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My family’s guideline was that routine household chores are part of family life, so no pay for making beds, dusting, doing laundry, or washing dishes. One of our routine chores as children was to pick up sticks, while Dad pushed the lawnmower on our 3/4 acre property.
As my brother and I neared our teens and were physically capable of doing the heavier yard work, Dad made us an offer. We could take turns on the lawn mowing, and Dad would drive the family 30 miles to for a hamburger and movie weekly during the summer. Or, Dad could hire someone to mow the lawn, relieving all three of us of that chore, but also using the money that could have been spent on a weekly outing. Fast food and movies were a rare treat for us, so we leaped at the chance to do the yard work ourselves.
Years later, while arranging to share the costs of a yard service for our parents, my brother brought up that annual offer from Dad. Looking at his own young children, my brother was trying to figure out how he could teach them about working for what you want as effectively as Dad taught us. My brother could easily afford European vacations for his family, so he had to adapt Dad’s strategy, but his three seem to have learned the lesson.
We grew up with regular chores that were expected and compensation with money was not provided. My first jobs started with a paper route and then babysitting for neighbors. However my parents understood that until we were mature and responsible enough to hold these type jobs outside the home, we wanted to make some money to buy things at a much younger age. They would provide us with opportunities to make a little money with non-routine tasks that they could supervise.
I think it’s a mix of obligations around the home and pay for certain jobs beyond the routine. Helping shovel a large snowfall would qualify for some pay, walking the dog not. When I ran a small business from home I paid the children to stuff, sort and stamp mailings. Also depends on if there is an allowance or not. No allowance may qualify some pay for chores.
I think it’s a terrible idea. In a family, we are obligated to each other simply because we are family, not because we get something in exchange.
Up to each parent. However, sometimes, learning everyday skills about maintenance around the house may be its own reward. Some of those skills can be transferred into wage-earning (performing those services for others). And, with wages comes the opportunity for additional learning on managing money – and potentially, long term wealth from investing (such as in a Child IRA).
I think the answer depends as much on the child as the parent.
My oldest has never been motivated by money.
My youngest liked how money made him feel grown-up, but once he had a few dollars in his pocket, he too didn’t care.
For us the only answer had to be that chores were not compensated. Additional tasks were.
Our kids also didn’t spend much. We gave them an allowance for a while, but that ended in their early teens. If there was something they really wanted that was expensive, we usually worked out a way to share the cost, so they had skin in the game. I think our situation would have looked very different if our kids had different personalities and motivations.
I know parents have strong opinions on this one. I took the position that doing chores was an obligation that came with being part of the family and thus my children’s allowance didn’t hinge on doing certain things around the house. That said, when they were teenagers, I recall occasionally paying them to do chores that weren’t routine, such as helping their old man rake the leaves in the fall.