Chores- To Pay or Not to Pay?
Whether or not you choose to pay your child for their chores is a family and personal decision. Depending on the family, opinions may vary on this topic. Some families do not pay for any chores, others offer allowances, while others do a commission system where the child earns a certain amount based on what chores are completed.
Paying kids for chores is believed to be one of the best ways to teach a kid about money and that work=money. We must have money to make it and we must work to get that money. But paying for every single chore/job is a slippery slope. There should be some basic work around the house that kids do without expecting to be paid. Just as in adulthood, our household jobs typically don’t pay and if we choose not to do them, our family life will suffer. Being part of the family means we help each other.
Chores aren’t chores.
- The daily life of a family is full of necessary tasks we must complete. Instead of calling them chores, we call these tasks contributions to the family.
- Everyone has their own contributions to the family, depending on ability and age, and we all need each other’s help to function as a family.
- We are teaching our kids to live generously and not expect others to do everything for them.
- Helping with the family shows our kids they are valued and important members of the family. We want them to see how important they are. This will do wonders for their self-esteem.
We want to show our children they are valued members of our family and their contributions to daily life are important, noticed, valued, and beneficial. I don’t want our kids to think everything will always be taken care of for them. Sure, I am happy to help them out if they need it, and as long as they are willing to help me.
- Our family is a team. We all have to work together for our family life to run smoothly.
- Our children are important family members, not people we hire to help with dishes.
- For our kids now that includes picking up their rooms, putting away dishes, getting PJs ready, and taking care of their backpacks.
- We want our kids to be raised with an attitude of generosity, not to always think “What’s in it for me?”
- Kids have to learn how to do what it takes to make a household run. Sending a kid off to college without the ability to clean, cook, or do basic chores is setting the child up for a very uncomfortable life (or one where they return home for help).
- Kids who are not motivated to work at home won’t be motivated to work at school, sports, or adult life.
- Parents are in control of the house. Deciding whether to pay for jobs outside of their basic contributions is a personal family decision, and deciding whether to do an allowance or commission system depends on what works or your family.
- Kids are not entitled to have things or have things done for them. When kids are raised to believe everything will be done for them, or that they will be paid for simply helping around the house, they can become entitled to believe they deserve more in life than they do.
- Doing family contributions and dealing with consequences for not doing them are great opportunities for teachable moments.
- We need to raise kids who are prepared to be strong and capable adults.
Many people may think that if we don’t pay our kids for everything, our kids will never understand real world work and how to handle money. Since our jobs pay us, shouldn’t our jobs at home pay us too? How will our kids learn to handle their money if they don’t get paid?
- We don’t pay our children for doing their basic contributions to the family. This can include picking up their own room, or helping with dinner.
- We can pay our kids for doing bigger jobs. Either with an allowance, or by each job. Doing the commission system is what Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze recommend in this great book. Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money (This is an affiliate link. )This lets kids know they can earn more by working harder.
- If our kids want to buy something and they need more money, I am happy to let them do some of my contributions to earn extra money.
- Chores and contributions aren’t punishments. They are an important part of family life. But doing my chores for me is a great way for them to earn extra money they need.
- I don’t want my kids believing everything will be done for them, or that they should expect something in return for during the basic contributions to life that a family needs done to function.
- Kids can be taught how to manage money without being paid for their contributions. We can model and teach them how to handle money. This is a great book on how to teach kids how to handle money.
- Kids are sponges! If we model enjoying helping our family around the house, working hard, and handling money well, they will pick it up from us.
Make it fun.
- Encourage our kids as they work hard.
- Show and tell them how much we appreciate what they are doing to help the family function.
- Work together (as long as the child is working hard). This is a great bonding, talking, and character building opportunity.
- Focus on their level of EFFORT, not on the OUTCOME. This is especially true for young kids. We want to focus on their contribution and the learning process, not on their achievements. Small children probably won’t get their jobs done perfectly. And we shouldn’t criticize their work so long as they are working hard. We want them to feel loved and valued.
- Chores aren’t punishments. But having to do extra jobs can make up for energy or money they drain.
- A 5 year old may be expected to keep her room picked up, bed made and helping put dishes away, but she can earn a few dollars by helping Mom with dusting or organizing the craft table.
- A 3 year old may be expected to pick up his toys and get his own PJs and clothes ready, but could earn a dollar or two by helping Dad trim and pick up tree branches.
- An 8 year old may be expected to help with their own clothes, backpack, and with dishes and picking up, but could earn $5 by cleaning the bathroom.
- A teenager may be expected to help out with his laundry (good practice for being a grown up), helping Mom put away groceries, and keeping track of his own sports equipment, but he could earn some extra money by mowing or cleaning furniture.
- With the allowance system your child would receive a standard amount if they completed their jobs.
- With the commission system, each job is worth a certain amount. They get paid for what they do.
The key is finding what works for your family and communicating what is expected.
We want our children to believe they are valued, important, and loved members of the family. Not that everything will be taken care of for them. We are a family and we help each other. We are gracious, generous, and helpful, not entitled.
How do you think these ideas would work for you?
How can you make these ideas work best for your family?
Should you pay your child for helping around the house?
How can you show them how important they are to the family?
Do you pay your kids for chores?
What system works for your family?
What jobs should be unpaid contributions and what jobs should be paying work?
This blog is written as an educational and general resource only. It should not be used to diagnose or as a substitute for parenting or relational therapy, advice, or counseling with a professional therapist or medical doctor. Renewed Hope Parenting is not responsible for results or use of the information provided in these pages if you choose to use them. Everything included in this blog and website is copyrighted to Renewed Hope Parenting and may not be used without permission.