One of the rites of passage for a growing child is the assignment of chores. In the home, as a family grows so does the need to helpful hands to keep the home in good working order. What chores should your child have, do you pay them for those chores, and at what age chores should begin will all be answered in this post.
Let’s begin with the money question. Opinions differ on this topic and there are no right or wrong answers. You may take the stance that because you don’t get paid for chores then children don’t either. Maybe you believe that they should get paid for everything or that if they don’t do certain chores then allowances can be withheld as a penalty. I do believe that chores should be the first time that your child learns the lesson that money comes from work. But paying them for everything might be unrealistic and tough to keep up with. You also don’t want to create a little negotiator, so be firm on the amount that you’ll pay your child for chores if you choose to do so.
I think the best approach is a mix where everyone has some chores that they do because they’re part of the family and some chores that they are paid to do. Those paid chores might be the ones that occur less frequently and are more labor intensive, or they might be ones where the children do not directly benefit from the chore’s completion. Whatever your approach, be clear on the subject of compensation.
Chores to be completed in every home vary based on the type of living facility. For example, renters or townhome and condominium owners may not have to deal with exterior maintenance. It might also depend on the family arrangement; if multiple generations share the same home then there may be more chores to do but more people able to participate. Anything that has to be done on a repeating basis can qualify as a chore. But the list can be overwhelming to put together, so where is the best place to start when deciding what chores your children can take on?
Begin with the things you do most for the kids. Cleaning rooms and making beds immediately come to mind. Picking up toys and cleaning up the den or playroom are also high on the list. At a very young age your child can grasp the concept that everything has a place, so begin with the simple cleanup tasks. Remember that your young child is learning so be very lenient in these first few months. Add in the bed making and room cleaning as they enter school in creating a daily routine for your child. At this age, they can begin to take care of any pets that they have.
As your child becomes physically capable, you might add on the chores of taking out the trash, clearing the table, and washing the dishes. Your weekly cleaning chores might expand to include your children, where they could make their beds after sheet washing, vacuum, sweep, or dust. Young men can participate in lawn work and maybe the young ladies could begin to do laundry – or they could swap roles periodically since both would benefit from knowing how to handle all of these chores. As they get closer to driving, have your teens wash cars, help with oil changes and routine maintenance, and let them begin to run errands. Again, these should build on the chores that they have been doing throughout their lives so that responsibility builds, just as it does into adulthood.
In short, your kids need to have chores to build character and responsibility. Your kids also learn practical skills for homemaking that they will use later in life. As kids get older they should share in the ongoing tasks and maintenance of the household for their own benefit and for the benefit of the parents. What chores do your children do in your home? Do you pay for chores or penalize their allowance when they don’t do them? Weigh in with your ideas on this topic.