Earning Money by Doing Household Chores

Hi, What do you think about kids earning money by doing things in and around the house? I read many familys do that like giving 0.10$ to 0.25$ daily to brush theeth, make there beds, clean play room, etc. Some other will pay more to do the laundry, cutting the grass, washing the dishes, clean the car, help on the farm, help to do renovation or construction, help in parent business, etc. Do you think its ok to do this or it leads kids to never want to help and expect money in exchange of doing anything? Can it destroy the natural willingness to help there parents? Is there some things we could pay for and some others not? Could we choose specific things that we would pay for and for the rest just continuing asking for services and help for free and letting them free to refuse helping (like I actually do right now, I ask help if they want they join me, if they don’t want its ok and I respect that not showing any more love in exchange than the normal love I give). Is there a balance we can find to be able to give them the oportunity to earn money while working to get it?

Dear Parent:


Some parents pay for chores and some don’t. Some parents believe in having certain duties that are expected and not paid, and then children can earn money by doing extra chores around the house. The research shows that children who help around the house have healthier self-esteem because of the contribution they make to their families, communities and the world. They feel good when they contribute as adults do when they volunteer. 


It’s been my experience (and no research has been done on this) that children go through stages of wanting to contribute. Young children from ages one to about four, love to “help” parents and mimic what parents are doing. They will do it freely for no money or incentives. I would suggest avoid paying anything other than gushing appreciation at this stage. Around ages five to 12 is the “reluctant” years where they complain, ignore and generally grumble about what they have to do. If you want to reduce the grumbling, you could offer a tangible incentive such as money, (not food) or time doing something special together, or a small toy.  The caution is that you give your child the opportunity to “opt out” leaving you still with all the work that needs to be done. Perhaps they don’t really want or need to have the desired item and refuse to work. Will you be okay with that?  Something magic happens in the teen years though, if you have built a great relationship with your children. They are able to see the loads of work you have on your plate and will be more empathetic to your position, and help out you because you are important to them. Again, express your appreciation!


Children catch on very quickly to the fact that in the real world, they get paid for work. The harder lesson to teach is that most of what adults do, they do it because they are not getting paid. It just has to be done. It’s still a lesson that children learn as they move into adulthood.  At some point in time, whether at 8, 15, or 21, they need to brush their own teeth for the sake of good health, launder their clothes because they like them clean, and do their homework because their education is owned by them. However, each child reaches that stage in their own timetable.    


Judy Arnall

Author of the Canadian Bestseller, “Discipline Without Distress: 135 Tools for Raising Caring, Responsible Children Without Time-Out, Spanking, Punishment or Bribery” 


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