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Paying Kids for Chores

Paying kids for chores can teach your kids responsibility and they can earn a little money while doing it.

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Today, I’m going to talk about two things.

  • Should you pay your kids for doing chores?
  • Coming up with a system that works for your family if you decide to pay your kids for work they do around the house.

 My husband I decided that our kids needed an allowance when they started asking for special things, like a skate board ramp, a new movie, or just a special treat.  We tried two different methods to see what worked for our family.  We give out an allowance for the work they do and their attitude about doing the work.

Boy in blue shirt washing a car

Paying Kids for Chores

An age-old debate that has troubled parents for generations has been whether or not to pay our children for doing household chores. Some people argue that children should be paid for chores because it teaches them the value of work and money management.

Others believe that paying kids to do chores is counterproductive, as it sends the wrong message to children about the responsibilities they have as members of the household. In this essay, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of paying kids for chores.

Paying kids for chores is a contentious issue because it touches on several aspects of parenting, including discipline, money management, and education. One of the main benefits of paying kids for chores is that it teaches them the value of work.

Children who are paid for their chores learn that they have to work hard to earn money, which is a skill that they can use throughout their lives. They also learn about responsibility, as they have to keep their commitments and follow through on those commitments.

When children are paid for their chores, they are more likely to take an interest in financial planning and management. This can be helpful in teaching children about budgeting, saving, and investing. For example, a child who wants to save up their chore money to buy a new toy will have to learn how to budget and save their money over time. In the process, they will learn about the importance of saving and delayed gratification, which are essential life skills.

Another potential benefit of paying kids for chores is that it can help parents to instil certain values in their children. For example, if a parent gives their child a bonus for doing a particularly difficult chore, this can encourage the child to take on new challenges and push themselves. It can also help to teach the value of hard work and perseverance, which are key traits that will serve children well throughout their lives.

Despite the potential benefits of paying kids for chores, there are also several counter arguments to consider. For example, some experts argue that paying kids for chores sends the wrong message about the responsibilities that children have as members of the household.

When children are paid for chores, it creates the impression that they are doing the chores solely for financial gain, rather than as a way of contributing to the family unit.

There is also the risk that paying children for chores can create an uneven distribution of labor within the family. If some children decide that they do not want to do chores for payment, while others choose to do all the chores to earn money, this can lead to tension and resentment between siblings.

Additionally, parents who decide to pay their children for chores may find that the costs quickly add up, making it an expensive and unsustainable option.

An alternative approach to paying children for chores is to assign chores based on age-appropriate tasks and to provide children with age-appropriate consequences for not fulfilling their responsibilities. This may include revoking privileges or assigning additional chores until the original task is completed satisfactorily. This approach emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions and the value of hard work without placing a monetary value on the work done.

The question of whether or not to pay kids for chores is one that has no easy answer. While there are benefits to providing financial incentives for children to do household chores, there are also drawbacks to this approach. Parents must weigh the pros and cons of paying children for chores and decide what is best for their families. Ultimately, the most important thing is to instil in children a sense of responsibility, work ethic, and the value of hard work, regardless of how it is achieved.

Two Systems for Chore Payments

There are many ways to come up with an earning system for your kids, but here are 2 simple systems that we have used in my family and love both of them.

A salary gets paid once a week.  

We have 3 kids, ages 5, 7, and 9. We don’t have a chore chart, but each child in the family has certain chores that they do.

They all…

  • put away their clean clothes.
  • take their dirty dishes to the sink.
  • put their clothes to the hamper.
  • take turns cleaning up the dog poop.
  • clean up their toys.

I sometimes schedule a “Clean Team”.  This is where we work as a family and clean up because the house is a disaster.  It doesn’t last long, but usually we do this because the house is cluttered and everything just needs to be put back in it’s proper spot.  I normally do this before I deep clean.

My daughter, who is 5 organizes the shoe closet, makes her bed and more. I’m lucky that she’s a cleaner and organizer.  You should hear her scold the boys when they toss their shoes in the closet after she’s organized it.

My older sons have trash duty and the majority of the poop duty. 🙂  They are in charge of keeping the garage organized and nice, since they are the ones that are making the mess.  They also walk the yard to get out all toys and trash that show up.  Sometimes they spend 30 minutes getting the neighborhood toys back to their proper owners.

We also give them an opportunity to earn extra cash.  If they are trying really hard to save up for a special toy, then we will find extra chores for them to do.  They could vacuum the stairs (which I do not like to do) or sweep the floor.  They fold clothes and clean the toilets.

Earning Allowance1

Children can earn money per chore.

For each chore they complete, they get a set amount of money.    I think this works VERY well when the kids are younger.  It’s very visual and my kids are very competitive.  They were always racing to see which one would have the most money at the end of the week.

I made a list of chores all my kids did, then I assigned an amount to them.  Cleaning off the table was a pretty easy task so I assigned it $.25.  However, the trash was a little more involved so I assigned it $.75.  

I came up with this great trick to help keep track of what they earned.  I glued each chore onto a popsicle stick.  When they completed the chore, they got to move the stick into their cup.  At the end of the week, we added up how much each child earned.  Some weeks I had one son clean the table off every night, so he got all the Clear the Table sticks, one for each night.

Earning Allowance3
Earning Allowance 2

We have done it both ways, but right now we give them a set allowance each week.  That seems to work the best for us right now.  When school starts, we may change things up again.  

These are the other articles about Kids and Money you WILL be interested in too!

  • Should Kids get an Allowance– If you’re on the fence about paying your kids an allowance at all, then you need to start here.
  • How Much Allowance by Age– This is a great guideline on what amount to pay your kids and and what age.
  • Teaching Kids to Budget– The last article in the series in about now that the kids have the money, you need to teach them what to do with it.