Do your kids earn money for chores?

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I like to start our kiddos early in helping out around the house. Around age two, our kids empty the silverware from the dishwasher, help set the table, pick up their toys, and dust kid-level surfaces around the house. Now at five, Tate is in charge of making her own bed (sometimes with help), folding clothes, putting away her laundry, setting the table, and reshelving her books in the right spot.

Last week she successfully made lunch for the entire family, so maybe I’ve got a new task to add to her repertoire. Hmm.

I like getting kids started early for a few reasons.

1. You’re tapping into the stage of life when it’s fun to help.

Two-year-olds mimic their parents, want to be with their parents nonstop, and are obsessed with doing things by themselves. It’s the perfect time to let them start “helping” around the house. I give Reed a spray bottle of water and a rag, and let him go to town on the cabinet surfaces or bathtub when I’m cleaning the bathroom.

Yes, it’s often not really helping, and many times I have to undo what he just did. But he’s going to be right next to me anyway, probably doing something like dropping my phone in the toilet. Might as well give him something pseudo-productive to do, and it doubles as teaching life skills early on.

2. It’s never too early to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around you.

Having kids do chores is not robbing them of a childhood. It’s blessing them with the gift of reality — that life involves work, messes, and not getting your way all the time. Tate, who is quite used to helping around the house, still huffs and slumps her shoulders when it’s time to empty the dishwasher, so it’s not like she skips around with a grin on her face at chore time. But it doesn’t shock her to no end that she doesn’t get to play tea party all day long.

3. It really does help.

I feel like Tate’s involvement is now actually helping, probably for the first time. She folds cloth napkins and towels fairly well, she knows the protocol behind basic table setting (including festive centerpieces that often involve leaves from the backyard), and she’s a star at watching the baby when I’m finishing dinner. I’m thinking things can only go up.

We use a basic chore chart to help our kids check off their accomplishments. This doesn’t tally up to anything we keep track of, but little ones find it fun to have their own visual to-do list they can adorn with stickers or check marks.

To pay or not to pay

Q is for QueenBen Eine Letter a

This is the dilemma. And this is what I’m wondering what you all do in your family. Do you pay an allowance or some sort of commission? Is it at all related to the tasks performed? Or do you give a set amount “just because,” and chores are simply an expected part of being in the family?

Tate doesn’t quite grasp the value of different coins just yet, but she certainly likes earning money. For now, she just does her chores, and every now and then, she earns money for extra things, like an abundance of laundry folding (one penny per folded item can quickly add up to several quarters). This is pretty similar to Mandi’s hybrid solution as well.

There’s no one right way to do this, I know. So that’s why I’d like to hear from you, especially those of you with older kids — how do you handle some sort of allowance distribution to your kids?

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Comments

  1. My son is only 20 months old, but he definitely helps out with chores! He of course doesn’t know it, and he’s not really helping THAT much, but he totally loves it and we love to start him early. :) He will wipe the table, his kitchen, put his toys away, put the shoes away, he loves to try and mop or sweet… basically anything that mama does :) I haven’t decided if we will pay our kids for chores…… probably not?!

  2. Let me ask you this: Do you get paid when doing your chores? It is not a rhetorical question, think about all the reasons why you wouldn’t be paid with money.

  3. I am currently at the same pay-or-no-pay stage with my kids. One turned 4 and another just over 1.

    One argument (or a myth) against paying is that if you pay your kids doing chores, later you will have to pay for everything he/she does. Therefore – no pay.

    On the other hand, there is very little to no education on money management in schools and kindergartens (at least in my east European country). Financial literacy is quite low and people make very poor decisions about money. That’s why plenty of shady quick-loans sharks thrive in such environments. So – pay.

    My opinion? some 90% of all chores should be must-do-first-for-no-pay (house jobs-no pay; car wash – few coins). And imho you should let your kid feel the taste of income and spending, but also guide and advise your kid along the way.

    I hear parents telling their kids at stores – you want this toy? We got no money. Imho – that should go like this – a toy? Well, you got your piggy bank – decide what you really want, don’t be hasty and evaluate your decisions.

    And saving into a piggy bank without an income simply undermines the entire effort imho.

    And I really like the four jars idea – savings, spending, charity, investment.

    The whole give/no give thing for me is teaching my kid to take some responsibility for his actions, understand the value of money, and also discover, that there are much greater things in life than money.

    • Well…. That’s what my parents are like. Since they pay for insurance,groceries, and everything else. Our family doesn’t get allowances cause my parents believe they pay for everything so we get nothing. Well honestly coming from a kid i kinda agree…But see if we wanted a toy,or to go to the movies,or the mall we got to get money somehow. And it would stink if every time we wanted money or toys or jewelry we would have to wait till Christmas or our birthday or any other holiday. And there not just going to give us a toy every time we see one we really like at the store. Giving kids allowances can teach then responcability and you can get the chores done without you having to do them. And maybe they want to save up for a puppy,it can help them to learn how to take care of animals and it could give them a friend,and something to occupy them so they wont always bother you. A few spare dollars isn’t going to hurt anyone.Not even your wallet ;).

  4. My 21 month old empties the dishwasher daily, after I remove breakbles and knives…and my 3 yo is responsible making sure laundry is sorted feomvthe kids bath and they both must clear the table when done eating. My 3 yo also helps vacuum, but that is something he chooses to do. They both like to help dust as well. I have older Foster kids that do get an allowance, but we take “taxes” out for special treats and such. I will do the same when my little ones are old enough to understand allowance. Responsibility isn’t something that cab be taught too early!

  5. My kids are 12, 9 and 6. They have Saturday Jobs and Daily Jobs (the daily jobs rotate each week) which they do “just cos”. I don’t link their pocket money to the jobs but they do also get pocket money.

    I view the pocket money as their portion of our budget (that they get to choose how to spend). As they get older, the pocket money increases but so does the things they are responsible for buying. The plan is that by the time they are 18, they’ll be contributing to most of their costs (even if we gave them the money in the first place) so that it’s not such a huge shock when they move out of home to pay their own way. I use it as a teaching tool on how to handle money. Understanding that once it’s spent, it’s gone. Learning how to add and subtract money. Learning the joy of actually saving up for something you really want. Learning way to make their money stretch (eg the difference between buying a drink at the footy vs buying from the supermarket and taking it with you).

    Sometimes they will come and ask for extra jobs that they can do to earn more money. Usually when they are saving for something specific. I deliberately keep their pocket money on the low side of what their peers get so that they have an incentive to work for what they want.

    • I like this — thanks for the example.

      • Well i do a lot of chores and i want to earn money. My parents think its a good idea. So they disagree with you. :) But yes you have a point but paying your kids for doing chores gets them to do more and you don’t end up paying for everything they do. Its a good idea to pay your kids for doing chores. :) :) :) :)

  6. I have my girls 4 and 3 do chores around the house more and more lately. Even today there was a spot I couldn’t reach on their fake closet mirror in their room because their bunk bed is pretty much right against the closet, so I sprayed on some glass cleaner and gave them some bounty and told them to rub in circles and we had a pretty clean mirror when they were done. I love seeing their faces light up when I ask them to do something, I guess it also teaches them the idea of responsibility and they feel like big girls.
    As for payment, I say no pay is particularly necessary, maybe when they get older you can use the concept of paying for particular chores to help teach them about earning money in the real world etc… or maybe you could set up special jobs that you would pay them to do.

  7. I don’t pay my kids for routine house and garden chores. The reward for those is in helping the family survive and thrive, and in being seen to be becoming more responsible. My older girls started earning pocket money as soon as they were able to hire themselves out as mothers helpers on our street. They use it to buy fun stuff but they also sometimes give it away to charity.

    My son is younger and has less opportunities to earn money outside the house. If there is something he really wants to save for, I will negotiate a paid job for him to do other than the ‘normal’ stuff. Like it or not, money in this world is power and I feel uneasy about children having no ability at all to earn money of their own.

    When he’s bigger, I’ll encourage him to work in the neighbourhood too :)

    Just on the teaching responsibility thing – this is just my personal experience, but I only developed responsibility with money when I was at uni and there were real consequences to not dealing properly with your money. Real life is a wonderful teacher!

  8. our kids start with chores at an early age, too. last weekend, with our youngest sick and in the hospital, the rest (ages 14, 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, and 4) cleaned the house (bathrooms, kitchen included), took care of breakfast and lunch for themselves, did some laundry and bigger ones kept littler ones busy. we definitely feel we are reaping the benefits of having had our kids working all along. the three oldest are capable of doing any household chore my husband and I do – although deep frying things with oil (like homemade donuts) is supervised. the 4 and 5 year old can clean their room, pick up toys, sweep, dry dishes and put them away, wash plates and silverware, put away laundry, sort laundry… the almost 2 year old helps with putting laundry away, putting away dishes, setting the table, clearing the table, picking up toys, making the bed. they are definitely never too young to begin learning.

    as far as an allowance – the oldest 3 are sometimes hired in the missionary community where we live and work for odd jobs, but otherwise, there isn’t a whole lot of opportunity to earn money. we don’t give an allowance – there isn’t a whole lot extra… if our kids need something, we take care of it because they are part of the family and that is the same reason we expect them to help out around the house.

    to start teaching budget/responsible money handling, however, we are making out a “contract” with our two oldest – additional jobs that they must complete and mark off on a “time card” to earn a monthly salary. from that salary, they are expected to tithe, pay for school lunches and activities and then any extras that they might want. they also have the freedom to “hire” a younger sibling to take over a job for them if they have an extremely busy week (that is an interesting twist… watching our kids negotiate :-) . this is the strategy we came up with to try teach our olders these skills before they head back to the States for university – and we remain here on the mission field.

