Should you pay your kids for doing chores? Every parent is faced with this decision. Should you give an allowance? Do your kids deserve free money they didn’t work? Just so they spend, spend and spend?
There are generally three camps parents fall into: the pay your kids for chores camp, the not paying your kids for chores camp and finally the allowance camp. You will fall into one of these three camps, it’s inevitable. Or like us, you may start with one camp and gradually shift to the other, or you do a little of each. Let’s take a closer look at these camps.
Pay Your Kids for Chores Camp
Generally, these parents reward their kids for doing basic household duties. Folding laundry, dishes, cleaning bedrooms, etc..
Kid does the work, kid gets paid. Simple.
A variance to this camp, is one where you pay for certain chores that go above and beyond basic household tasks.
Don’t Pay Kids for Chores Camp
The next camp is the one where no money is given for basic household chores. The idea here is that you do the work because you live here and helped make the mess.The house needs everyone’s help to keep it running smoothly and the children need to learn a solid work ethic.
The key here is the term basic tasks. Not every household chore is a basic need. There are some chores that go above and beyond that could be paid chores if the parents desire. This also varies from house to house within this camp.
These parents believe that children need to learn how to handle money. Most don’t teach their kids how to spend, save and give. They just give a weekly amount of fun money and leave the decision making to their kids. “Here go have fun with your friends” is our societies mantra.
Some parents do hope to teach their kids about saving, spending and tithing money when their kids are given an allowance. I’d say this is rarer because if you really truly want to teach your kids these values you also want them to learn how to earn a dollar. No one is given free money unless you live off the government and we see how well that is working out for our society. Ahem
Now that we’ve broken down each camp you need to ask yourself what values you want to instill in your children. Do you care if they work for their money? Are you fine with giving them free money? While all of these camps have their pros and cons, our family falls into the not paying for basic chores camp. We don’t give allowance and we don’t pay for things they need to be doing in order to keep the house running smoothly.
Everyone needs to learn how to do the laundry, dishes, and self-care so for us it doesn’t make sense to reward them with money for these tasks. We all typically pitch in when it comes to those tasks because they all have been fairly young still. Recently we’ve started incorporating Financial Peace Jr. We are really enjoying the program. It’s more than just a system to give them an allowance or money for basic chores. It’s a whole curriculum that teaches how to save, spend and give and the reasons behind it. There are coloring activities and even budget pages.
Our family has decided on a list of above and beyond chores that our kids can voluntarily do to earn money. They are not required to them but they are required to help with basic chores. Some of these chores include sweeping and mopping bathrooms, cleaning our kitchen island, picking up sticks and leaves.
Why didn’t we pay for chores when they were little?
First, it is more important to us that our children learn to do the hard work that needs to be done without expecting anything in return. No one is paying mama to clean the poop off the toilet so no one is paying little Jonny to do the job either. The basic household chores must be done whether we want to do them, our children need to learn this lesson first before ever thinking about money being involved.
Second, younger children don’t need to learn about money. That is our opinion. We want our children to learn from the start that any money they are given needs to be saved. It’s a good skill to learn right from the start and it squashes the greed that wants to grow inside all of us from an early start. Toys will be broken and will end up in the trash, spending their little bit of cash on them isn’t a wise choice in our opinion. And still, any birthday or Christmas money that they get goes right into their piggy banks. Saving is the most important lesson to teach children about money and so we are very firm on this.
But it’s our job as a parent to not only teach our children how to save but also to spend and give. But we decided to wait until they had a solid foundation of saving money, a work ethic, helpful spirit and not expecting to be paid for anything.
We need to also teach them wisdom in what things to buy. Foolishly spending their money on candy and toys all the time isn’t a wise choice. Too many parents stop at the three principles but we still need to follow through and give them the tools they need to be wise spenders. Don’t just hand over the cash and tell them to separate the money into 3 piles. Teach them how to spend wisely. Teach them that somethings just aren’t worth the cost. Teach them how it’s better to save up for a few weeks and get something much better. This still instill delayed gratification in them! It’s a great skill to have in life!
Each family needs to decide for themselves what camp they fall into and then own that decision. Where does your parenting philosophies line up with these camps: the paying your kids for chores camp, not paying your kids for chores camp or the allowance camp?