Good Question: Should Chores Be Tied To Allowance?

Good Question is a Risky Kids series where readers submit their burning questions in return for feedback from myself and the Risky Kid community.  If you have any Good Questions, please share them in the comments, on our Facebook page, or email them to Angie at theriskykids at gmail dot com. I’m looking forward to lots of Good Questions and more importantly, all of your Good Answers!

Should Chores Be Tied To Allowance?

This month’s Good Question comes from none other than me! We’re knee deep in trying to figure out a good, long-term system for our kids’ allowances and chore requirements. It’s been an ongoing struggle around here, as we do our best to raise responsible kids. For too long Mike and I have been doing things that our kids are perfectly capable of doing (laundry, dishes, sweeping, etc.) simply because it’s faster and easier. And for too long we’ve been inconsistent in giving our kids an allowance and giving them opportunities to learn fiscal responsibility.

So as we hone our own family’s system, one of the issues that comes up is whether or not chores and allowance should be linked. We’ve tried it both ways (though not consistently), and are leaning towards making their allowance a separate entity from required chores, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How do you handle chores and allowance in your home? As your kids get older, what kinds of things do you require them to pay for on their own? Do you have a method that works well for your family? Please share!

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Comments

  1. Laura Murphy says:

    Hi,

    We have also tried it a few ways. Though we believe our children’s first responsibility is to do well in school, that is only one component that makes up our allowance “portfolio” . They are also expected to be good household citizens and do have some assigned chores. It works better for one child than the other (who would prefer to get paid in cash after completion of each and every chore), but since we hold the purse strings, they have to wait til “pay day”, just like in the real world.

    Though our children should probably be addressed differently in this regard, as we have one saver and one spender, one chore doer and on chore martyr, it seems to be the best way without playing favorites.

    • Their allowance “portfolio …” I love it! How often is pay day? That’s one of the things we struggled to maintain consistently on a weekly basis, often forgetting to pay. We switched to paying on the first of the month. We remember to pay, but I feel like expecting the kids to budget for a month at a time might be stretching it at this age.

  2. We don’t tie chores to allowance in our house. Anna is expected to contribute to the household because she is a member of it and she is given a steady amount of money so she can learn to spend responsibly. Her allowance is added automatically from our bank account to a pre-paid debit card because we used to be so bad about having cash handy on a regular basis; the added bonus is that she can experience using plastic in a safe environment before she has a line of credit at her disposal. We are not super regimented about what chores she does and when I ask her to take care of something that’s not her usual task there’s no talk of compensation–I like that. Also, I wouldn’t like it if she decided to skip a chore because she didn’t want the money, and this system avoids that even coming up.

    That said, her mother does tie chores to allowance in her house. They even call chores her “job”. Her mother has the other philosophy that’s common, that chores for money is practice for work for compensation. I guess Anna will get both perspectives growing up! ::shrug::

    • Sacha, you’re on to something, because that’s one of the things I hate – the how-much-will-you-pay-me-to-do-this? syndrome. I get steamed pretty quickly when I can see them calculating whether or not it’s “worth it” to help out. Definitely not a characteristic I want to foster. So let me ask you this … say you wanted Anna to mow the lawn (which we ask Elena to do in the summer). Would you pay for that kind of chore? Or do you consider her allowance generous enough that payment for above and beyond chores (if you will) isn’t necessary? Like you, we’re searching for a system that encourages responsibility to your household as well as financial responsibility. I’d love to hear Anna’s perspective on both philosophies!