  9. Whenever there is a chance, I will let my kids share the house shores. I reckon that normal chores should not be paid as this will inculcate the thinking that everything revolves around money. What we want to teach them is the shared responsibility we have in the family. Everyone plays a role in keeping the home livable.

  10. We pay our daughters (16 and 11 years) a weekly allowance, from which they buy extras. They also get money from their grandparents on special events which they save to buy things they want to have: very expensive boots or clothes they can’t do without, CDs, whatever.
    Our son (4 years) doesn’t get any money, we’ll start when he’s going to school at 7.
    The kids have chores (help in the kitchen, clean their rooms, clean the bathroom, vacuum where it’s necessary and dust the piano. We’re a family living together so we don’t pay them for that. We give, however, extra money for babysitting if we go out and extra garden work. They can do with their money what they want but they don’t get more money if their allowance is spent.
    Paying for chores is, in my opinion, teaching them that everything they do deserves a financial reward (as is paying for good school results). My kids have learned that they’re doing their chores for us as well as for themselves – they like it too when the bathroom is clean!
    Still, as we’re not able to buy everything they want to have, we give them opportunities to earn extra money and learn to handle it.

  11. I am a single mom who both works and goes to school full-time. So my daughter, who’s now 8, has always had chores, and I have not yet paid her an allowance. That’s not to say that she doesn’t get money. When she sorts laundry for me she is required to check pockets, and any money she finds is hers to keep, usually a few coins. In order to be sure she’s doing it once in a while I’ll slip a dollar into a pocket or two. She also comes to work with me every now and then, and when you ‘go to work’ you get paid, so I’ll assign a price to each job I ask her to do. She makes copies, delivers files, and alphabetizes things. It gives her the knowledge that I go to work to make money, then come home and do my chores without getting paid.

    I struggled with the allowance idea, especially when my sister started paying her boys one by the age of three. My problem is I couldn’t be consistent because of my flexible hours and pay. I felt that assigning chores for money that I couldn’t be consistent on would eventually teach her to not be consistent on the chores. Instead I taught her that there are just some things you have to do. We will instead have special treats to acknowledge her completing all her chores for a specific time period or she can earn rewards for doing extra jobs. One of her favorites is setting up a tent in the living room and having a ‘camp-out’ on Saturday nights.

  12. Paying a set rate for chores would be like training your kids to work for a salary, paying per wok completed could be comparable to a business owner.

    In the adult world we work for pay. In order to illustrate that to our children, they are expected to do the same.

    Blessings,
    Ron

    • I agree – on a small level (and maybe just for now) I am teaching my kids about getting “paid” for the amount of work they do. Some things are just required as part of living in this house. But at 4 years old, I think it’s a good money lesson to get paid for some things. They also have to “buy” screen time as part of this lesson.

      I’m thinking that as they grow up and certain chores become easy for them, they will no longer be paid for those (but will probably be paid for new chores?). BTW – we currently pay a penny for each weed pulled, or couple of clothing items put away, or remembering to clear their dishes from the table without being asked. This is giving us the opportunity to work in more math concepts on a basic level. And I CERTAINLY don’t feel obligated to keep on paying for certain chores just because I used to.
      :)

      • We like to have our children pay some money each week from their earnings to go toward household expenses. They are required to set aside 10% for their Tithe, 20% goes into their savings, 20% goes toward household expenses (rent, utilities, etc.) then the remaining 50% is theirs to do as they wish.

        Instead of asking them to do chores for $0 compensation we simply have them contribute to those household expenses, and we do so right off the top. It is important for them to learn that there are certain obligations that must be taken care of right away.

        With that in mind there are tasks which they help us with around the house which are not considered chores. For these they do not expect compensation, though we like to pay performance bonuses, and that usually pushes them to do more every week!

        This is just how we do it in our home. A strong financial education and understanding of money and how to effectively manage it is important!

        Blessings,
        Ron

        • This is how I was raised. My brother and I each had a massively long check list of daily to-dos that my mom made that covered everything from making our beds to being polite. At bed time, we would stand at the list of chores and check them off. We would discuss with mom or dad how we thought we did (like being polite – no check if you fought with your brother). Some checks couldn’t be earned every day (like laundry wasn’t done every day in my house so you couldn’t put it away every day), but we earned 5 cents a check, upto a dollar a day. This worked well because there was no fighting about chores. You did or your didn’t and if you didn’t, you didn’t get a check. Mom and Dad wouldn’t remind you either. Granted, we were in early grade school so it wasn’t like we were 3 and needed reminding to make a bed.

          Then, when the report card came, my parents would sit us down at the table and it was our review (like you have at work). He would read the grades and the teachers comments and there was a pay scale for the grades and we were paid for performance.

          This worked out well because we always had cash on hand and we were responsible for buying our “wants.” Our needs (food, clothing, shelter, transportation before I had my full fledged drivers license), were always met but if I wanted something (a new book, earrings, shirt my mom thought was ugly) she would say “you have your money, you buy it.”

          For my kids, I plan on doing the same type of thing once they are around the kindergarten age. Until then, you just help mommy because I said so. :)

  13. My kids don’t get paid to do chores… because work and household maintenance and such are part of living and part of our lives together… and I expect everyone to play their part in the grand scheme of our home. I don’t think money should be the great motivator, team work needs to come from the heart. You are welcome to pop over and read what I wrote about things that motivate kids to do their chores, what works and what doesn’t:
    http://www.se7en.org.za/2009/08/20/7-motivations-to-get-kids-to-do-their-chores-what-works-and-what-doesnt

  14. My oldest is 8 and my youngest is 18 months. My 8 year old earns his $5 allowance weekly by feeding the dog twice a day, taking the trash out to the curb on Friday mornings and helping me with his little brother. He also understands that since I am a bit less mobile having had surgery recently, that he pitches in with an extra effort here and there, without being asked (I can’t tell you how sweet it is when he puts his arm around my waist to help me up the stairs sometimes!). In the summer he washes our cars and in the winter he shovels the walkway.
    I give him an allowance because it teaches him the value of saving up for something he really wants. If we are out somewhere and he spots something he wants, he might ask me to pay for it and then he’ll pay me back out of his wallet when we get home. He’s quite the deal maker! He even forfeited a whole month of allowance just so I would buy him a Star Wars lightsaber because he didn’t have enough money at the time. :) He understood the consequences.. (still had to do his chores without receiving an allowance) and I felt like he was learning in the process.

  15. My kids are still pretty little (3 and 1), so I’m not quite to the point of implementing this in my own family. What I plan to do is based on what my parents did with us – they taught us that we were part of the family and as such we received both part of the family’s money and part of the family’s responsibilities. My mom had, and I now have, the concern that paying our children for doing things that just need to be done would change the lessons they learn from doing their “jobs”. In other words, they would learn that you do your chores because of what you get out of it (i.e., money) instead of learning that when you are part of a community, you have to do your part to keep it functioning.

  16. Yes, I pay my children a small amount for things they do above and beyond their normal family chores. I think they should learn what the real world is like. I even designed a Job Application for kids. It’s a free printable and a fun way to interact with your kids. I hope to teach my kids to be good, responsible business people at a young age. I wish I had learned what I know now at a MUCH younger age:-)

    http://www.livinglocurto.com/2010/09/free-printable-kid-job-application-for-chores/

  17. Two boys 9 &13. Chores for free.
    Includes vacuuming, mopping, dusting.
    After all, Kids are only “part of the whole”.

    No allowance. We don’t have a Spend culture in our house.
    Gift money: half to the bank, half to spend however.
    (Charity comes from the spend half.)

  18. In our family, chores are simply an expected part to help within the family and allowances are just because. I started my son when he turned 7, we give him $5 every Monday. He is to give $2 to charity (he gives it to the church) and spend or save the rest. This way when a book fair comes up, or there is a special item at the school store he wants, he learns to manage his money.

    I’m not exactly sure if $5 a week is too much for a 7 year old or not enough but this is what we’re comfortable with. Now we just have to figure out when his next allowance bump will be.

  19. Hi Tsh,

    I’ve been following your blog ever since I launched my own. I found you via the Thesis website and I’ve been hooked ever since!

    The subject of chores is important to me, as I’m sure it is to many at-home moms whose job it is to take care of the household. After we had baby no. 3 I started feeling like the Cinderella of the household, until I recruited my daughters’ help (then 5 and 7). We have a whole plan and lots of charts and cleaning wheels for getting the whole house clean. I participate in an equal way which I think means a lot to them.

    We do give an allowance but chores are not connected. I found that money was not a strong enough motivator, and plus I think chores build a sense of unity and belonging in our family, as well as helping the kids feel accomplished and respected. However, I do like Mandi’s hybrid approach and her emphasis on encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit.

    We now use extra chores as the consequence for not getting ready for school or bed in time. I love this system because it’s a win-win for mom: either they’re on time or I get a clean house! (p.s. They’re never really late for school because I build in an extra cushion of time.)

