Chores and Allowance: Tie them Together or Split Them Apart?

little girl chore

One decision most parents of children aged 5 or so and up will need to make will be that of giving an allowance and assigning chores.

For some parents, the idea of paying a child to do a chore makes complete sense. You ask the child to make his bed each morning, much like you are required to get up and go to work each day, and at the end of the week, if your child followed directions, he receives payment, much like you would in the form of a paycheck at the end of a work week. In this way, kids learn if they work hard, they will be rewarded.

Other parents believe in a separation between the idea of chores and allowances. Chores, they feel, are things children should do to help around the house; these tasks keep the family running smoothly, keep the home clean and safe, and show the child how we sometimes need to do things for the good of the group and not because it’s tied to a monetary reward. So a child makes her bed because it helps keep the entire home presentable; or mows the lawn because that’s something that has to be done to keep the yard safe and neat.

I fall somewhere in the middle on this issue. I do believe kids should help around the home in order to keep the house in order. I don’t feel it’s my job to do all of the cleaning, straightening, and putting away of things.  On Sundays, the girls put up their own clothes after they’ve been folded. Each night one girl sets the table and the other clears. After they brush their teeth, they wipe out their bathroom sinks. These are tasks that keep the home neat, or tasks that also benefit others. When they complain about having to do these things, I remind them I cook dinner every night, not because I make an allowance for doing so, but because I want my family to be healthy.

At the same time, I do believe it’s important for kids to understand there are benefits and rewards to hard work; and for many of us (most of us, as adults!) that reward comes in the form of payment. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with teaching kids the lesson – get a job, work hard, get paid. That’s how the world works, in my opinion, and teaching children the importance of this when they are young will, hopefully, help them create a good work ethic for when they get older.

In our home, I pay the girls a base allowance and then give them ‘bonus money’ for doing specific jobs. I tell them before they do these jobs that they will make extra for doing them. This may be vacuuming their rooms (a task they love!) or helping me clean the windows. It is typically an additional chore they can easily do.

Where do you fall in this, and why? Do you believe all chores should be tied to an allowance, some chores should be tied to an allowance, or an allowance should be given apart from the chores assigned?

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Chores and Allowance: Tie them Together or Split Them Apart?

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running. ... More

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3 comments

  1. Taylor says:

    Growing up i never received an allowance for doing daily chores but if i did what was expected of me during the week then i was allowed to go places on the weekend such as the movies and etc. all of which my parents were more than willing to pay for if i had done what i was asked to during the week.

  2. Chrisitna says:

    I was never given allowance for chores because it was my "responsibility" to help around the house, however, there was a list of things that I could do to earn extra money, like washing the cars, cleaning my parents bathroom (gross) and yard work. My son is 5 and I have been thinking about doing the same for him, the extra chores would be a little more simple of course. I feel my parents were right, it was my responsible to keep MY things picked up and MY bathroom clean just as it is my son’s responsibility, however, children should get the chance earn rewards or money for extra things they do because as parents we need to teach them about money, how to save it and when to spend it and so on.

  3. Tamara says:

    I believe chores that benefit the child from example cleaning their rooms should not have a reward. However, if they don’t feel like cleaning up their space they shouldn’t have to. As it would be nice, but as parents we should respect our child space. When space is shared like the living room/kitchen then that needs to be ALWAYS clean. For chores that are not the child responsibility like mowing the law or cleaning windows. they should be PAID. why not? if i do over time at work they pay me.Why shouldn’t i pay my kids. If my kid cleans her bike I wouldn’t pay her. If she washes my car then she gets a nice ten bucks from me.

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