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Should I give my kids an allowance for chores? I have debated this for a long time. I think that age-appropriate chores are very important and teach kids character and hard work, but should they be rewarded with money? What do you think?
My husband grew up with an allowance. I didn’t get one, but my parents would buy me things or give me money for trips to the movies or mall, etc… while my husband used his own money. Either way, we were both being rewarded for our work, just in different ways.
I can’t decide what to do, now that our kids are getting older, so I asked friends and readers and here is what they had to say:
- “We have 2 separate things- chores (regular household things they are expected to do), and jobs (what they are paid for.) We don’t expect major chores during the week, because their “job” is to go to school and do homework. On the weekend, we have chores based on age. They get harder as they get older.
Our kids get an allowance for finishing a job well. They each get the same amount and I pay it out once a week- $1 per year. (a 7 year old gets $7. A 10 year old gets $10)
- “There are family chores (or as I jokingly call them rent chores). These are daily tasks that have to happen to keep the house running. Younger children do these with a wonderful attitude or without a million reminders could earn treats but not money. For our older kids, we start putting out chore for hire boards. Basically post its on the fridge with the extra and the pay that can be earned. These would be wash and detail the car, reorganize the feed room, landscaping, seasonal chores. Each job is worth a certain amount of money. Ex: cleaning the bathroom is 25 cents while cleaning out the garage is $2. “
- “I expect my children (2&4) to help with a few chores. Make their bed, set the table, put the dishes and cups in the kitchen when they have finished. Obviously I help the 2 year old and some times the 4 year old but we are a family and families all pitch in to help each other. I do not want to be their maid, cook & cleaner when they are fully capable of spending 10-20 mins a day to help me out and take pride in being in a respectful and happy family. I want to know that when my kids move out (20 years from now) they will take pride in their home and keep it clean and know how to look after themselves. “
- “We play a board game with our kids and they love to learn about doing chores! That is how we introduce allowance to them. We then talk about what chores they want to be paid for and we decide as a family. Their dad and I then decide on the amount and we keep a list on the refrigerator of how much each chore costs.”
- “I give our kids allowance for jobs done without a reminder from mom or dad. They have to finish their chores by Sunday. If they are not done, they OWE us money to do it. They are essentially paying US to do THEIR job. If they do it correctly, we pay them. I see many teens that expect their parents to do everything even when they work full time, I’m trying to avoid this but only time will tell.”
- “We only give allowance for extra. Feeding our pet is expected, helping to take care of a younger sibilings is not. Putting their laundry away is expected, putting their baby sisters away is not. Doing their homework is expected, checking their younger brother’s homework is not. Cleaning up their dish is expected. Cleaning the pots and pans after dinner is not.”
- “We do a reward chart for behavior and chores. For our charts, I make them myself and draw pics so our kids know what to do. For, for example I drew a bed, for making the.bed, a broom for sweeping, etc. He gets 50 cents per chore, paid at the end of the month, when he can chose to save half and spend half, or save all. Our goal is always to show him that people have to earn money if they want to buy things. Money does not grow on trees.”
I loved all of these ideas, because they were different and yet each great. I think that we, as parents, have to decide what is best and just go with it! I think that every day that we do the chores FOR our kids is another day that we are enabling them instead of empowering them.
I do recommend a few books. I love this book on helping kids learn about money, by Dave Ramsey.
And I also love the book Boundaries for Kids – about teaching responsibility. There is a version for older kids and for younger kids (preschoolers and young grade schoolers) and both are great!