    Thank you for the awesome service you provide to so many with this amazing family of blogs!

    Sincerely,
    Amy

  20. I am a homeschooling mom of 2, age 10 and 7. My kids have some chores they do around the house and they really DO HELP me get things done. A couple of steps I have taken are:
    – Spend a little money on things that make it possible for them to help.
    I invested $10 at a thrift store on an electric stick vacuum that is lightweight and the kids can carry. My son vacuums the big rug under the kitchen table (his is most of the mess :p) and my daughter uses it to do both sets of hard wood stairs. These jobs alone cut probably 20 minutes out of my housecleaning time when I do the big cleanup. They do them twice a week, and it doesn’t take them long. They actually love using that vacuum.
    – Spend a little time showing and watching them do the chore.
    It took probaby 25 minutes TOTAL over a couple of weeks to make sure they knew how to do the job properly. WELL WORTH IT!

    The chores my children do include:
    son empties the silverware everytime the dishwasher runs.
    son vacuums the area under the big kitchen table for crumbs, etc.
    son cleans sink and mirror of kids’ bathroom
    daughter vacuums both sets of hardwood stairs
    daughter cleans sink and mirror of basement bathroom
    i hang up their pants, but both kids put their laundry away, hanging all shirts up in the closet.
    daughter feeds bunny once/ day
    one of them straightens the movie shelf if it is messy
    i might have one of them sweep the outside sidewalk if it is full of leaves, etc. in the fall.

    My kids DO earn a small allowance – up to $2.00 per week, and bigger chores get more money – nothing earns more than $.25 per chore per day.
    I actually created some cute “Pokebux” with Pokemon all over them to use for chore cash which can be traded in for real dollars.
    I take my kids thrift store shopping to spend their money when they have a few dollars…and it teaches the value of a good deal – that is their favorite place to go because they can spend $1.00 and get something really cool.

    Why do I pay my kids?
    My husband and I do a monthly budget in which he and I each get $40 to spend on ourselves…that includes coffees, mcdonalds for ourselves in a hurry, extra clothes/gadgets we want, etc. It proves to be more than enough if you are wise about not wasting money (on eating out in my case.)

    We figure that if we get an allowance for our part in the household, our children should, too. Sometimes we just do the chores for them to be sweet and surprise them, and sometimes we take a break from the chart for a couple of weeks and the whole family relaxes, so the idea becomes fresh again when we start up.

    Hope that helps!

    ***Also, I attended a seminar by Joy Moore last week from Daughters4God, and she created a really cool Cleaning game which is a file you print out on card stock to create all of these awesome cleaning cards (think Community Chest from Monopoly) – each week in her house they deal the cards and you do the little jobs you get dealt…nothing is too big at a time (e.g. dust the baseboards in bedroom #2,) and each card has the cleaning game border/logo, instructions for the task and what supplies you will need. Very cool.. it can be found here if you are interested: (i have not tried this – just saw it in person. I’m considering using it.)

    http://daughters4god.com/shoppe/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=9&zenid=b678bdcd975374c733ad0b44aa76fdf6

  21. We expect our children to do certain chores and up till know this works well without any payment. This might change when they grow older (they’re not in their teens yet) and can use some extra money.

  22. We don’t do any money-distribution yet, since our children are 2 and not-yet-born… but I’m a fan of the type of hybrid approach my parents used:
    1) A small allowance not tied to any chores, that may have required expenses attached (ie. being responsible to buy lunch at school, etc.)
    2) Chores that are required – if not done, there is a non-monetary consequence
    3) Extra jobs that can earn extra money (in my house, this was primarily yardwork that my parents didn’t like to do themselves).

    A good example: When it snowed, I was expected to go out and help my dad (and sometimes my mom) shovel the driveway, since not being able to get out of the driveway would effect the whole family. However, I could do other non-urgent yardwork like raking leaves or mowing the lawn for extra money.

    • This was how I grew up as well and plan to do with our kiddos as they get older. Housing and food was my “payment” for doing chores. :-)

  23. My kids are 9, 11 and 13. If they do the chores required we compensate them the same dollar amount as their age a week. This is a huge incentive. Love your posts

  24. We pay for chores, but not until around age 4. And they don’t get much…2 cents per chore!p (I’m sure we’ll up this later). We have 3 levels of chores:

    1. Personal responsibility chores (make bed, brush teeth, get dressed, put your laundry away, pick up your own toy messes, etc.). They don’t get paid for these.

    2. Family chores (pick up entryway, straighten family room, set table, unload dishwasher, sweep kitchen floor, etc.). They’re contributing to the greater needs of our family, so they get paid for these.

    3. Extra chores (anything that’s not on our family chore list). Once they have their other chores complete, they may earn extra money for these chores. I have a list of “extra” chores that need to be done either daily, weekly, or monthly. And depending on the chore, they get paid according to what I think it’s worth!

    I have chore charts for my kids and they get paid on a weekly basis. If I don’t have to remind them often to do their chores, and they do them willingly, they sometimes will get a “bonus” amount.

    Great post!

    • I love this! And I totally agree. There are some chores that are personal responsibility that should be done for free, and others that should be paid.

      I’m a big Dave Ramsey fan and believe that we should not “make Allowance” for our children. Instead pay for the work they do that is above and beyond.

      PLUS like any GOOD employer I give bonuses and raises for going above and beyond.

  25. In elementary school we just helped out and were expected to do the “chores” that mom asked us to help out with. In middle (for my younger sister) and high school (for me) we did earn a capped amount of money for doing our chores (like vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, and mowing the lawn). It was our parents way to teach us that there is work involved in the real world, and how to manage money that we earned. I think it was a good system because we were never given money “just because” (like some of our friends), but instead had to work for it. And if we wanted to buy a special toy or CD we had to save our money for it. Oh, and my parents didn’t believe in us having jobs as teens (beyond babysitting) — their thoughts were that getting a high school diploma and getting into a good college was our full time job.

  26. Our kids help with chores the same as we parents do. We all need to work together to keep things going. That said, we’re nice about it and we don’t take advantage of them. :)

  27. I pay my kids a set amount of allowance each week. We teach them to put some of their money towards tithing and savings(college, Mission). The rest goes in their fun jar. If they decide not to do their assigned chores they pay me to do them out of their fun jar and if they have no money left they pay me with their toys.

    We also have a list of extra chores along with a set amount of gems they receive for doing them. They each have a jar and when it is full they either get $3, a date with Mom or Dad, or they can pick an item from the basket. I fill the basket with special treats I don’t normally buy or something I spot on a clearance rack I think they may like.

    This is what is currently working for us.

  28. I have been blessed (somewhat) with my first born being OCD. Since she was a little bitty thing we’ve given her baby wipes and she would mimick me wiping and scrubbing. We just recently after her fourth birthday started giving her rewards in the form of coins in a container that she can’t reach. We have stipulations like if she doesn’t do something the first time asked no reward. We never give her more than a quarter per chore. But there are a ton of times we don’t even offer and she is still in charge of cleaning her mess. We use the coins as a way of teaching her the value of money which will help her in mathematics as well as learning what each coin is truly worth. We want her to learn to save and cherish earnings. Right.now.she.is trying to save 20$ for a Chuck e cheese trip.I think its important for kids to learn at a young age the importance of saving as well as the responsibility of chores. She loves it!

  29. Our kids who are still at home are 15, 12, and 10 (we also have a 32- and 28-yr-old). They each have a daily schedule of responsibilities–a short list of things to be done before school, and a short list of things to be done when schoolwork is finished (we homeschool). Chores are not tied to allowance, because we view them as a natural part of being a contributing member of the family.

    We do give our children a modest allowance that increases as they get older. They are expected to pay for anything other than clothes and shoes (unless we deem the clothes and shoes to be “wants” rather than “needs”!) We live quite simply, and material things aren’t a big deal to them, but if there happens to be a “big ticket” item that they want, then they have to save up to buy it.

    I don’t get paid wages for my work (as a home manager and teacher), but I do have money from our family budget at my disposal. I would not appreciate it if my husband, who earns the money, made me do extra work in order to have spending money ;) Since my kids, like me, are contributing members of our family, we believe it is appropriate for them to have a small amount of discretionary spending money.

  30. we’ve tried all sorts of strategies at our house. i like the idea of paying for work over and beyond regular chores. I’m not going to pay them for cleaning their rooms, doing their laundry and general clean up. But, if they do things like blow the driveway and deck off, sweep the front porch, clean the baseboards, those type of intermittent chores that normally fall to me, then they get paid.

    Children need to learn to EARN money, because no one pays me for doing absolutely nothing. :) I agree with Dave Ramsey, there is no welfare in this home.

    I think there’s a balance that needs to be made. Some chores need to be done regardless of pay, but earning money by working beyond what is expected is a good way to learn fiscal responsibility.

  31. I love your #2.

    I grew up in Brazil, with a maid and a grandma and aunties and a mom who loves to clean. I wasn’t really expected to do anything which I think was pretty awful because now I hate cleaning and I still act like a 2 year old and wish that the world did revolve around me. Luckily it doesn’t so I have to clean my mess and everyone elses, with their help of course.

    My 4 year old has started helping also around the age of 2. My 1 year old “helps” in my arms but I tell her, “ok now you’re helping mama put your bowl in the sink” and things like that.

