Paying Kids to Do Chores: What Do You Think?

by TTMK on November 12, 2012 · 7 comments

When you were a kid, did you have to help out with things around the house?  Did you get paid to do chores?

The notion of paying kids to do chores is one that is readily accepted in many households.  The general idea is that it might help teach kids the value of money while learning some basic domestic skills, and being personally responsible.  For the kids, it’s nice because they earn a little money in the process. A win-win, right?

Maybe.  Or, maybe not.

Personally, I have to admit that I wasn’t paid to do anything around the house.  My parents never once paid me to do a chore.  Literally, not one time.  Of course, they also didn’t make too many demands of me either, as I wasn’t required to do too much around the house.  So I can’t speak from personal experience what it was like to be paid, or to be made to do a ton of chores.  Though I did recall one family when I grew up, where kids did get paid a small amount for doing household chores, which is what got me thinking of this topic.

These days, my perspective is different because I’m a parent.  As my kids get older, issues such as this – whether or not to pay them do chores – come with the territory.  As I’ve now come to that point, I have need for a point of view.  And that point of view is clear:  I don’t think kids should be paid to help with chores.

As an example – if a kid is a teenager, why should he (or she) get paid to mow the lawn?  Now, I’m not in any way advocating that kids be seen as labor for around the house.  Of course not, and I probably wouldn’t ever ask a kid to mow a lawn, and would rather pay a service anyway.  But in those households where that isn’t an option, maybe chipping in with mowing the lawn once in a while is fair? After all, the kid lives there, and needs to learn life skills anyway.

This could apply to other things, such as doing their own laundry, cleaning up the dishes, helping rake leaves in the autumn, and so on.  Again, while I DO NOT advocate making kids work to make life easier for adults, I do think that they should chip in with things just because they are a part of the family.  Not because they get paid!

After all, when you get older, you get paid for doing work. You don’t get paid for work around the house.

My Questions for You

How were chores handled when you were younger?

Do you agree with me that kids shouldn’t be paid to do chores?

Or, do you see this a normal way for kids to earn an allowance, or a good idea for other reasons?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam at MoneyTrail November 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

We take a hybrid approach with our four kids. They get a very small weekly allowance. They also have chores that they must do. These chores are not tied to the allowance and are routine jobs around the house, such as cleaning their rooms, unloading the dishwasher, mowing the grass, etc. We also have larger, optional jobs that they can do to earn extra money. Examples of these would be: babysitting their younger siblings, painting the porch, giving the dog a bath, etc. This combination has worked well for us. The kids get a small amount of money to “practice” with but learn to work for the extra money. They also use their own money for toys (except for birthday and holiday gifts), games or entertainment (going to the movies, etc.).

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TTMK November 12, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Pam – thanks for sharing. That certainly seems fair, as you’re distinguishing between routine “around the house” things and bigger work like painting, etc. Always interesting to find out how everyone handles this!

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martine November 13, 2012 at 12:59 am

I don’t think parents should pay their children to do chores. chores are part of their contribution to the family. Chores teach children responsibility and independence. I have seen some people in their 20s who do not know how to make a bed, do laundry, r clean a bathroom.

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TTMK November 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Martine – I agree on the basics such as making a bed, laundry, etc. Kids will need to do these things for themselves as they get older and these are normal parts of life. No need to get kids to expect payment for basic life skills.

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Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves December 4, 2012 at 11:30 am

Kids need to learn responsibility early. Don’t pay them for chores – make them understand the real cost of operating as a household and their duties within your family structure.

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catherine August 14, 2013 at 8:03 am

I was never paid.
I never got an allowance.
I had zero understanding of money.
Ias my child gets older she will not be paid for ‘chores’ and by chores I mean helping with general home maintenance. If she is living under our roof there will be expectations she helps contribute in ways she can-putting her own toys away, making her bed, helping with cooking wtc. There will however be abilities to make more money should she want- clean our car for ‘x’ dollars sort of thing.
wants to make money.

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catherine August 14, 2013 at 8:05 am

Wow. Sorry about the typos! On my phone.

She will also get an allowance until she is working so she can learn about money.

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