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Fayette-Mom: Chores - to pay or not to pay

Posted August 18, 2014 8:45 p.m. EDT

Jennifer Joyner

— How much do your kids help out at home, and if they do, do you pay them for it?

It’s a debate going on in my house right now, and to be honest, I can’t make up my mind as to which side I support.

My husband is counting the days until our children can cut the grass. Until then, he wants them to pick up sticks, water plants and do other light outside chores. And he doesn’t think they should be paid a small allowance. His argument is, they are a member of this household and they must do their part to support its upkeep.

I wholeheartedly agree, and that is why the kids are expected to clear their dishes, straighten their rooms, make their beds and help carry in the groceries. When they get just a bit older, I’ll add wash the dishes, clean their bathroom, and help with the laundry.

But big jobs like cutting the grass and scrubbing the floors? It seems to me those are good opportunities for them to take on as extra tasks and make a little pocket money.

I’d love for them to learn to budget wants versus needs. I also want them to feel the pride involved with completing a job and getting paid for it, or, conversely, the consequences that occur when you don’t do your job and you lose out on the cash. Isn’t it important to learn all of this stuff at a young age?

I got my worker’s permit the day I turned 15, and I spent my high school years working several part-time jobs. This was both good and bad. I certainly learned responsibility at a young age, and how to budget my money.

But I also loved the independence a little too much, and I allowed my job to interfere too much with my school work. So I guess I’m looking for ways my kids can learn the lessons of a job while still staying close to home, under mom’s supervision. Is that even possible?

I’d love to know what you think. Should we pay kids for chores? Or do we just expect them to contribute to the household without being paid, as will be the case when they are adults? Please weigh in with a comment!

Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in 2010. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. She writes about motherhood and family-friendly events in Fayetteville here on Go Ask Mom.