    For my sone we use online chore chart which he loves because he can click in things he’s done and he gets points. I determine the prize before hand and after he has enough points he can pick a prize. It’s all things that i should be doing with him anyway but because of our super busy schedule it doesn’t always happen. Like, going to the library, or family game night. So when he has enough points he picks a prize that we can all do together as a family.

  32. I have an almost 6-year-old and a 4-year-old. On most days they have a few things they are required to do – make the beds, feed the dogs/cats – help with other things. We also have “working days”. Usually Saturday. On these days we set up a list, and work our way through the house. They are paid a quarter per item they help with.

  33. My big girls mostly do chores for no money, but extras are paid for. I also sometimes reward with a bonus if they did an extra good job wrangling the little ones.

    I also have them give at least 10% to church and save at least 25%- since we pay for their living and playing expenses, I want them to start saving.

  34. Well since mine is 6 months old, we don’t do allowances yet. :) But when I was young, my parents paid us a small allowance based on our age for doing chores. At age 4, I got 40 cents a week, at 5, 50 cents, etc. Out of that money, 10% had to go to church, and at least 10% to savings, and then I was allowed to save up the other 75-80% to buy things I wanted (like Snow White on VHS!) :)

  35. I don’t have kids, but my parents taught me a lot about responsibility & money, which has really helped me as an adult on my own. We were given chores around the house & did not get paid to do them, nor did we receive an allowance. My parents did have a side catering business, and we were paid very well for helping with that (it was usually a couple events per month- we got paid per hour- we could “quit”, but if we quit, we still had to do the work & wouldn’t get paid for it- it taught us very quickly that sometimes work is not fun or enjoyable & just because you don’t want to do it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to get done, so you might as well have a good attitude). My mom also had a home daycare & would give us a lump sum of money at the end of the summer for helping out. With that money, we were expected to purchase our own school supplies (pens, pencils, notebooks- they purchased the larger items like a graphing calculator) & whatever new clothes we wanted for the school year. If we had money leftover, we got to use it however we wished (that was when we were a little older- maybe 10?). We were told from about the time we were 10 years old that if we wanted a car, we would have to buy it- that really encouraged us to save & look for jobs- I think all three of us had full time summer jobs starting at about 14 (work during the school year was limited). We paid for our own car insurance & gas, clothes, & phones. We were also told that our parents would not pay for college, so I worked my butt off & studied a lot so I’d have the grades needed for scholarships. I feel like we were all a little “old” for our age, but it has been a tremendous blessing to have learned about responsibility before being out on my own & before getting married (I’m now 24- I got married at 21).

  36. Growing up my sister and I had a chore chart, right up through High School. We did the basic things for ‘free’, such as: cleaning our rooms, cleaning the bathroom, dishes, laundry, vacuum, dust, mop, etc.

    Other things that we got ‘paid’ for were yard work, washing the cars, pressure washing the deck, etc. We also made extra money baby-sitting, helping people clean and organize their homes, things of that nature.

    We got a weekly allowance and as we got older, our allowance increased, but we had to pay for gas for the car and our ‘special’ purchases. I also got a job cleaning my dad’s office and made $10 an hour, this was when I was 16 through graduation.

    Out of every dollar we made we had a ‘system’ of where the money went. 10% went to tithe, 10% to savings, and we could spend the rest. Typically we opted to save 50% for our ‘special’ purchases, but that was just how we operated. We didn’t need more than a few dollars to get into a game or whatever, so we just saved the rest for when we really ‘needed’ (wanted) something. We also had a savings and checking account, so not all of our money was in a piggy bank and ‘accessible’.

    My parents took another approach with my younger brother. He is 13 years younger than I. He started cleaning my dads office when he was 8. I mean EVERYTHING. Bathrooms, vacuuming, moping, windows (or interior glass I should say), the kitchen, everything. We or my mom would help when he was little, now he is 16 and does everything by himself.

    He understood the value of money because of the large age gap between him and my sister and I, he saw us ‘saving’ to purchase things and he wanted to buy his toys or whatever he wanted if my mom said she couldn’t or wouldn’t buy them. The kid makes, and has made, $300 a month since he was 8. He pays mom $50 a month in gas money to drive him to and from work. He sents 15% aside for taxes, most of which he gets back because he’s ‘self employed’. If he is going on vacation and can’t clean the office he lines up someone else to do it. He saves his money, he pays 10% to tithings, and he spends what he wants.

    He got paid an allowance when he was younger, he has the same chores we did growing up, but he also makes his extra money doing yard work or small repair jobs around the house. He decided he likes money so he has other ‘sides jobs’ he does as well. He maintains the neighbors yard, and he also teaches dance to younger children (elementary school aged).

    Having an allowance and having to budget, balance a checkbook, and also having a savings and checking account from when we were 5 has helped all of us having an understanding and appeciation for money. We can balance an account, create a budget, track expenses and bills, etc.

    I find it beneficial, and though I don’t have children yet, I can see it working with my niece (5) and nephew (7). The pride in their money and in their work. When I stop by the show me how clean things are and their organized rooms, and they take pride in it. I hope to accomplish the same thing with my children some day.

  37. I do not agree with paying children for chores around the home. If they want extra money once they are older they can help out a neighbor. As our children are part of the family they should do their share of their work for the family without compensation. There are things in life that you should do because you are helping one another out and not because you are expecting something in return. I do not get paid doing chores around the house either, nor does my husband. My kids will get an allowance once they enter first grade, a dollar a week and in second grade two dollars a wee, that\’s it. This is also how my parents handled it and I think that this is the perfect way for us as well. Money should not run the world of a child in my opinion, it is bad enough it runs the adults world,…. most of the time.

  38. Our son is 10 now and has always done some ‘helping’ around the house. When he was younger, we’d pick up the toys together, carry the trash out together, and he loved to wipe the table off.

    As he got older, he was responsible for putting his clothes away, keeping his room tidy and unloading the silverware from the dishwasher. I consider that ‘daily stuff’ and we never paid him for any of that (of course he was younger and didn’t really have any use for an allowance.)

    When he was ready to understand the concept of delayed gratification and saving for something you really want, we started giving him an allowance, and increased his chore load. Now, in addition to the ‘daily stuff’ he cleans the bathrooms once a week, and does about 30 minutes of some other chore as determined by the family needs that week. Most often, this is an ‘outside chore’ like mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or helping in the garden. For these he earns $5 per week to use as he wishes.
    If we’re away for the weekend or for some other reason these chores don’t happen, he doesn’t get paid until they do.

    He can earn extra money for extra chores. These might include spending more time raking, shoveling snow, washing windows, etc. For these, we usually pay him $1 for every ten minutes he works. This may sound rather extravagant, but honestly, we rarely pay him more than $2-3 at any one time. (He’s usually ready to move on to other things after 20-30 minutes!)

    For our family, this is has been a good way of teaching the relationship between money and work. Sometimes you get paid for the work you do, and sometimes it’s just part of what needs to happen to make things work.

    It’s great to see the many different approaches here! Such a juicy conversation!

  39. My brother and sil have a hybrid system and that’s what my husband and I plan on doing as well (currently the little monkey is only 18 months old). There will be certain everyday type chores that are expected of them and they will be able to earn a little money doing extra things like washing windows.

  40. Along these lines, I found an awesome book with great ideas, many of which I am implementing. (The Parenting Breakthrough, by Boyack) She includes lists things kids can (and should) learn to do by year of age, clear up into the teenage years. She has some excellent ideas for teaching money management, even into investing. I love that her plan starts the kids young and builds on into high school

    Our kids do chores as being part of a family. They get a small allowance not tied to work (a dollar per year old/month so my 7 yo gets $7 the first Saturday of the month). From this we encourage them to put some into college savings (which we will match), keep a little to spend, and they pay tithing to our church–10%. This has been more than enough for them to accumulate some to buy little extras, but learn to be wise. Last week my dd asked for $ for ice cream at school. I said that was something she could use her own money to pay for. She thought about it and decided it wasn’t worth it. :) If they want more money, I will give them ‘extra’ jobs around the house that I am willing to pay to have done, and they have to be done to a high standard.

  41. Our boys are 5 and 3 and they have 1 daily chore per year of age and then on Saturdays they help with the weekly cleaning as asked. We don’t do an allowance at this age, but we have talked about doing so when he starts first grade next fall as a way to learn about managing money. We have decided that the money will only be for the things they do that are “above and beyond” their normal chores. I don’t get paid to keep up my house but I still need to do so, and we want them to learn that sometimes you work without compensation because it is just what needs to be done. So daily chores they do themselves and weekly chores we do as a family won’t earn money, but we plan to set up a list of “extras” that can be done to earn extra money.

  42. I really don’t know what we’ll do for our little guy, since he’s barely 18 months, but he does help clean up his toys and “helps” me wash the dishes. I’ve been encouraged though by all the other moms out there that have their littles do more than that! I need work on my expectation level!
    When the kids are older, I suspect we’ll have chores that are always expected, bed making, pick up after self, basic household responsibilities according to abilities. But I’ve always liked the idea of having a standing list of extras that will earn money at any time, like wash/vacuum car, shovel sidewalks, etc. Again, the list would be according to abilities.
    With my littlest brother (he’s 20 years younger than me) I would have a list of extras he could do at Christmas time to earn money for our family gift exchange. All the other kids were old enough to work a little but he had no way to earn for his gifts. So I had him do stuff (really it was all the housework I didn’t want to do!) so he could buy his own gifts. I think I would definitely do that with my kids as they get older.

