Opinion Saturday #4

It’s Opinion Saturday again. You give me your opinion on a topic. On Sunday evening I choose the best-reasoned, best-stated answer. The winner gets the prestigious (wink, wink) “Golden Keyboard Award”, a place on my sidebar for a week, and a code to put the award on their webpage for as long as they like.

This weekend’s topic is kids and jobs. Do you think kids should be paid for doing chores around the house? Why or why not? If you prefer, you can give me a link in comments and answer this with a post on your own blog. Hit me with your best thought!


  1. There are three kind of chores in the life of most families. One kind is the 'we are a family' sort and we all have age and interest appropriate chores that contribute to the functioning of our family. So, setting the table, emptying the dishwasher, picking up toys — these are part of our family involvement. On the other hand there are chores which are outside the daily flow such as organizing the hall closet, rotating the oldest materials in a file folder to the history file cabinet. There should be a dry erase board where children could post a project they would be interesting in doing and parents can consider the monetary value that would be attached to having this helpful 'extra' chore done. Once the 'pay' for that job is determined the originator of the plan gets first dibs on the task, otherwise it is offered as an available paying task. Parents can also post a project that would be helpful if accomplished with what the 'pay' would be for completing that task. This way kids have a way to earn money for the extra things they want or need or to create gift buying money.

    Another special chore is when one child could use some help with a skill or new school subject. This can be handled through the barter system, effort for equivilent effort.

  2. I truly believe that children are capable of so much if we just give them a chance. They are eager to learn and to help. What a surprise I got one day when (truthfully out of sheer frustration) I asked my children to help me sort the laundry into piles. One for each member of the family. Not only did they (ages 2,4,5,) do a better job than my husband, they had a great time doing it. I loved my 2 year old asking "Ih dat my shirt?". I was also pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to fold and "pile" clothes that were already sorted.

    I agree with Gillian that there are certain chores that should be expected of the children and chores that can be done for a fair (read, low) monetary value depending on the age of the children.

    I do believe in an weekly allowance-type system more from a "financial training" standpoint than a reward. My older two LOVE to count what is in their wallet and put it in the bank. Even more amazing, they like to keep it there.

    I think it is an important responsibility of parents to teach their children about what it takes to keep a house neat so that they can enjoy it as a family. I also think it is so important to teach children the value of money. That said, I like the idea of jobs and money.

    PS-If you go into "Change Setting" and then "Formatting" you should be able to get your dates back!

  3. Well, it's early and "well stated" is not my best writing form, but here goes. In our family you are expected to do your chores – and we don't call them "helping opportunities" or "life skills" or anything fancy. They are what they are. Chores. Cleaning the house, loading and unloading the dishwasher, picking up junk, groceries, laundry, meal time help — all of that is just part of our daily routine. You get to do that just for the sheer joy of living here in paradise.

    We do give our children an allowance. 5 dollars a week per child. Out of that 5 dollars, they are expected to tithe 10%, but each week they tithe 20% so far. They have to save one dollar. So that leaves them 3 – see how keen my math skill is – no wonder I homeschool. Left with 3 dollars, they fund their own wants – not needs – wants. So if they want to rent a movie – cough up the money. If they want to stop by DQ for cookie dough ice cream, where's the dough for that? You get the point. If it is an activity that is my idea, I pay. If it is something they want to do, they pay, generally speaking. If I am buying McChickens, and they have to have a Happy Meal so they can get that awesome plastic toy, well there goes a week's spending money. That happened a lot at first, but they are all already seeing the value of saving. Once they have hit about 20 bucks in their savings, they can use that to buy whatever bigger item they want.

    But, back to the original topic. Do I pay them for chores? Sometimes. If I have a project that is really above everyday life and somebody just shows up to help me or volunteers if I ask, then I usually do. Not every time though. Sometimes if I just yell and ask for something (like when they are all watching TV) and one of them comes and does it for me, I might reward them with candy or something. They never know what is going to happen. Sometimes a good deed is rewarded and sometimes a good deed is just that – a good deed. Just like in life.

    Hey, maybe I'm teaching "life skills" after all.

  4. We have plenty of non-paid chores — picking up, laundry, stuff like that — but I also pay for housework. I pay 25cents per room for vacuuming or dusting — much much cheaper than my housecleaner would do it for and it gets done more often this way. The kids are happy to help out and they get a kick out of earning money. We recently paid them a penny a piece to pick up droppings from our neighbor's sweet gum tree. I've paid my oldest to "babysit" (keep the youngest busy in the next room) while I've completed a sewing project or two. I believe in keeping wages low for them because I want them to feel the effort that goes into their spending money. And, honestly, they seem just as thrilled with my praise and pride in their work as the quarters I dole out. My kids are still pretty little (7, 5 & 2) so they don't really "need" spending money so it's usually stockpiled until vacation time. Right now my son is saving up for our yearly visit to the rennaissance faire where they have interesting toy vendors. My daughter doesn't really have a goal for her money but she's happy to hoard it. I'm sure my wage system will change as they get older but, hopefully, the pride in doing a good job will stay.

  5. Wow! I am loving these comments! And I can't wait to hear what you do, Mary.

    Gillian, what a system! And I love Jillbert's idea about babysitting in the next room–a great way to prepare my 9 year old for 'real" babysitting some day.

