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7 Chores You Should Pay Your Kids to Do

As parents, it’s our jobs to teach our kids to be responsible adults in everything they do. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the easiest thing to do. I believe that one of the best ways to help teach those lessons that they need to learn is by chores. Now granted, I don’t think that they should be doing every single thing in the house. They are your kids and not your maid. A little hard work never hurt anyone though so having them work for what they want will teach them that nothing in life comes easily and that hard work does pay off.

See that word? Pay.

For instance, my Emma is currently drooling over a $70.00 baby doll. I’m all for gifts, but I’m also NOT paying $70.00 for a doll that literally just sits there. However, if she wants to earn the money, I will let her and then once she has it saved up, I’ll give her my opinion of spending $70 on a doll to try and instill some common sense spending, but ultimately the decision will be hers. Anyhow, there are some things that you just shouldn’t expect your kids to do for free just because they live under your roof.


Do your kids do chores? Do they do them for free? I think there are certain chores that your kids should be paid for! Check out these 7 chores you should pay your child to do and let me know if you agree!



The way I look at paying kids for chores, is that anything beyond helping to keeping the house they live in clean (and their own rooms of course) should be paid.  Taking care of other family members mess, laundry or even meal prep is not something they would be doing without compensation as an adult (typically).  If it is a job you would pay someone to help you with, then you should also pay your children. Just because they’re kids doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be treated the same way you would treat any other contractor as far as payment goes.

[Tweet ” Just because they’re kids doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be treated the same way you would treat any other contractor as far as payment goes. “]

Car maintenance and detailing.  Kids are great at helping vacuum your car out, gather trash, do detail work and even wash and wax a car.  Older children and teens can help with minor car maintenance like changing tires, changing oil, some filters and even changing windshield wipers. For this, I would base their pay on how much of the work they’re doing.  If they’re cleaning and detailing the car, you would want to pay them more than if they were just vacuuming.

Babysitting younger siblings.  Tweens and teens who help take care of younger siblings while you are at work, working without interruption or on a date should be compensated.  This isn’t the simple play with your brother or sister time.  This is specifically when they are babysitting for you just like a nanny or babysitter would be if you had hired outside of the home. To be clear, I don’t mean when they’re helping you get them ready for bed or something other “normal” situation. I’m talking about when you would normally hire a sitter anyway and just chose to have them do it for you.

Basic lawn maintenance.  From mowing the lawn to weeding the flower beds, working on landscaping or trimming trees and shrubs you should pay your children for the extra hard work.  This is a manual labor job and if you live in an area where it gets HOT? You should pay them for it. We pay our daughter $20.00 for mowing our large yard. If she weeds or does any other yard work, she gets paid extra for those as well.

Doing other family members laundry.  While children should be responsible for their own laundry, helping to sort, wash, fold or put away other family members clothing is not their responsibility.  If they are doing household laundry they should be compensated with an allowance at the very least. If they are doing ALL of the laundry, I believe they should be paid per load just like you would any other person that was helping.

Deep cleaning outside their bedroom.  Their bedroom, and potentially their bathroom is their responsibility as are things like helping with dishes and other light chores, btu deep cleaning outside of typical maintenance in the home is a chore you should pay your kids to do.  Things like wiping down walls, cleaning baseboards and other chores that require actual elbow grease should be paid for.

Home improvement projects.  Helping with major home improvement projects like painting, remodeling or even building shelves is something that you will want to pay your kids to help with just to be fair. You wouldn’t expect a contractor to come in and do it for free and if your kids are helping? You shouldn’t expect them to either.

Cooking meals for the family.  While your child should know how to prepare a basic meal for themselves, spending the time to cook meals for the family is something you should consider compensating them for.  While cooking dinner may not be on every list, some families may consider it going out of the way to do something for someone other than themselves and agree that it should be rewarded. In our home, my Emma actually loves to cook so she willingly helps with dinner anytime she is allowed. If your kids aren’t the same way though, be prepared to pass them a little bit extra on their allowance for the task.

[Tweet “Every family has to consider what they believe to be a chore worthy of being paid to do.”]

Every family has to consider what they believe to be a chore worthy of being paid to do, but in my not quite so humble opinion, every child should be paid for work above and beyond their normal chores. Inour family, Emma is a member of this household first and foremost, but I would never dream of asking her to do something labor intensive without giving her a reward for doing it. Take a look at what your kids are doing for chores and re-evaluate whether or not they should be paid.



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Stacy Barr
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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family . By the age of 30, she had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Her book, also called Six Dollar Family, has sold more than 7,000 copies since its release.