  43. I have a 2 year old…who also like to help out around the house. I think that paying for some work is okay. I believe there will be chores that are just done because that’s what it means to be part of a family and contributing to it. For the above and beyond work around the house (helping in the yard, helping to wash the car, or maybe helping a sibling with their chores etc…) may deserve a little extra $. However, I plan to teach my children…by my own example that donating a portion of their money to (church, charity or someone in need etc..) is the right thing to do. Hopefully this will cut down on the materialistic attitude kids (and adults) can have when hoarding away their money for the next big purchase!

  44. Thank you so much for this post. We have been very soft on our oldest child, never expecting her to help out. She turned 6 recently & we had both agreed that when she turned 6, she would get pocket money of $5.

    We were never sure of what you could resonably expect a little child to do chores wise so we never asked her to do much & never on a regular basis. A couple of months ago, before dd turned 6, we realised that our 12 month old second child was doing more chores than our 6 year old was. The 1 year old love to help empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor, clean the coffee table & just helping in general. We realised at that point that we had to start expecting more from our 6 year old. She does have set chores at the moment but not enough. Thank you the download. I didn’t notice it before & I will use it for my little girl starting tomorrow.

  45. With my 14 year old, her job is to do her chores. Shes responsible for the kitchen, folding laundry, dust mopping the floors and her room. Its simply a part of her household responsibility. She gets paid when she does an exceptional job or when she goes above and beyond the call of duty. Recently, we negotiated a few days off of her restriction instead of payment for an exceptional job.

    With my 6 year old son, the lesson is more so to earn the money he wants. So when he asks me for a dollar or to buy a new dollar store toy I remind him that he has to earn money by doing his chores well. The next week, he is on point!

  46. My son is sixth months old so I’m nowhere near having to decide today. However, my husband and I have already started to discuss what we’d like to do and not do.

    We have a friend who’s son is very spoiled. He gets everything he wants. Always! I watched his parents once offer him $50 to pick a handful of weeds. He dragged his feet and complained the entire time. Whined about how unfair it was. I’d pick weeds for $50!!
    His parents are struggling to pay their rent and are by no means rich, but they created this monster and they can’t go backwards. Watching him open birthday cards last year I saw him turn his nose up at $25 that was generously included in a card.
    The point in all this is that they never taught him there are things you do just because you’re apart of the family. They started off paying him for everything, so naturally as he gets older the amount of money he demands goes up too. I think the worst part is the type of attitude it’s fostered in him.

    I think a hybrid approach is definitely the way to go. It will teach them about hard work AND money management. I believe that if they earn extra money for extra chores then that’s should be their spending money.

  47. I have a 4-year old daughter and she does chores at home like getting water from the refrigerator, putting her used clothes at the laundry basket, arranging her books and toys. At times, she doesn’t like doing them. With all those chores, I do not give her any form of payment and at her age, she still doesn’t know the value of any coins. I also believe that when you pay your child every time she does chores, until she grow up, the payment gets higher and she will not work without any payment.

  48. We’ve done the same with our 2 boys (age 3 and almost 2). My 3 year old has one specific chore right now, he empties the dishwasher all by himself. He gets a check mark on his chart each time he does and then on ‘pay day’ we give him a quarter for each check. Then we go through and divide up his earnings into money for God, Saving, and spending. He gets to hold on to his spending money and use it however he likes.

    Check out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr. He’s got great material, especially for adults. It’s never to late to learn to handle money well!
    http://www.daveramsey.com/store/kids-teens/Kids-3-12/financial-peace-jr-for-kids-ages-3-12-/prod112.html

  49. When I was growing up. We used point’s system. for earning money, this is what we also plan to institute in our house. The way it worked was there where certain chores that we were expected to do every day with out pay, eg. take care of our pets, make our bed, pick up our toys, take care of our dishes etc. Those things were just part of being the family and not making more work for others. My son is 3 and already picks up toy’s and makes his bed (w/help), picks up his clothes.
    But then there were chores we were asigned that would earn money. Doing dishes, taking out the trash, various cleaning, sweeping, vaccuming etc. Things that would help my mom out. My sister and I would get a 1/2 a point, or 1 point for each chore depending on its dificultiy. (Cleaning the bathroom was worth 1 point. but sweeping the kitchen was worth only 1/2.) A point at that time was worth 25cents. We would take turns doing spacific chores so the points spread could be somewhat equal. Like doing dishes and setting the table. Anyway, we could also make extra money doing extra things. Average we earned about 4-6 dollars a week.
    I think we will be doing something like this with our boys as they get older. But for now we help because we all have jobs. Daddy’s job is to work, so we can have a home. Mommy’s job is to cook and take care of the boy’s and Oldest job is to help with his things and not create more work for Mommy or Daddy. He gets it and likes being part of the family structure.

  50. I love the way my parents did it and plan on doing the same- Usual chores are necessary and don’t get paid. It’s part of earning the roof over your head and being a good citizen/family member.

    They paid us for grades (because school was our “job”) and for Extra chores.

    If I scrubbed the shower or weeded the garden I got a bonus. This was good to because they negotiated prices with us, a valuable life skill that has helped me ask for raises and demonstrate that my work is worth more pay.

  51. My stepson is 10, and we only have him here on weekends. For this reason, my husband and I feel it is unfair for him to do chores like vacuuming and things that are a result of our daily life when he is at his mother’s (feels like having him clean up after us). His chore responsibilities are to brush his teeth in am, make his bed, put away his clean clothes, read for one hour a day (or homework if a school day), bring out his dirty clothes basket when it’s full, take our recycling down and crush the cans, shower once a day, and brush and floss at night. He also helps feed our pets when he is here.
    I read once that it is important to separate chores from an allowance (as an allowance is supposed to teach a child how to manage money, and isn’t supposed to be earned, per se), so our deal is that he gets 50 cents per day of completed chores, and an extra 50 cents that day if he checks them all off his chart, plus we pay a $5/month subscription for an online game for him. The consequences of him missing his chores are that he doesn’t get paid for that day at all. It sounds weird, but this is the way we’ve worked out the balance of him living with us part-time and providing him with a little money of his own.

  52. I haven’t paid until actually about 2 weeks ago. My boys are 12, 10 and 5. I think the 5 year old is too young to really get it, but he wants to do what his big brothers do, so is insisting on getting paid. ;)
    I was inspired by this post.
    http://blog.success.com/channels/relationships-channels/getting-rid-of-the-%E2%80%98gimmes%E2%80%99-how-to-establish-a-family-economy/
    So now my boys have the same chores and responsibilities but their allowance is tied to getting them done, instead of a free handout.

  53. we’re still getting this whole chore thing down, but i was definitely thinking along the lines of no pay for every day things, but giving options of extra jobs that could be done (dusting, folding clothes, cleaning room without being asked, my kids are still pretty little) for a special treat, like an ice cream cone or extra trip to the playground or other fun place. still a work in progress though :).

  54. Our kids do not receive an allowance and are not paid for their regular daily or weekly chores (like making their beds, cleaning their rooms, doing their laundry, or washing the dishes). However, we do pay them for extra jobs that we need done. When they are little, we pay a specific amount per job. Anywhere from a quarter to a couple of dollars for helping do things like clean out the car, help rake leaves, etc. When they are older, we have them bid for jobs. We let them know what needs to be done, and we give the job to the lowest bidder. It helps them learn to place a value on their labor while also being realistic about the value of particular jobs.

  55. our children are 7, 6, and 2. there are some things they do because they are a part of our family ~ make their beds, laundry in proper laundry bin, things that apply to keeping their rooms clean. they also have a play room that they are responsible for. i recently changed where the two year old has her pj’s and socks so she can reach the draw herself. (she does not currently get money but has a sticker chart)

    additional things can be done for money ~ clean windows, mop floors, help in the yard, clean out the car. our seven year old saved up $52 dollars for a lego set he wanted… just purchased it on saturday. it took him about six months to earn that money. my husband told him while walking to the register that he had gotten a $20 gift card for his birthday that we had forgotten about and he actually got to keep some of his money! we don’t do this currently, but i can see a scenario where if they want an item (expensive tennis shoes) and we feel a less expensive option is available that we would spend a certain amount and they would make up the difference.

    as a stay at home mom i don’t get paid for what i do. but we need to expose our children to money early so they can learn to save and spend wisely. we believe in debt free living and have a desire to train our children to live the same.

  56. Timely post, since we FINALLY made up a chore list for each child today (they are 3, 5 and 7 years old). Our plan is that each kid will get $1.00 at the end of the week if they do all their chores each day.

    I think that children should learn to do chores early, and that they should do as they are told, whether or not money is involved.

  57. I don’t have kids, but when I was younger, I didn’t get paid for normal family chores, however I did get paid for those chores that went above and beyond family expectations.

  58. Although my kids are 7 and 10 we are still not fully implementing the allowance or paying for chores. They have a few simple things they do. I loved the feedback that we are not robbing them of their childhood by doing chores, I tended to think that I wanted them to be kids but as a professional organizer I also want them to learn responsibiity and picking up after themselves. I loved the comment about giving money but taking out taxes, it’s the real world. I could have benefited from some financial education early on…I’d like to implement that idea.
    We are a two household family so I know the chores and bed making that they do here creates consistency and expectations for behavior that they can hopefully take with them to Dad’s and gramma’s.

