Why I'll Be Paying My Kid for Chores

BlogHer Original Post

I've heard a lot of arguments against paying kids an allowance in exchange for chores.  Some say the children have to do chores just because they're part of the family. (Yes.) Others say it teaches children to help out just for a reward and not for the joy of helping. (Yes.) I think those things are all true. And I'll still be paying my kid an allowance to do her chores (as long as my husband agrees -- it may be interesting to see his reaction this post).

Part of parenting is teaching your child how the world works. We live in a capitalist country that regularly trades work for money. The sooner kids learn that money doesn't fall from the sky for no reason at all, the easier they'll have it when they're spit out into that mess we call the job market.

Allowances also teach delayed gratification and the concept of saving. As my girl starts wanting treats at the swimming pool or a collection of sea monkeys, she's going to want some pocket money. Up until this point, we haven't let her make those decisions on her own -- we've always decided when she can have something and when she can't. I'm looking forward to giving her a little more control over her treats, and I'm also looking forward to teaching her the far greater reward of a big prize at the end of an anticipated wait rather than a pocket full of trinkets and bubble gum. It's a tenet I practiced better in my youth than I did as an adult, and with this recession mess we're going through, I'm putting more stock myself in the waiting game. Man, I can't wait to redecorate that kitchen.

We don't give my daughter an allowance yet, but we'll probably start soon. (She's five.) She already does chores around the house, although not as regularly as she will once that allowance comes along. Now she does them because I tell her quite sternly to do them. That evil eye business won't stop once she starts getting an allowance -- doing the chores is not an option, but whether or not she receives her pittance is. If she does them willingly and without being asked more than once, she'll get the allowance. If she doesn't, she'll do the chores anyway for free.  I think that's key -- the main argument against offering an allowance is the idea that the child could simply not do the chores if he or she decided not to care about the money. Oh, no. OH, NO. That is not how we roll.

That said, teaching kids how to handle money is so important. I will not only encourage an allowance, we'll teach my daughter how to handle a checking account and a credit card BEFORE she leaves the house. We want her to suffer the consequences on a small scale at home before she suffers them at the macro level out in the world. I believe that's as much a part of parenting as teaching children not to talk to strangers. DON'T TALK TO VISA. OR MASTERCARD. EVEN IF THEY HAVE CANDY.

Here's my real question: How much? If you offer an allowance, how much is it a week for how much work and which age kid?


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