The Burning Debate: To Pay Your Kids For Chores Or Not


We’re heading into a battlefield here! But, we’re brave and we’ll tackle the debate head on! This is without a doubt, one of the most widely debated parenting topics out there since the beginning of time no doubt, so let’s take a dive in!

So, should you pay your kids for chores? Yes or no?

Well, there two schools of thought, with battles raging ‘for’ and ‘against’, but we’ve looked at both sides of the coin to help you decide what’s best for your family!

Why you should pay your kids to do chores

Whether you believe that this is absolutely the wrong approach to take, there certainly are benefits to paying your kids to do chores. Here we take a look at some of the reasons you should consider this approach.

  • Kids learn that money doesn’t just fall off that elusive money tree. By the way, has anyone found that tree yet? If you have, please let us know. They learn that money has to be earned. It’s not a weekly hand out which they’re entitled to, they learn to understand the connection between work and money. They’ll think about the fact that if they do something good, they may get a bit of money, and if they don’t, well tough luck for them. It needs to be clear in their minds that they have to do something to achieve something – no work, no pay! Simple.
  • Another reason ‘for’ this approach is that your kids will have money which they’ve earned, and they can either spend it or save it. If they spend it the moment it touches their hands, they’ll realize just how quickly money goes, and that super cool toy they’ve been waiting for won’t be coming their way too soon. They can learn about saving here. This is a good lesson everyone to learn. You’re planting the seed that by saving the money it can add up quickly and they can get that toy they’ve been longing for.
  • So, you’ve no doubt heard that ‘money is the root of all evil’, but it’s actually an effective motivator for kids. If you think about your own working life, yes happiness and satisfaction do play a huge role, but that increase or fat bonus for work well done is certainly going to have you feeling pretty good. So, if your kids are working at home, cleaning the backyard, mopping, dusting furniture or washing the cars, why shouldn’t they be given a financial reward? It prepares them for the working world.
  • If you want a young entrepreneur, which is a great trait for kids, then rewarding them for hard work, helping them to save and coming up with new ideas of how they can make money, will all go a long way in stimulating them to think like a highly successful entrepreneur. Let them sell things, or tell them they can buy lemons with their money and make lemonade to watch their money grow. They can even ask for extra chores around the house that aren’t part of their normal chores. Business skills at their best!
  • But, it’s not all about them making money for themselves – you should teach them about the value in helping other people in need, or even animals in need. Teaching them to share their hard earned money in this way, will create a sense of well-being and empathy for the rest of their lives!

Why you shouldn’t pay your Kids for Chores


So, we work hard and we get paid for it, so why shouldn’t our kids get the same rewards for doing jobs around the house? Hold on tiger, there are other compelling reasons why they shouldn’t get paid to do chores. Let’s take a look at them.

At first glance it may seem fair that they get paid to do their chores, but think about it this way. Do you get paid to do the washing, the ironing, cooking dinner, taking out the trash and all other housework? Well we think not. So why should our kids?

Doing chores is part of family life, and it keeps families functioning. If we expected money for it, and didn’t do it, what would happen then? Imagine asking your husband or your mom for some money to do your chores around the house. We’re guessing you’re not going to get too far.

Here is the flip side of the coin as to why you shouldn’t pay your kids to do chores.

  • It sends the wrong message. Here’s what Daniel Pink, author of The New York Timesbest seller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, has to say about the subject:

“(Paying kids for chores) sends kids a clear (and clearly wrong) message: In the absence of a payment, no self-respecting child would willingly set the table, empty the garbage, or make her own bed.  It converts a moral and familial obligation into just another commercial transaction and teaches that the only reason to do a less-than-desirable task for your family is in exchange for payment.”  That’s not really the message we want to send is it? We want them to contribute because we value them and they are important and capable members of the family, and everyone has to contribute, whether they’re toddlers or teens.

  • When kids get paid to do basic chores around the house they believe that they are entitled to it. This reinforces the fact that everything revolves around the child and that their personal needs are more important than those of the family. What we want to be doing is creating an environment of teamwork, where everyone mucks in and does their bit. If you pay them to do chores, you undermine teamwork and as we said earlier, they feel that they are entitled to money for anything that they do.
  • When it comes to the real world, no one is going to be paying your kids, now adults, for doing basic chores around the house, so not paying them now prepares them for the world out there.
  • They’ll become wise to the whole scenario, and when they feel they’ve got enough money they’ll call the shots and say that they don’t want to do their chores. What do you do then? You’re stuck in a cycle with no other hand to play.
  • Kids being kids will always be looking for a raise. At first they’ll be working away doing their chores and be happy to get their cold hard cash handed over for their hard work. But be warned…there will come a time, when they want more! They will be asking for a raise quicker than lightning. And ultimately they’ll have no interest in what you pay.
  • You could be sending the message that there is actually a choice in doing chores, which is not great, as everyone should be doing their part.

Now that we’ve looked at both why you should and shouldn’t pay your kids to do chores, perhaps there’s a happy medium. Maybe the two can work together. You could consider an allowance, with no strings attached, and then if they go above and beyond the call of duty, like cleaning out the garage, shoveling a snow covered driveway or even babysitting, perhaps they can get something out of that. There is no right or wrong answer in this debate, but rather it’s a choice that each family makes.

What are your thoughts? Are you for or against the idea of paying kids for chores?

1 Comment

  • J says:

    I think kids should do chores to learn taking care of themselves; we should keep chores and allowance as separate. If we want to build work ethic and teach children to be responsible with money, its alright to pay children allowance for odd jobs that are outside of their normal daily chores, such as washing car. We should pay them reasonably and let our kids learn about responsibility, getting the work done, and as a result they will feel empowered handle their own money.

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