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.
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.
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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.
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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.