    Great conversation.

  59. I do a split approach: my daughter has chores that she is expected to do daily and weekly. These are chores that are age-appropriate, like setting the table, clearing the table, making her bed and cleaning her bathroom. We add more on her birthdays (great present, huh?). This year we are working on laundry (she’s 8).

    For the chores that really are a lot more work and require a physical “push”, I offer payment. Vacuuming the stairs, taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher, emptying the compost bucket, and weeding all fall on this list. There is a set scale of payment, and these are posted. Other chores can be suggested and negotiated (like vacuuming the car)

    This way, if she wants to earn money beyond her allowance, she has the opportunity. And I hope it is teaching her some sort of work ethic.

  60. We start them young too, first with silverware. My daughter turns 4 in December and loves to fold laundry, unload the dishwasher, make her own bed, pick up, etc. Sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, I’ve even asked her to unload our front load washer into the dryer and she starts it, all on her own! The first time I asked her to, I was kind of joking because I didn’t think she could do it. I was shocked that she did and started it. Now, she does it regularly. My one year old loves to help switch from washer to dryer too.

    I don’t pay my kids money, just in gratitude! No one pays me to keep the house in order and cook and I don’t plan on paying my kids to help out around the house.

  61. I’ve debated on this one for awhile. My goal is to make sure that my boys understand that being a part of a family means being “happy to help.” My fear in paying them to help is that it would eventually teach them that you ONLY work for pay. After all, we’re all geared that way. Who would ever let laundry pile up or put off cleaning out the garage if they were being paid? It’s so much easier to get work done in a timely manner when you’re paid and know there is a tangible reward.
    So I really want my kids to learn to have a servants heart. I’m not sure paying them will teach them responsibility and self-sacrifice.
    Otherwise, I do give my kiddos money from time to time, and tell them it’s “just because.” (just because….. i love you, i’m proud of you, i think you’re great) I do encourage entrepreneurship like selling unwanted toys and clothes at garage sales once a year. They have set up their own tables for selling cookies or brownies. With neighbors we know well, the boys will always be encouraged to offer services like mowing lawns, trimming hedges, etc.. They also sell things at consignments sales twice a year. We’re a little bit minimalist with “stuff” and between birthdays and Christmas and selling old for new, they’re pretty happy.
    I do encourage them to tithe/share with others. A portion of their last sale money went to Operation Christmas Child boxes for Samaritan’s Purse.
    Of course, we all hope and pray we’re doing the right thing with our kids. At the end of the day, everyone’s method will look totally different. This is just what’s working for us!

  62. I haven’t been able to read any of the above comments just yet, but I’m going to throw in my two cents, nonetheless. :-)

    We have an informal penny system. I pay my kids a penny for chores I would normally do myself, or if they are beyond what I expect them to take care of on their own. I know a penny doesn’t seem like much, but since we’re on a VERY tight budget, and the kids appreciate the clink in the piggy bank, it’s working for us. Plus, I can be VERY generous.

    For example, the kids helped their dad shuck corn awhile back. They got a penny for every ear of corn.

    For picking up toys and books, cleaning their own spills, sorting their own clothes into our baskets, putting their own clothes away, making beds, and clearing their dishes, they don’t get paid. There are a few other things for the older ones too, but you get the idea.

    For emptying the dishwasher, helping cook, emptying trash cans, cleaning the litter box, helping Mom or Dad with a bigger project, etc, they get a penny.

    Again, these are really general, but our basic principle is that they don’t get paid for things they should learn to be responsible for anyway. They do get paid when it’s a job that is challenging and/or new to them, or one that I normally do myself.

  63. Like a lot of other commenters, we do a hybrid system. Our almost-five-year-old has a handful of daily “responsibilities” (e.g., tidying up toys) that are expected of her just because she’s a part of our family; we’ve told her these are part of living considerately with others and learning to take care of herself and her possessions/surroundings. She gets a small weekly allowance that is not related to these responsibilities; we give it to her because we believe one of our jobs as parents is to teach her good financial stewardship. We have her give some to charity, save some for a “grown-up goal” (e.g., college), and use the rest for spending as she likes. We give her the opportunity to earn extra cash by helping Mummy or Daddy with more challenging chores, e.g., vacuuming, raking leaves, or sorting and folding her own laundry.

  64. The reason I *want* to give our kids money and have it be connected, somehow, to work, is to start young teaching the value of money and how to handle it. I want them to have experience with how much work gets you how much money and what kind of choices you have to make once you have it.

  65. We do a mix like a lot of folks. There are certain chores that are done simply because you are a part of the family and need to take responsibility (making bed, cleaning up toys, etc.) and others that our oldest can do to earn extra money (cleaning out our van, washing windows and the like). I downloaded a grade chore chart from http://homeschoolcreations.blogspot.com that has spots for morning chores, afternoon chores, and chores to earn. I used many of the cards she includes and created some of my own too. So far, it’s working well!

  66. My son is barely one, but I remember how it was when I was a kid. We got an allowance just because, but we were definitely expected to help around the house. The two weren’t necessarily related, but it was almost like my parents gave me a little money because I was part of the family and I did chores for the same reason. The thing that was awesome? We had three jars – giving, saving, and spending. I got five bucks – one to giving, one to saving, and three to spending. There were times when I loved to see how my saved money piled up so much that I’d add some of my spending money into the jar, just to look forward to something big. I’m definitely doing that with my kids.

  67. avatar
    monika tribe says:

    I have kids ages 14 mos to 17 years. And the kids older than the baby all have to earn their clothes money with their chores. We don’t pay an “allowance,” we pay for services rendered (or effort for the 6 year-old). (It’d be nice if they’d just do it because they should, but we have teenagers here.) So my husband and I tallied up what we would typically spend on each kid for clothes each year, divided that up by 52 weeks, and broke it down from there for the six days a week we require chores, factoring in one big cleaning day and the others simply maintenance. We require the kids to have things done by 7 p.m. or before they do anything fun, whichever comes first. If they don’t have things done on time, they get marked off, losing double what they would have earned that day. It starts to sink in after about a month of the younger kids earning more than the older kids (and the older kids wanting to buy clothes but not having the money). Our kids are finally learning not only to do their chores, but also the fact that they actually have to save money to get some things they want to buy. And that they do not have enough money to buy new skater shoes every two weeks. They many not like it, but I like the lessons it teaches.

  68. Take it from me…….we are a combined family. I was graced was three children, age 8, age 5, and age 5. My husband and his ex had joint custody so they were split from week to week and they would wait to clean up after the kids had “left.” When my daughter and I joined the crowd and unforseen circumstances made his children permanent residents of the house, it became chaos. With 6 people now living in the house, it was a constant wreck which was not okay with me being slight OCD clean freak! I had a hard time getting his three to understand that picking up after yourself is okay, responsible, and expected. My daughter had already been taught this and had a hard time understanding why they couldn’t get it.
    I soon became pregnant with twins and the household count became 8! It was not until the babies became toddlers that they truley understood the importance of picking up. It was the threat of the babies choking that finally got their attention!
    They now all have weekly chores. We tried the every day switching but we are too busy with extra activities so weeks work bests for us. For example, ages 15, 12, 12, 12, are responsible for dishes, bathroom, downstairs (pickup), bedroom (pickup, put clothes away). Babies 4,4: clean messes downstairs as needed, pickup room nightly, they hang and put up clothes away with supervision.
    I try to include the babies on any chore that I am doing. They know how to sweep and mop up spills. They also know how to start the dishwasher and washing machine.
    I do not pay the kids allowance for the chores. My thoughts: they live in the house, they help generate the mess….therefore, they are responsible for helping to clean it up. When they want money to do things, they are not denied (within reason). If they want something that requires more money than say a movie ticket would cost……then they earn it by doing a chore that deserves to be paid (like scooping after the dog :)
    Start the chores early, early, early! The sooner they learn to do chores and do them RIGHT……the more responsible they are (and it bleeds over to homework).

  69. Only if their chore earns money (like crushing cans for recycle). My parents never paid my brother and I for our chores, but they gave us money when we needed it, and when we were old enough, we got jobs to earn money, which we only got to keep 45% of (the rest went to the church and savings). My parents did put money into a college fund for me when they could afford it…but the emphasis for us was that the family took care of each other without strings (financial strings esp.) attached. I like that and want that for my kids.

  70. Our kids don’t get paid for chores. We feel they need to do those as a member of our family. But we also feel they need to learn to handle money. They get a grand total of $5 a month (when I remember), until they start earning money of their own. We teach them to put about %40 into savings and church.

  71. My boys (4 and 2) have chores that they are responsible for around the house. They are not tied to any form of payment. I have a chore chart that I use basically as a way to let them know what they need to do that day. I usually give hugs, kisses and high fives for completion but that’s it. I tell my boys that they are helping out because they are a part of the family, that we all have to work together to keep our home nice. {same mentality I have for potty training. I don’t do bribes or treats, you go because that’s just what you are supposed to do}

    I am going to start giving allowance with the start of the new year but not really tied to anything. It’s mostly a tool in learning money management: the importance of saving, tithing, and giving.

