Should You Pay Your Child For Performing Household Chores?

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Do parents still give allowances? How frequently– once a week, once a month? And, why?

If you are one of those parents who gives your child an allowance, is it for fulfilling a responsibility or just because you believe your child needs pocket change?

Consider this:  

Your child wants an expensive pair of sneakers, or the latest iPhone.  Your child is well-behaved, and does quite well in school.

How do you decide? There’s always birthdays or Christmas, but neither is near. Do you just go out and buy them? Or do you expect something of your child in order that it is  earned?

Does your child have any responsibilities outside of school work and extracurriculars? Schools have rules to guide whether or not a child may participate in team sports, etc…. Grades and conduct are the primary criteria.

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As early as age 2, young children can be assigned simple chores, such as putting away toys. Just about all families expect children to contribute in some way to family life. Some children have household chores they’re responsible for daily or weekly. Other children help out only when their parents ask. Either way, getting children involved is good for everyone.

person using mop on floor

Children can learn a lot from doing household chores. They learn skills like preparing meals, cleaning, staying organized and other tasks associated with adulthood.

Being involved in chores also helps children develop relationship skills- communicating clearly, negotiating, cooperating and working as a team. Additionally, when children contribute, it helps them feel competent and responsible. Even if they don’t enjoy the chore, when they push through, they get the feeling of satisfaction that comes with finishing a task.

Sharing housework can help families work better as a unit and reduce family stress. When children help out, chores get done sooner, and parents have less to do. This frees up time  for doing fun things together or quality one-on-one time.

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Help motivate your child to do chores by:

  • doing the chore together until your child can do it independently
  • being clear about what each person’s chores are each day or week (make a list of chores on a weekly basis, put it on the refrigerator and write them down so they’re easy to remember)
  • talking about why it’s great that a particular job has been done
  • showing an interest in how your child has done the job, and
  • praising positive behavior
  • using a Rewards Chart to track completed chores and give small rewards like staying up an hour past regular bedtime or choosing the dinner menu.

Connecting allowances with household chores could be the best way a parent can both teach responsibility, teamwork, family unity, and the work ethic to your child. Age-appropriate chores will become more complex or detailed.

No excuses. No bribery, no just handing over cash. As long as tasks are do-able and your child’s basic needs are provided for to the best of your ability, by all means, assign chores. To get started, here are some tips:

Show Them How

man sitting beside boy in stairLike most everything else in your child’s life, they learn when you show them how. Chores aren’t any different. Don’t do the job for them. Just give them a good example of how the job gets done, and then let them take over. As your child is working, stay in the vicinity doing something else. This way, they get to see how it takes the whole family to make a well-functioning household. If you’re checking in at LinkedIn while they’re doing dishes,  that may decrease their motivation.

Inspect Their Work

When your child is done, note how it was completed. This show him/her that you care about all efforts. Additionally, it’ll give you an opportunity to show ways to complete the work more efficiently in the future.

Provide Positive Reinforcement

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Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna on

The National Council on Family Relations found that supportive parenting methods are directly tied to the self-esteem of children. It’s important to thank your child right after the chore is completed. This way, your child will know that the hard work is appreciated and that you’re proud of him or her.

Offer Rewards

This doesn’t have to be for all  responsibilities – just a select number of tasks where your kids go above and beyond each week. This way they start choosing to help as contributing members of the family,  and make some money, too. The lessons of earning money will help them achieve their future life goals. They’ll also learn that they’re in control of their financial destiny.

Remind Them Why Their Contribution Matters

Reinforcing the importance of family contributions will help children understand that this is the norm. This is how your family operates. Everyone pitches in to create the most harmonious family life possible.

Physically get down to your child’s level (or ask them to get down to yours if they’re taller than you), look them in the eye and tell them their hard work means a lot. They’ll then know that they’re an integral part of making your whole family happy.

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In the beginning, setting up a chore system may be really challenging, like finding the time to be consistent, and your child will do some complaining.

In life, the hardest things to do are quite often the most important. Know that your parental perseverance will pay dividends in your child’s life. You’re instilling lifelong values and reinforcing positive self-esteem.

What are some ways you teach your children the value of doing chores at your house?


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