Kids. Chores. Allowance.
At some level we all know that these three things should go together in some way. But the how and why of it all sometimes gets lost in the sleep deprivation and “don’t do that’s” of parenthood.
Let’s start with chores. The general school of thought is that kids should do chores. What those experts don’t tell us is how much work it is to make it happen!
Yes, kids should do chores – for many reasons. But enforcing a chore system in your house can sometimes seem like more trouble than it’s worth.
So let’s start with the benefits of chores:
The positives for mom are pretty awesome –
When the kids do chores, mom has a little bit less work to do – eventually. If our kids can ever get a handle on doing things like cleaning and laundry, then theoretically, our lives will get easier.
The other benefit is a greater level of respect for all that Mom does and how hard she works to keep things running.
The positives for kids are character rewards –
Kids who do chores learn how to work! Since the majority of our lives are spent working, this lesson is a big one! I don’t want to raise lazy spoiled children who think it will all be done for them. Chores clear that issue right up.
Chores also teach my children that we are a team. Everyone helps! No one is above taking out the trash or feeding the cat. It’s so important for kids to know that they have something of value to share with the world – even if it’s just their ability to set the table.
So chores are a good thing. How soon? How much? Which ones?
Most kids can start helping around the house by age three. They can pick up their toys or bring down the bathroom trashcan to be emptied.
As kids get older, they can handle tougher chores. My guys (10, 9, and 5) are a real help around the house. They bring all the dirty clothes to the laundry room before they leave for school. I’ll wash, dry, and fold it for them, but they put it all away. My guys are also responsible for their own bathroom. They clean it! They scrub the tub and wipe down the sink and replace the hand towel. Don’t get me wrong – I supervise, but they do the work.
Should we pay kids for chores?
This is a tricky question, and there are a few different schools of thought here.
Some people think kids should just work for free – “I feed you and clothe you, so you do chores.” A valid argument.
Others pay by the job. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. If you do all your chores, you get a set amount per chore – kind of like the real world where no work = no pay.
In our house, we sort of combine the two concepts.
Everyone works. No options. No exceptions. We all pitch in to keep the house running. And every week, everyone gets paid. Each child gets an allowance once a week.
What’s the point of an allowance?
Allowance gives kids the opportunity to learn how to handle money. I can’t think of many skills more important than knowing how to handle money: how to save, how to spend wisely.
If our kids never have any money to spend, how will they learn these concepts?
So I give them money. Not for free. They do work. I just don’t directly tie the chores to the cash. Everyone works, and everyone gets paid. A direct relationship between the chore and the pay was just too hard to keep track of.
We certainly don’t have it all figured out, but this chore/allowance thing is working at our house. My children are learning how to work and how to spend, save, and give. It’s a work in progress, but we are seeing results.
I would love to hear from you. How do things work at your house? What chores do your kids do? How do you get them to actually DO those chores? How much of an allowance do they get?
I’m a woman of faith.
I’m a wife, mom, and friend.
I have a husband I adore. But our marriage isn’t perfect.
I have three sons. I love them, and sometimes even like them.
I have issues. I try to own them and work through them. I don’t always succeed.
I’m a work under construction.
I started my blog, Come Over For Coffee, as a place to talk through the stuff of life – the sticky stuff like friendship and marriage, and the fun stuff like coffee and shopping. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I definitely have lots of questions. I’m blogging under the assumption that together, women can figure stuff out.
My biggest soapbox is that being who we are – with no apologies for how we’ve been created – is the surest way to get the most out of life.
Or you can just Come Over For Coffee!