    I do reward my boys for being extra helpful throughout the day. If my oldest cleaned up his brother’s toys (for example) I often give him a special treat like a peppermint or some extra mommy and me time for the day or I might make his favorite treat for dessert.

  72. We got a few of Dave Ramsey’s children’s materials (Financial Peace Jr. and some books) for Christmas from my in-laws one year. We started using his suggestions for chores commissions. Some chores they do without pay because there are just some things you have to do in families (make bed, put clothes away etc.) Other chores they earn a small commission for. My children are young (the oldest is 6), and their commissions are small (their max potential earnings in a week is only $3.00). I really like Dave’s system, though, because he teaches children about charitable giving and saving as a priority over spending. My children are thinking beyond themselves in the use of their money and they are more motivated to help around the house at the same time. Sometimes instead of earning a commission they earn daddy or mommy dates and that’s an awesome motivator too.

  73. avatar
    Herbwifemama says:

    We are just now, at age 4.5 thinking about a chore chart. I was just yesterday researching age appropriate chores.I think I personally am a little late on having one for her. She has had chores in the past, but it was always optional, and more of a “mommy can I help you?” kind of thing.

    Anyway, I don’t plan on giving her an allowance til age 6 or 7, because I don’t think kids younger than that really are capable of understanding how to manage money. And I plan to starting to teach her money management with her allowance.

    I don’t think chores will be connected to money, because I want her to know that it’s important to help the family because she’s part of the family, not because she gets paid for it. Though I remain flexible. I’m sure as time goes by, there will be jobs that she can earn extra on.

  74. We have 3 children thus far, ages 10, 8 and 4. We implemented chores from the time the kids were old enough to understand the request and do a very basic job of making their bed (or, just pulling the blanket up). I think it’s a very important part of building life skills, and for that reason, we don’t tie a monetary reward to their efforts. We don’t want them growing up with the idea that they will only do something for money. Nope. We’re a team!

    That said, they should also know the value of working hard for something, so a few times a year, we will give them money for big, out-of-the-ordinary once a year jobs. We just built a retaining wall and gave each of the kids $5 for putting in a couple hours. In the spring, they pull weeds from the lawn for a couple dollars.

    They get a small monthly allowance. They are expected to give some away, put some in the bank and keep the other for spending if they wish.

    I did, however, recently figure out that computer time is best allocated on the basis of what gets done. We parents don’t get to play before our jobs are done, so neither do our kids. In a sense, that has become a bit of a payment.

    It took us years to get to a system that works well for us, but now we’ve got it!

  75. great blog post! at this point in our house my girls, 9 and 4, do not get paid for chores. they are responsible for certain things (i.e. putting their clothes up, cleaning their rooms, setting the table, etc.) that i feel are on their age level. these things of course will change or grow as they grow.

    that being said if i ask that they do something outside of their norm, like say clean the windows or sweep the porches then that is subject to a little money. i like for them to learn about earning money and this gives them the opportunity to spend their hard earned money and realize that momma doesn’t always have the money for a certain toy but they can spend their own money.

  76. Growing up, allowance was not tied to chores and I have carried that concept forward with my kids. I feel that the kids should help out around the house because they are responsible members of the household and not because they are being paid to do it. I don’t get paid to do chores so why should anyone else who lives in the house?

    That being said, if they do extra things around the house without being asked, they can earn stars. After they earn ten, they can trade them in for what’s in the “magic bag”, which contains craft items, notebooks…etc. These stars are not just for cleaning up, but for helping others in many ways.

  77. I don’t have kids yet, but this is something I think about from time to time for when I do bring some into the world.

    Growing up we never had set chores. We were just expected to help out when it was needed. We also didn’t have a set allowance. My parents just took care of our needs and if they had extra money and we needed it for an outing or a toy or a movie, they would gladly give it to us. Of course, there were times when there was no extra money, and those were the times we didn’t understand why we couldn’t have things.

    That’s what I want to avoid with my kids. I want them to understand the value of money and why you can have things sometimes and not others. And I want them to make those tough decisions (with help) when they’re faced with financial choices.

    So my plan is to have a list of chores that are basic and required as a member of the family. These are the things that are just a given. You do them because you have to, and there is no payment. There will then be a list of optional chores, with a dollar amount attached to them. When the kids are old enough, they can decide which of those chores they want to complete and they’ll be paid accordingly. The money they earn can either be saved or used to purchase items that we, as parents, wouldn’t normally go out of our way to buy for the kids.

    I think that strikes a nice balance. You teach children that chores are an important and required aspect of living as a family, but also gradually teaches them the importance of paying their own way.

  78. My daughter is 4 and has two main chores that she does regularly and gets paid for. She gets a quarter a week for feeding the cat in the mornings, and another quarter for folding and putting away her laundry. There are other things we often have her do, like set the table, make her bed, or clean her room, but they don’t count toward the allowance.
    Now that she has her own money, we can talk to her about saving and tithing and the value of money.

  79. avatar
    Amy Peever says:

    I have three girls 13, 11, and 9. I, also, am a BIG fan of starting them out young. Even a two-year-old can fold washcloths or “clean” the fronts of appliances. When they are young, a simple solution of vinegar and water is a safe cleaner.
    Having begun chores at a young age, is now paying off in a huge way. It can be frustrating teaching young ones to cook or clean. But, when your 13-year-old can cook a complete meal, clean the bathroom, or clean the kitchen nearly as well as you would do it yourself, you will not regret all the time-consuming training.
    Chores are part of being in the family and thus not related to money. For most of us, working is a way of life. I have always been concerned that giving my children a work-free childhood would be setting them up for bitter disappointment and/or a rebellious attitude when the time came that they had to work. I, like other commenters, pay for extra jobs they do beyond their assigned responsibilities.

  80. I have a 4 year old girl and a 10 month old boy. We do pay for chores, but this is how we do it. Obviously the little man doesn’t do chores but he will someday. We gave our daughter 4 chores {1 for every year she is}: Make bed, put dishes away, clean up room before bed and put her clean clothes away 2 times a week. She gets paid $4 a week for completing her chore chart. This money goes into a jar, once this jar is full we all divide the money into 3 envelopes. 1. Tithe, 2. Savings & 3. Her money. This takes about 3 months for the jar to fill up. The “her money” is used however she wants to. If she wants to spend it all then so be it, if she wants to save for something else…then even better. We just wanted to make sure our kids know how to save and more importantly know how to tithe. I even made a cute chart too. She turns 5 in Jan. so she will get another chore added. We will take it year by year to see if it still works for her and her brother. Good luck!

  81. Our kids are 2 & 4 and we don’t currently pay them, and I don’t plan on paying them~but that could change. Silverware, toys, beds, sweeping and other small tasks are their jobs and they currently do them with a joyful heart. I’m glad we started them early!

  82. Chores are not linked with money in our family. We do pay an allowance so they have a little spending money of their own to manage but it has nothing to do with helping around the house.

    On occasion we do pay the kids for doing a job that is not a normal part of their chores if they are looking for ways to earn some extra money.

    Even your 2 year old is learning to clean up after himself. Just today he hollered over the counter to me that there was a mess. As I approached he stood back up and said he didn’t need help. He finished cleaning up with the rag which he then put in the kitchen sink. Job done.

  83. I completely agree with your entire post. There’s nothing “mean” about helping kids learn to take care of household tasks…I’d argue it’s “meaner” to allow them to leave the house without knowing how to do the dishes or laundry :)

    We don’t tie allowance directly to chores, because we found that then the bigger kids would constantly try to negotiate their way out of it (“I’ll give up allowance if you do the dishes…”) I don’t care about keeping the dollar; I want them to learn that taking care of the house is something you do when you’re part of a family.

    • That does sound lime a dilemma. [Just thinking out loud, here] I think I would tell them that they just have to do it, anyway, as part of helping out with the workload they create – I would like to ‘reward’ them with money, but …
      And if that didn’t work then there would be consequences.

      Does that sound a little similar to the conversation you had with them, or did you handle it differently?
      :)
      Sarah

  84. My kids are expected to do chores around the house because as a family, we all have chores. They do have allowance but it is not connected to the chores. I pay allowance according to their grade at school. They get their grade in allowance every week. 1st grade is $1 a week, 2nd grade $2…and so on.

  85. We separate allowance and chores although occasionally there are jobs for pay. Every weekend my six year old twins go through the coin jar and count out their allowance. They can get any combination of coins they want. We often visit the bank (or participate in school banking) and they frequently deposit. At this point, they are learning to count by 5s, 10s, 25s, and 1s (pennies or dollars) -an important 1st grade skill. When they turn 7, they will get a notebook (a three ring binder with one of those zip lock type pencil pouches). They will right down when they get their allowance and when they spend, a ledger and never ending math problem, similar to a checkbook. This will ultimately move into decimal work but will initially provide motivation to write and do math. Right now, they only get allowance if they remember to ask on the weekend. With the binder, they will have to have be up to date to get their allowance. They love to have a bit of money and are very motivated and creative with their counting.

