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Jackie Hyland: Do you pay your kids to do chores?

Posted February 11, 2013

I was recently hanging out with a group of volleyball moms. After a long week at work, it's nice to switch gears.

As I am still relatively new to the Raleigh area, I learn a lot from these mothers, and I enjoy the mommy talk! I will admit, we talk a lot about volleyball.

But every now and then the conversation takes a turn ... and this time it was to the juicy topic of allowances and chores. It was an eye opener for me.

It's true I do not give my girls an allowance. As for chores well ... we need to work on that! Out of a group of four moms, I was the only one who did not hand out a weekly allowance!

It seems it's common practice these days to give children and teenagers a base allowance. Nothing too crazy. The going rate seems to be anywhere from $3 to $10 a week.

The idea behind the allowance encourage kids to save their own money and spend their money when they want a new toy or clothes. They can even boost that allowance, I learned, by doing chores around the house.

I went home after volleyball practice that day excited! I was going to start giving an allowance to my girls. And I was going to start asking them to do weekly chores for a fee of course.

I presented the idea as soon as I got in the door.

My older daughter immediately said: "Didn't we try this before? It's not going to work!"

My younger daughter was immediately drawing up a detailed chart listing all the chores she was going to take on, asking me how much I would give her for walking the dog and doing laundry!

My husband wanted to know why we had to pay our daughters to help around the house!! Good point!

OK, its been two weeks. I haven't handed out any money yet. And my husband and I are still doing pretty much everything around the house!

Maybe my older daughter is right. I am not sure if this is going to work for our family, but I do like the idea.

What do you think? Do you give your children an allowance, and do you pay them to do chores? I would love to hear from you!!

Jackie is the mom of a tween and a teen. She is an anchor for WRAL-TV. Find her here on Go Ask Mom monthly.

26 Comments

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  • ArmyMom Feb 12, 6:25 p.m.

    If you're going to pay children to do things around the house, maybe you should also charge them for taxi service.

  • angelienna Feb 12, 4:41 p.m.

    My boys do NOT get an allowance (ages 16 and 11). They are also expected to unload the dishwasher, keep their rooms neat, feed the dog, take out the trash, etc... these are all part of working as a family unit for our home and our life. I do more than my part, cooking, laundry, etc.. and they know they they are expected to help out. They help me cook, they set the table and get drinks for everyone.. it is the little things that they do that help me out and make life easier. Plus it teaches them good habits. I am proud that my boys know how to clean their own bathroom... don't want them to feel like they have to be dependant on anyone. It works for us... now if they help clean the gutters.. that may get them something.. but normal household stuff.. NO WAY!

  • debnamdavis Feb 12, 4:21 p.m.

    OMG, my teenage daughter have discussions about this all the time. I refuse to pay her for cleaning her room and cleaning after herself but I am willing to give her something if she wash dishes, sweep, etc. A chore that in the form of everyone in the house. What am I teaching her if I pay her to clean up her own mess up...no I refuse to. Kids these days have an entirely differnt view on things. When I was going up it was not a discussion...I just knew I had to do it and I respected everyone one. When I was told to do something I did it, there was never a discussion or gripe about it...it was never a thought.
    I think if I want to live in a clean house I keep it clean, you should get paid to keep where you stay looking presentable. That should be a done free of charge because this is where we live. Would I stay in a dirty house because I dont get paid for keeping it clean....no! I just do it becuase I dont like bugs, I dont want to be sick, and its just the right thing to do.

  • jwstevens04 Feb 12, 2:00 p.m.

    ...but let me point out too, that there are certain things they are just expected to do because they are part of the family. :)

  • Scubagirl Feb 12, 1:58 p.m.

    When I was growing up my 'pay' was a house to live in, bed to sleep in, food to eat. I got a very small allowance and if I wanted/needed more $ I would babysit. Times have changed I know, but still think it was better in many ways when kids weren't GIVEN all they wanted.

  • Blachlock Feb 12, 1:56 p.m.

    Jackie, this is the time to teach them responsibility and the value of earning/saving money. If they do not help now with chores around the house, they will not want to do it later and also will make taking care of the home more of a challenge later. It is a foundation you are building or should be building. It shows that everyone that lives there is responsible for maintaining the home.

    Paying your children their allowance for doing these chores goes hand in hand. Relate it to your daily life, do you get paid to work? Yes you do. With this allowance, which should be earned and not just given (do people just give you money for doing nothing), you are teaching them that for their hard work they are rewarded. With this allowance, have them save half in a savings account and the other half they can do what they want to. This teaches them the concepts of saving, banking and value. Many concepts I see younger people missing today.

  • jwstevens04 Feb 12, 1:55 p.m.

    Jackie...my husband and I took a Financial Peace class, by Dave Ramsey and what he suggested, that we do, is a fantastic idea. First, he suggests you nix the word "allowance" and replace it with "Commission" letting kids know, you have to work for what you earn. Allowance has a connotation, he suggested, of "free handouts"...or entitlement. So we made chore/commission charts of 5 things they are responsible for completing "X" times per week. If they do them, they get what the chore is worth, if they don't, then they do not get paid. It works wonders because they gain a good work ethic along with a real value of money and they think twice before spending it, when it's theirs and they had to actually "work" for it. They also have the chance to earn extra, with 'bonus' chores....it's a great program.

  • mkcollins Feb 12, 1:43 p.m.

    Jackie, they need to learn responsibility now, at home. They should at least be doing chores at home whether they get an allowance or get paid for them. My cousin never required it of her children and she is the one paying the consequence for it now. Her children are teenagers and they do absolutely nothing, she does it all because it is easier than fighting with them.

    I always had my daughter do chores - i made a list of "her" chores and "my" chores that had to be done before either of us got to do what we wanted to do.

  • JennyB Feb 12, 1:37 p.m.

    douglively919 nailed it.

  • douglively919 Feb 12, 12:16 p.m.

    Well, ..., we do not give an allowance to our live-in grandchildren. They have to work for their money and receive payment for performance in school. Not all of their chores are for pay either. Cleaning their rooms, taking out the trash, and cleaning up after themselves are expected habits of good living and do not receive payment. None of us are paid for expected habits of good living, so neither should they receive payment for doing what is expected. Instead I pay them for anything I would pay someone else to do: e.g. Mowing the lawn, blowing leaves, gardening, yard cleanup, extra cleaning around the house and maintenance. As a parent or grandparent you have to draw the line yourself and consistently stick to it. Though they may complain, roll their eyes, and gesticulate wildly in a childish manner (at the thought of working for pay), they will ultimately appreciate your consistent behavior. We all have to work at a job for pay so our children need to learn how to do so as well

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