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Kids and Money: Should You Pay Your Children for Chores?

Posted By Miranda Marquit On 05/17/2011 @ 12:23 pm In Family | 25 Comments

Most financial experts agree that it is important to start teaching your kids about money [3] when they are young. After all, even toddlers can begin learning a little bit about money, and how it works. Providing solid lessons and opportunities related to money management when your kids are young helps them get used to the choices they will make later in life with regard to their money.

Of course, the issue comes when you start trying to figure out how your children will earn money. Most children are too young to send off to work an after school job. Some parents don’t like the idea of just providing an allowance that isn’t attached to work. Some parents, though, don’t want to pay their children for chores. Here are the arguments for both sides; you can decide what will work best for your family:

Money Shouldn’t Be “Free”: Paying Kids for Chores

One of the main arguments for paying children for chores [4] is that just providing an allowance is a way to encourage kids to learn that money is “free.” Many parents want to attach money to chores to show children that they have to work in order to get money. The lesson is that hard work = money. You don’t just get money for existing (at least you shouldn’t get money for existing).

Some parents choose to give their children an allowance based on whether they accomplished all of their jobs for the week. Others provide a break down, attaching a specific value to certain chores. Industrious and motivated children can earn more money by doing more jobs around the house. This way, kids learn that payment is attached to work, and they have money to manage.

Sometimes We Do Things Even If We’re Not Paid: An Allowance not Attached to Chores

On the other side is the argument that sometimes we do things because we should, and not because there is money involved. Chores are part of being a family, and everyone does chores. I take this side of the argument. My husband and I feel strongly that our son should learn that there are some things we do to help the family — and that we can feel good about doing our duty even without monetary renumeration. We point out that dad doesn’t get paid to mow the lawn, and I don’t get paid to vacuum the floor. We do these things because we are part of the family. My son feels pride in his age-appropriate chores, and likes helping us out.

But he does get an allowance. We have explained to him that his gets an allowance because we want him to learn the basic principles of money management. His allowance is fairly modest, though. If wants to earn more money, we tell him that we will help get started with other ways of earning money [5]. He earns ribbon money for 4-H, and he plans to sell cookies and lemonade this summer. If he helps me with filing or other jobs related to my home business, he is paid for those actions. He also knows that when he is old enough, we will no longer give him an allowance; he will be expected to get an after-school job.

In the end, though, it’s about your preferences. I think that my son is learning valuable lessons about looking for ways to increase income, as well as learning that it’s important to do some things in life without expecting monetary compensation. But I could be wrong. I could be setting him up to think that everything has to be handed to him.

What do you think? Do you pay your kids for chores? Why or why not?


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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/kids-money-pay-children-chores.html

[3] teaching your kids about money: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/easy-conversation-starters-about-money-with-your-kids.html

[4] paying children for chores: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/teach-kids-money-tying-chores-allowances.html

[5] other ways of earning money: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/summer-job-ideas-for-kids-under-16.html

Thank you for reading!