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  1. Jennifer says:

    If you don’t require your kids to do chores that require elbow grease, how will they ever learn that it’s a necessity in running a home? It’s not something that’s negotiable or can be overlooked. Gunk on dishes will pile up, germs on baseboards will cause odor, etc. If they use the bathroom or dishes, I personally feel they should be contributing the elbow grease required to clean them. Thanks for allowing comments. 🙂

    • Jennifer, While I agree with you, kids also need to learn the value of a dollar and that hard work equates to being paid. While I don’t think they should be paid for regular dishes, larger loads (say after a holiday baking session or special dinner), I think they should be paid for. In those cases, they’re doing extra work, above and beyond the normal, which means they should receive a reward that is above and beyond the norm. Thanks for the comment!

  2. i was interested in reading this because I always *want* to pay my kids for chores but I never can justify it because to me, ALL of the work in and around (read: cleaning the car, yard work too) the house is normal work they need to learn to do to run their own household some day. They participate in gleaning the rewards for a nice lawn, clean house, and good food on the table. Why should they be paid for that when they participate in making messes? They participate in eating the food made for them. A “cooking” rotation is normal and fair. It teaches them how to cook and teaches them to serve others. I have paid my kids for cleaning or organizing things that were not related to their doing. But most household chores are normal responsibilities for all family members and I cannot figure out a way to justify paying them.

    • I agree that most are normal chores and shouldn’t be paid for. What I was trying to get to with this post is that the things that are above and beyond the norm should be paid for. In other words, if you “hire” your child instead of hiring someone else? You should pay them. Just my $0.02 though 🙂

  3. I’m 19 and while I did get an allowance when I was little it was never much over $2 a week. Each basic household chore was 10-20 cents, so while I never made any large amount of money from doing chores, I did feel like I was earning something. Remember kids don’t really have the ability to make money any other way because of child labor laws, etc. If you are never going to compensate your child for work they do then you can’t complain when they beg and cry for that teddy bear at the store that they want you to buy. I always saved up my 2-3 bucks a week so if I saw something I REALLY wanted I could get it. My parents also rewarded us for larger chores either in cash or going out to get ice cream. (picking up sticks in out 2 acre yard or vaccuming out the car generally earned us a trip to the local ice cream shop where we could get whatever we want). If as a parent you don’t want to pay your kids for doing large chores then fine, but at least give them some sort of reward. A fresh-cut lawn may feel rewarding enough to you, but I wouldn’t have cared if we let it grow 3 feet long if I wasn’t feeling at least slightly recognized for my work.
    Also, ALWAYS pay your older kids when they babysit. ALWAYS. It doesn’t have to be a ton, but if they have to cancel plans with friends so you can have your night out, you best be paying them. Remember you chose to have children, your older kids didn’t chose to have siblings. The younger ones are your responsibility just as much as the oldest was when they were little and you had to hire a sitter.

  4. I know as parents, we often use the reasoning that our children need to learn responsibility and need to help take care of the home they live in, etc. And it’s true, they do. But we often forget to really explain the concept to them, and we forget that we ourselves are compensated for our efforts.

    For instance, as a stay-at-home mom, I “cook and clean” in order to maintain the home so my husband can devote his energy to EARNING MONEY, which buys us what we need AND what we want. I am compensated for doing the laundry by the fact that we don’t have to PAY someone else to do it. Likewise, cooking at home saves money, etc., etc.

    As adults, we don’t work because it’s fun. We work because we are rewarded. So, instead of just telling our kids they have to do chores because they’re part of the family, explain what reward they get by doing them. Cleaning the kitchen after a meal means we will be able to cook the next meal in it so we don’t go hungry. Doing the laundry means we have clothing to wear so we don’t go naked. Washing the sink and faucets means we get rid of germs so they can’t make us sick and utterly miserable. Cleaning the car means we don’t have to drive around ina small space that stinks and makes the clothes we just washed completely filthy again. Mowing the lawn means we have a nice place to play, instead of a habitat for mice that then come into our home and destroy our food and make huge messes…

    And in addition the these rewards, there should be some monetary compensation for some tasks our children do. Our well-maintained home does enable us to function properly so that we can earn money outside the home. Children should receive some type of reward and credit for helping with that, but exactly what and how much will vary from household to household, and even sometimes between siblings, based on the parents’ judgement call.

  5. Definitely food for thought – thanks!

  6. I think it’s important for kids to earn money and learn to manage it, however not from their parents. They can go cut neighbors grass or babysit down the street. Set up a car wash and charge a few bucks to customers. I would be happy to provide supplies for my kids to earn money that way!

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