Every kid does or at least should do chores around the house. Chores will vary depending on their age, ranging from making their own beds and cleaning their rooms, to taking out the garbage, drying dishes, dusting furniture, vacuuming, and walking the dog.
A list of chores should be part of a child’s everyday life, preparing them for the real world, and giving them a sense of responsibility. But there’s one big question: should they be paid for doing them? Some call this an allowance, but whatever you call it, if the child doesn’t get his or her allowance because they don’t do their chores, it’s a payment.
So is it a good or a bad idea to pay your kids for doing chores? Here’s a look at both sides.
10 Pay: It Teaches Them About the Concept of Work
Of course, young kids shouldn’t have to hold down a job of any kind. Their work is to learn how to behave appropriately and do their schoolwork. But the reality is that the world works in such a way whereas you do jobs and you get paid for them. It might not always be monetarily, but you get something in return, even if it is just the satisfaction of seeing a clean house.
But paying kids a few dollars for completing their chores can teach them about the concept of work, and how things in the house aren’t just paid for by magic. Someone has to work to earn the money to pay for them. So giving kids a few bucks every week or month for consistently doing their chores is great preparation for adulthood, and will get them in the habit of doing the chores consistently.
9 Don’t Pay: They Might Believe They Should Be Paid For Everything
If you start paying kids for chores, they might start believing that they should earn money for everything they do. If you ask them to help you garden one day, for example, will they ask how much they get paid to do it? Or if you task them with watching their younger sibling, will they demand an hourly rate?
Of course, this situation can be nipped in the bud instantly by setting up what the regular chores are and the fee for completing them. Anything else you ask them to do should be done with a “no problem” attitude, and that’s that.
8 Pay: It Provides Incentive
As children acquire money on a regular basis for contributing to the household workload, they begin to see it add up and it gives them a sense of accomplishment.
It can drive them to make sure they finish all of their chores in enough time to go out and spend that $10 at the movies with friends or save up enough money for a new pair of shoes they’ve had their eye on. Adding a little monetary incentive can teach kids that if they work hard, they can achieve goals.
7 Don’t Pay: They Might Try To Get Out Of Chores By Forgoing Money
If kids equate their chores with something they do for money, then one day, if they simply don’t feel like cleaning the toilet or emptying the dishwasher, they may just tell you “oh, that’s fine. I won’t get any money this week.” And that isn’t going to fly.
Having your kids do chores requires consistency, and you don’t want them to think they can opt-out whenever they feel like it because they don’t need the money right now.
6 Pay: They Can Learn To Save Up For Something They Want
A great reason to pay for kids for chores is to help them learn about saving up, and responsibility. Rather than buy them the new toy or video game or piece of clothing they really want, have them earn the money through chores to get it themselves.
It will take a while, but the kids will learn the value of a dollar. And once they’ve acquired enough to buy the shiny new thing they want, they might even change their mind and decide to keep the money for something more important instead. They did, after all, work really hard for it.
5 Don’t Pay: It Could Place Too Much Value on Money
While it’s important for children to understand the value of a dollar, you don’t want them to think that money is the be-all, end-all, and that everything they do should have a monetary value.
You can combat this potential thought process by also having your child do volunteer work, donate old books and clothing, or help out others for purely selfless reasons, and not because they think they’ll get a buck from doing it. This will teach them balance and how doing things for others with no agenda is just as rewarding, if not more, than earning actual money.
4 Pay: It Will Be Easier To Get Them To Do Chores
Let’s not sugar-coat things: if you have a brooding teenager or elementary-aged child who never seems to listen, adding money to the equation might help make it easier to get them to actually do the chores.
Rather than exhaust yourself by getting upset with your kids, or having to remind them over and over again what they are responsible for doing each week, adding this incentive might be the kick in the butt they need. Do the chores, get the allowance. Don’t do the chores, no allowance. Pretty simple.
3 Don’t Pay: It Suggests That Chores Are a ‘Job’
We don’t want our kids to think that we’re putting them to work when they are busy enough as it is with school. Chores are jobs. But on the same token, you can explain to them that you, as parents, do lots of household chores as well, none of which you get paid for either.
So simply tasking kids with chores and eliminating money from the equation lets them see that everyone contributes equally to the household. It’s not a job, but just something that has to be done.
2 Pay: They Understand What It Means To Earn
Paying kids for doing their chores lets them understand what it means to earn something. Just like they have to get a good report card if they want to go get ice cream, or finish their homework if they want to visit the grandparents this weekend, they must do their chores in order to earn their allowance.
It’s yet another method to teach kids that bad behavior or slacking off isn’t rewarded. To get things in life, you must earn them.
1 Don’t Pay: They Might Boast To Friends
Your kids might boast to their friends that they get paid to do their chores, which could lead to their friends approaching their own parents with the idea, and potentially having those other parents resent you.
Of course, you should implement whatever family strategies you feel work best for your family, and what everyone else does is their business. If you’re worried about this, just make sure your kids know that they should keep both their allowance details, and how much money they have saved up or earned, to themselves.