Should you pay your children to do chores? This is an ongoing debate among parents.
Some people pay their children for everything they do around the house. This can be a good way for teaching children a work ethic — if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. (II Thessalonians 3:10)
Other families don’t want their children to expect to be paid for everything. They want their children to grow up with a serving attitude. We know, of course, that serving is a very biblical attitude.
Both of these approaches make sense. Pray and ask God what would be best for your family.
For my family, I actually adopted a mixed approach, which went something like this.
•There were certain chores that each person was required to do and they were not paid for. (This corresponds to things in the grown up world that you do without getting paid. We don’t expect someone to pay us for cooking dinner for our family, working in the nursery at church, driving our kids to their piano lessons, etc.) These included most of the things that needed to be done daily, such as keeping their room picked up, mealtime chores, etc.
•There were also chores that they would get paid for each week. These were required chores and it basically provided them with an allowance. (This corresponds to a job that you go to every day and get paid for.) I generally included in this category the chores that didn’t have to be done every day, such as mopping and cleaning the bathroom and dusting, and as they got older, things like mowing the lawn or helping change the oil in the car. There were times when I paid for these, and other times when I had a certain amount set aside to give them at the end of the week, but I deducted from that if they didn’t do a chore or if they didn’t do a good job of it.
•There were chores which were optional, which they could get paid for. (This corresponds with opportunities we have in life to make extra money, such as odd jobs or overtime at work.) These were often seasonal or periodic jobs, such as washing windows, detailing the car, or extra things I wanted done, such as making a cake for a potluck.
•Service projects. For most of their growing up years, my kids were involved in service projects of some sort. Often, they didn’t realize it — it was just part of the fabric of our family. Other times, I made it a school requirement to have a certain number of hours of “community service.” Or I would require them to choose someone to serve each week, each month, or each semester. It could be someone in our family (babysitting for their older sister), or someone outside our home, or a group effort, such as Teen Missions or something their youth group was doing. It didn’t have to be an “official” charity.
Another thing you can do is say that you will pay them chore chart rewards or tool tickets for the first 1-3 months that they’re learning a chore; after that, it becomes just part of being a member in your family. The book featured below has lots of ideas about creating rewards using “tool tickets” for work done.
You could also allow them to continue earning rewards for a chore they’ve mastered if they teach it to another child — a sibling or cousin, or maybe a friend’s children. (This last option will make you very popular with your friends!) Teaching others is always a great way to cement what you’ve learned. It will also make your child more confident in their skills and will give them a great sense of accomplishment. Teaching others will provide them with leadership skills as well.
Most of the above article is excerpted from The 21st Century Kid’s Book of Chores. For more information about the book, see previous posts. For ordering information, click on the link below.