    I don't like to link chores to money, because I think they tend to get that "That's not my job" attitude. We do think they can learn some money management at an early age, so we pay them a very paltry sum–ranging from 50 cents a week for my four year old to $3 for my 9 year old, and they tithe and save from that, then spend the rest on what they want, within reason. Then sometimes they can do extra stuff for extra money. Some people say that little allowance is not worth messing with, but some people might say that about our income too! Kids can learn management with surprisingly little–maybe learn it even better. I know as an adult I learned much more about money management after our income got smaller. Already I've seen them learn by blowing it on gum and candy for several weeks, then seeing some little toy they would LOVE to have, and hearing me say "If you had saved, you would have enough by now." Anyone met grown adults who haven't learned that concept yet? I know I have.

  6. At our house, we have everyday chores that are expected like doing their own laundry, making their beds, picking up after themselves. Also, they have kitchen duty and each of my four kids has an assigned task to complete everday….setting the table, loading/emptying the diswasher, counters, clearing table, etc. Once a week they have to clean the bathrooms, vacuum and dust downstairs. They each have an assigned task, but they have learned that if they work together, it can get done faster and it's much easier. So if one is done with their task, they help the other.

    We do pay them a set weekly allowance ranging from $5.00 to $20.00 every two weeks according to their age. That money gets transferred from our account straight into their bank accounts. They can access (with our permission) their money any time they want. I have one child who spends her money as fast as it goes in there and another one who is saving for something big. She wants her own computer and she'll be able to purchase one for herself here shortly.

    We do provide for all our kids basic needs and more so they really don't need to touch their money. We are trying to teach them how to save and I know that a couple of my kids will learn the hard way.

  7. I don't think they should be; i think doing chores is a part of being in a family. i DO think it's a good idea to give kids an allowance (no matter how small) so they can learn to save and spend money. it seems to me that paying kids for chores will make the kids less likely to help when you need help — that instead of helping and being obedient because you're their parents, they are looking to see what they are going to get out of it. For me, i'd want to keep the money and the chores separate.

  8. Our chore policy:

    From about age 3 or 4, you get chores. At every birthday, you get more chores. Sometimes old chores are taken away also, and given to a little brother or sister.

    No one gets paid.

    In order to help my children make money, I:

    -have them collect aluminum cans for recycling;

    -let them sell Watkins products door to door

    -(older) have them pet sit

    -(older) have them babysit

    -let them participate in focus groups for the big bucks

    -doing janitorial work at other people's homes/businesses.

    Letting them make money this way takes my money, gas, and time, but I give it to enable them to have some pocket change.

    Thus establishing the fact that you don't get paid for pulling your weight around your own house; you get paid for doing above and beyond.

    Further opinion: I HATE child labor laws and think they should be abolished. Children should be allowed to work even from a young age. Laws could be in place to prevent exploitation or dangerous work.

    Well, back to work!

  9. It got quite lengthy, so I just made mine into a post.

    Kids and Jobs for Opinion Saturday

  10. Yes & No. We have chores the kiddo HAS to do. He's part of the family, it's his duty. But we also have chores he can do for extra money (not a whole lot extra- doesn't get much allowance as it is!). He doesn't get "extra money though if he doesn't do is every day/week chores. I'm lucky- he does pretty good at it. 🙂

  11. wow! so many great ideas…

    We went through a myriad of our own. With 3 children still small but needing to learn, we set up a point system.

    I made a chart for the older two. It has everything on it they are "expected" to do every day. Brush teeth, make bed, get dressed, tidy room. As well as helping each other out. Etcetera.

    The chart allows them to see what they are to do when. It allows them to mark those items off so they can "see" their work getting accomplished on a daily basis. The oldest also has to help the younger read his chart.

    Each task completed gets 1 point. Some get more but not much. Each point can be worth 1 penny. I say "can be" because although the points are tracked weekly, it is at the end of the month when they really matter.

    10% of their points is changed into cash and must be given to Jesus. 10% is changed into cash and must be taken to the bank and saved. The balance can be transformed into actual cash to be given to someone who needs it more or for spending.

    The points can also stay points and saved up for something they really want. Activities are strongly encouraged, like a baseball game or a rodeo etc.

    The twist of it is that if discipline comes into play, points get deducted. This is one of the consequences of disorderly conduct!

    It has worked great! They are excited about the next thing they can do to help. They do not have to ask over and over again what's next or what can they do. They see how helpful they are on paper. They encourage each other and help each other with their individual chores. And, they see how helping generates benefits for themselves, both monetarily and morally. They also have the opportunity to help others and see it in action.

    In addition they see how poor behavior results in undesirable consequences.

    One other thing I've heard them say is, "Wow mommy, there's alot to do around here! We just didn't know!" So, they are noticing how much work it takes to keep a household running.

    So, for us, this has been wonderful. My children aren't getting "paid" per se for doing what they should but they see and feel encouragement and reward instead of frustration. Neither are we denying them independance of having money of their own to make their own decisions with.

    For us, this has served many purposes. We find our children noticing when others do not have as much and wanting to give to them instead of accumulate more for themselves.

    Hope this wasn't too long!

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