Handling Chores and Allowance the Modern Way
Chores are a normal part of childhood. But whether kids get paid for doing their chores is a personal choice for parents. Currently, only 28% of kids get an allowance that’s tied to chores.
If you choose to pay an allowance for sweeping, tidying, and dishwasher emptying, there is a major benefit. It teaches your kids the value of working for their money, rather than receiving it for nothing. It’s a valuable life lesson to get them ready for adulthood.
Paying kids for chores also gives them the chance to learn money management. And they may value the lessons more because they had to work for the opportunity.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you’re assigning chores and giving an allowance tied to those chores.
1. Choose chores based on your child’s age and ability.
Kids as young as 2 can do chores! In fact, the youngest kids are often the most motivated, because they want to do what they see older family members doing. Capitalize on that.
Of course, kids of any older ages can do chores, too. Check out these starter lists of chores per age group. In that article, you can select the chores that would work for your kid and add the tailored list directly to your own Cozi account. You can use Cozi lists to track chores and make sure they get done. You can even share the lists with your child so they can mark them complete.
When you’re introducing a new chore, or starting your kid on chores for the first time, model each chore for your child. First show them how to do it, then let them help you, then let them do it while you supervise, then let them do it independently.
2. Pay a fair allowance.
Not all parents pay their kids for doing chores. But if you do pay, and you pay too little, it might backfire and send the wrong message—that work for pay isn’t worth it.
According to the GoHenry 2021 Youth Economy Report, the average weekly allowance is $11.17. But many kids (34%) feel they should be earning more.
Money Crashers suggests paying $1-$2 a week per year of your kid’s age. So a 7-year-old would earn $7 to $14 dollars weekly. Of course, that’s just a rule of thumb, and it can be adjusted based on multiple factors until the number is appropriate for your family.
You can also decide whether different chores should pay different amounts. If a chore is gross, difficult, or lengthy, it might pay more than a quick and easy chore.
3. Enforce chores consistently.
To help your kids do their chores consistently, consider using a chore chart. It helps your kids visualize their tasks and keep track of what they’re expected to do. Or you can print a chore list directly from Cozi and post it in a central place in your house
It also makes a big difference if chores don’t feel like drudgery. So praise and encourage your kids even while they’re in progress—not just when they complete a task. Don’t expect perfection, since they’re just kids. Instead, look for improvement. You can even try to make chores fun.
4. Pay the allowance promptly.
Set a time when you’ll pay your child’s allowance, like Saturday morning, and pay on time every week. This sets a good example of consistency, and it helps the kids trust that they’ll receive the reward they worked for.
GoHenry makes it easy to track and pay for chores. In the app, your child or teen can just tap each chore when it’s accomplished. The money for each chore will automatically show up in their account, where they can choose to give, save, or spend it. If they choose to mark it for spending, the money goes on their GoHenry debit card.
5. Teach your child financial literacy.
Perhaps the most important part of this whole process is talking with your kids about money management—often.
Help them set long-term goals that matter to them personally, like an expensive toy, a smartphone, or a trip or outing. Then help them figure out how much they need to save per week to reach that goal in a certain amount of time.
Then encourage them to stick to that plan, even when they’re tempted by something smaller in the short term, like sweets or clothes or in-game purchases. Your kids will learn the skill—and power—of delayed gratification.
You can also encourage your child to pick a charitable cause they care about, like cleaning the oceans or feeding the hungry. They can set aside a portion of their allowance to donate to a nonprofit dedicated to that cause.
Allowance for chores: A starting point for growth and development
Receiving an allowance for doing their chores teaches kids the value of hard work. It also gives them a chance to learn money management skills.
If you’re proactive about financial literacy, then your kids can learn how to live out their values by managing their money thoughtfully. Thoughtful money management can strengthen character qualities like patience, diligence, forethought, and generosity.
Paying kids for chores accomplishes a lot more than just persuading them to scrub the toilet. It teaches life lessons that lay the groundwork for lifelong financial health.