A lot of parents will consider paying their kids for chores. This can seem like an excellent idea at first. As an adult, money motivates you to work so you can pay bills. Why wouldn’t it work the same way for kids since they want to buy things too?
It is possible to get your children to do extra work around the house like cleaning or taking out the trash. This can be a huge help to parents, especially when they both have to work jobs. However, paying your son or daughter to help you out can sometimes seem like a bad deal for parents. After all, it’s not like the parents are getting cash for their every action.
I’ve been married for more than 18 years and have three kids. Raising three children teaches you a lot of lessons and chores are a big one. I’m going to share my personal experiences and tips with you in this post to help you decide what will work best for your family.
Paying Kids for Chores
Parents have a lot of work to do and often don’t have a ton of spare time. After working a job and taking care of your children, you may not have a lot of time left for other things. Cleaning and other regular maintenance around the house requires constant upkeep. When you have kids, all of this work gets amplified and multiplied.
It makes sense for mom and dad to want to get some help with responsibilities around the house. Kids contribute to the mess and enjoy the perks, so it can be frustrating when it seems like you have to force them to help.
One possible solution for this problem that most parents will consider at some point is to pay the rugrats to lend a hand. They beg you to buy them things all the time, so you’d think they would jump at the chance to make extra money to spend anyway they want. The reality is often not quite that simple though.
My Kids & Getting Paid
Years ago, my wife and I offered to pay our children to do chores. To be honest, it seemed like it was more hassle than it was worth because it was something that we wanted and wasn’t something the kids were motivated to do. In the long run, we didn’t get help with the chores by offering money.
For my family, paying for chores actually seemed to create more problems. Let me clear though. I do think this can work in a family, but the way we approached it was wrong. We inadvertently ended up causing our children to think that they don’t have to do anything unless they get paid to do it. This caused big problems and led to not paying for any chores long-term.
The money was too big of a focus. Our kids were already lazy before the offer, so we basically tried to bribe them to do more. What we really needed to do was to not enable our kids to be lazy and be better parents. We got to that eventually, but I still wanted to mention this for your own sake. If this sounds anything like your family, look for other ways to motivate them instead of paying them. Paying kids to do chores only works in the right scenario.
Required Unpaid Chores
One of the biggest things that I can recommend is to require your son and/or daughter to do some chores each week without getting paid. In fact, this should happen long before the offer to do paid work ever comes up. This is what will help to get them in the habit of not being lazy.
I also think this is really important because it makes it clear to your children that they cannot be lazy unless they get paid. When I was growing up, this was the situation with my dad. I was responsible for keeping my room cleaning and picking up after myself. If those things didn’t happen, there were consequences. There were years of doing unpaid chores before talking of an “allowance” for doing more work ever surfaced.
It worked great for me growing up but not so great as a parent myself. A key difference between the two situations was actually me. I approached my kids offering to pay for chores. However, I was the one that wanted to earn an allowance by doing more chores. I was already motivated to do it as a kid, but my kids were not.
You’ll find that keeping a list of all of the expected chores will work best, especially if you have more than one kid. This will help you to remember what needs to be checked. It will also help your kids remember what needs to be done.
Since you should have paid and unpaid chores, make a list for each. Leave this posted in an obvious place when it’s finished. This can really help to ensure that the work actually gets done. It’s really easy to talk about doing chores and then everyone just forgets about it after some time passes.
When I went to my dad as a kid and told him that I wanted to earn some extra money doing chores, he told me to make a list. I had to actually think about various duties that happened around the house on a regular basis to come up with this list. My stepmom had cats, but I noticed she hated cleaning the litter box, so I put that on it, just as an example. This ended up helping to my advantage, since I targeted work that I knew my stepmom and dad didn’t like to do themselves. It made them really happy to approve the chore list and also helped me to squeeze a bit more money out of the deal. Even as a kid I had an entrepreneurial spirit.
Don’t Chase Kids to Work
When you have to remind your son 10 times in a single day to vacuum the living room, you can reset paying for this work. This happened in my house. One time I realized that I spent more time chasing my kids down to get them to do their paid chores than it would actually take me to do them myself. That was the last day I paid my kids for chores!
If your children want to help out around the house to make some extra money and are motivated to do it, you won’t have to keep reminding them. In fact, they may even surprise you by completing their list before you think about it to consider reminding them.
Ultimately, paying children to do chores will either work or it won’t for your family. If you don’t think it will be taken seriously by your son and/or daughter, then don’t do it. However, it doesn’t mean you have to give up entirely. Sometimes you just need to buckle down and force them to help, even without making a penny. After all, everyone living in a household should contribute to it in some manner, and kids shouldn’t be an exception to this rule unless they’re really young.