Chores for Earning Allowance

When it comes to teaching children about managing money, there are two camps that are split along the line of how they actually earn the money. Camp one gives children allowance for chores. Camp two, which doesn’t like the chores tied in as it is a reward system, just gives children money each week and then teaches them how to manage. I am firmly in camp one. If you just give children the money, they are missing half the lesson as there is no effort towards earning it. To a camp two child, spending four dollars is the same as spending eight dollars you just have to wait a while to collect it. Life doesn’t work this way, in life people have to earn it.

That said, the worry of camp two includes the notion that if you pay your children for all their work efforts, you won’t be able to get them to do much of anything else. There should be responsibilities they are not paid for, they participate just because they are part of the family. I completely agree here. In my house, we started with chores you do because you are part of the family and then gradually added chores for allowance. Even now, their chore chart reflects this split.

When you start chores, aim for daily activities as this is easier to manage. Keep a chart to organize the list and encourage children to track their own progress. In the beginning, and as you add new chores to the list, help children to be successful at meeting the goals. As needed, do the chores with them, teach them how to use the chart and congratulate weekly successes.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

4 thoughts on “Chores for Earning Allowance”

  1. Absolutely agree and look forward to your follow-up post. We are a group 1 family and started allowance at age 4. We have never treated brushing teeth, getting dressed, making beds, or picking up their belongings as chores. Those are family and personal responsibilities that they have to do- no money involved. We define chores as actual contributions to lessen the workload on one of the parents. For example, folding laundry or emptying the dish washer is something that reduced mom’s work, and thus is a task worthy of allowance.

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