble job.
It's 3 days later and they jump at the chance to earn marbles. It's a little early to be sure, but I think this is actually going to work.