  86. I have a 2 year old and he loves helping around the house. I too plan to nurture this instinct so he is used to doing chores. I don’t know about whether we will have allowance or not. I suspect yes at some point…

  87. There are chores and jobs that my 9 y/o daughter is expected to do and things she is expected to help out with around the house. She is expected to help clean the house (clean the bathroom, dust, windows etc) and sort and switch out the laundry on the weekends and keep her stuff picked up in the living room. There are other chores that I do pay her for though. I have a calender posted in the kitchen with the chores listed and the amount they are worth and after she does them she writes the amount on the day. The chores change but right now they are wash dishes (pans and stuff that have to be hand washed), fold a basket of laundry, collect and take out garbage/recycling, vacuum and a couple others I can’t remember. I pay $1-$3 for these. I may also put a “job of the month” on there which is a bigger job that needs to be done – that I don’t necessarily want to do – one month it was give the dog a bath, another month was clean the tub/shower which I pay out $5 for. She is saving up for a Nintendo DS, which I don’t think she needs b/c she we have a Wii, but I agreed that if she earned the money for it she could get it. Next she said she is saving up for a cat – hmmm I don’t know about that one!

  88. avatar
    Darla Anne says:

    Chores are expected so they don;t get paid for chores but they do get extra cash for special tasks above and beyond their reglar chores. The kids do get allowance. They look at money differently now that they have to budget and manage theirs so allowance has been helpful. We use www,threejars.com so that each one can manage their allowance in an online account. It’s pretty neat and helps me with tracking chores and allowance online.

  89. As the 2nd of 4 kids, growing up we were expected to help out. We had set chores each day, and they were completed or some punishment occurred. I think this should be an expected part of keeping the household running, not a paid job. When we grow up, we all have to do these things, and nobody is paying us.

    Now, if you do something extraordinary, I think $$ can be given. But for regular chores, I don’t think so. And when kids are older, they can have $15 gas money for those extraordinary jobs. But keeping this family and house running is not a paid gig in my book.

  90. We do not pay money to do family chores because everyone who lives in the home must help to take care of it. It is not financially compensated for anyone, it’s just part of life. My oldest is 3 so she doesn’t have my chores yet. :) When she turns four we are planning to start giving her a small allowance (not connected to doing chores), and when she is older if she wants to earn extra money we will probably give her special jobs to do for cash.

  91. I discovered a Love and Logic resource that could help me help my children start learning about money now, while they are still little. It is called Millionaire Babies or Bankrupt Brats, and it is my favorite Love and Logic resource.

    Love and Logic helps us raise the odds that our children will be financially independent and fiscally savvy adults by allowing them to experiment with small sums of money (an allowance) in a safe environment under the care of loving adults. By practicing with money early, hopefully kids will learn from their money mistakes while the price tags and consequences are still small.

    Love and Logic parents do give their children allowances, but they do not pay their children to do chores. Chores, are a “voluntary (unpaid) gift of children’s time and effort for the good of the whole family.” (p. 103) Love and Logic looks at allowances like this: “If we give pencils to children so they can learn how to write, and books so they can learn how to read, then why not give children money so they can learn how to save and spend?” (p. 61)

    Giving my older daughter an allowance has been wonderful for her and for us. When she wants something, we can always say “Sure! You are welcome to buy that with your own money.” Once she paid me $6 to do do her family contributions so that she could cozy up in her bed and read a book. Other times, when she has wanted something expensive, we’ve said, “We’ll be happy to pay for half.” After a year of making a lot of “mistakes” she has become a great saver and no longer spends her money on the first thing she sees.

  92. avatar
    MamaHarrington says:

    My son is 21 months and I have another on the way, so we really haven’t tackled this subject yet. However, I’ve had the pleasure of working with much more experienced parents (i.e. older than me, but the experience is what matters ;). Anyway, one man told me something that they did with their kids to teach them the value of money. It has stuck with me. They had a long rocky driveway that went down a hill and the rocks would often wind up at the bottom of the hill. They needed rocks to be taken back up the hill from time to time. He would have his kids fill up a bucket of rocks and spread it out at the top of the hill. It was hard manual work, so he paid them a whole dollar for each trip. Then when they went to use their very hard earned money, he would ask them if this purchase is worth so many trips up the hill. He said they would really evaluate their purchases. I dont know that we’ll do anything like that, but I was really struck by this idea of teaching the value of money.

  93. I have 7 children and we have grappled with this subject for quite some time. Here are a few of our most successful solutions: 1. Have jobs that are done because the child is a part of the family and it takes a family to run a family, but have optional jobs that can be done for pay. 2. When the older kids have spent a lot of time babysitting for me (without pay), I sometimes buy something that they have been wanting or saving for and give it as a surprise gift saying, “You have helped make my life easier this last little while by tending for me, so I decided to buy_____ for you to show my thanks.” It is amazing how sweet and helpful teenagers will be when they feel appreciated. 3. We have given “Family Dollars” for chores well done. These dollars could then be spent on privileges like having a friend over, a date night with mom and dad, etc. The price for each privilege was set in advance. 4. We have given each child an old checkbook and their chores were each assigned monetary value. As chores were completed, we entered the amount earned in the checkbook. No actual money was ever exchanged. The kids then could “spend” their money on things that they wanted or needed, (usually something that I would pay for anyway). They have bought books, clothes, birthday presents, etc. It was a great exercise in budgeting and in mathematical skills practice!

  94. I’m really looking forward on teaching the same to my kids when they turn 2. I want them to grow matured and can manage themselves well.

  95. In my family they dont get paid for chores. We dont even have a list that they have to follow. when they wanna go out with there friends or just walk around the neighbor hood they wash dishes or just go there own laundrey. I have three kids my youngest is 12 shes a girl the middle child is 15 hes a boy and the oldest is 16. and belive it or not the 12 year old is the lazyest person out of the boys. she slumps her shoulders and complains when she asks to go out and i say no because she hasnt done anything, then she sees her brothers ask and i will alow it because they do there work and shes slowly catching on that she has to work to go out.I think if she learns to take care of her dog that will be a big step up

  96. I love this. I have been grappling with what to do now that our 6 and 8 yo want to earn money. We use accountable kids program without an allowance, but we’re planning to start a sort of Ramsay’s kids program for their commission for a few of the harder jobs as they become diligent with their littler ones. God set up that example for us, and I like it.

  97. I know I’m a little late, but this is what we do: We have a large family and 1 income, so allowance would be hard. Last year I made up “Stash Bucks” on my computer – like Monopoly Money. If they do their chores without reminding, they will earn a certain amount of stash. They keep track on a Stash sheet, starting first thing in the morning. At the end of the day, the points are tallied and the kids are paid. I have a tote with all kinds of goodies marked with a price, that I have come into for free or nearly. Books, gum, toys, etc. They have 2 days a week to shop the store. There is also a surprise envelope from which they can buy and pull a card for a special priviledge (staying up late, etc). They can choose to spend their stash, or can save up and trade 300 stash for $5 – their choice. If they choose to do that, then they must pay tithe and put .50 in saving, the rest is theirs. My kids are learning to be resp. for their chores on their own, keep track of their work, to be wise with their stash, and if they show the discipline to save, they can get real cash:) It’s a little work and might not be right for everyone, but it;s been great for us and the kids still love it almost a year later.

  98. We started having our kids help around the house at a young age just like you did, and for essentially the same reasons. We also gave them an allowance at a young age in order for them to start learning about money, charity and budgeting. However, we did not tie the two together. The thing that tied into both of them was being a contributing member of the family.

    What we do that’s a bit different is that my husband and I both get an allowance too. We’ve always had a budget so we work together on deciding how our money is donated, saved and spent. We are also two responsible adults who want our own money to spend however we choose so we’ve always gotten our own “allowance”. People think it’s strange that adults get an allowance but really everybody gets one in one way or another. Everyone has some way of giving themselves pocket money, money to go out, golf or buy gifts. We simply called that our allowance.

    The beauty of this system is that it fit perfectly when we had children. All members of the family contribute to the household. We all do chores and keep things running smoothly. The money our family earns, whether it’s through Mom’s work, Dad’s work or both, is used for the good of the entire family, including each member receiving an allowance.

    The system has worked well for us for many years. Now, as the girls go through their teen years, I’ve even been able to expand it to teach them more about budgeting, shopping and saving.

  99. My boys have always done chores and they do so because they live here and must contribute to the daily runing of this house. We are a team and work together. Now if they do extra than the everyday stuff, I will pay them in money or video game time which they always choose the latter (ages 10 and 11). They only get one hour a day so an extra 30 minutes isnt that big of a deal for me (free) and its the whole world to them. I think its about teaching your kids responsibility while also giving them an opportunity to go above ad beyond and learn what “earning” feels like. Also its about finding their currency; it doesnt have to be money

  100. We have ventured on the pocket money journey with our 5yr old. It is $5, as we are learning about coins and counting, we use $1 coins. And then we explain, that in life, $1 goes for tax, $1 is towards the household running, $1 is for savings. And she gets $2, which she must make her bed to get. WE have had jobs we all must do installed for a long time, like help to set the table, clean up after dinner, help make lunch, and help put our clothes away. Note: on help us do it. That is just part of working together as a family. Later on, towards 8-9 years of age, we will introduce, recording everything we spend out money on, keeping receipts and noting it in the expense and work on budgeting.
    What we have discovered, when little 6 yr old now, wants something, we suggest to them if they want this they can use their money. We explain how much and how many weeks of pocket money it takes to obtain this etc…. Little 6 yr old, more than often, doesnt want to spend their money, they make a choice about keeping it as they like having it in their money jar, more than spending it. We hopes it works…

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