Pay allowance for kids chores: yes or no?
There are many ways to motivate kids to help out around the house. Often kids are so eager to please and help out that they need little motivation at all from their parents.
At other times, serious incentives are required. These fall into two categories: cash and noncash.
The most obvious motivation to get kids to do chores is to pay for them.
You probably won't be surprised to learn that parents are almost as divided about paying for chores as they are about chores themselves.
Here are the primary arguments for paying an allowance for kids chores versus those for noncash motivators to help you decide which approach is best for your family.
The anti-allowance parents argue persuasively that kids shouldn't be paid to help around the house; after all, it's their house, too.
Being part of the family means giving your time and efforts to make the home a better place for everyone to live in, no compensation required.
Worse, they say, paying for chores gives kids the mistaken idea that there's a choice: "I'll skip my chores because I don't need the money this week."
The most obvious motivation to get kids to do chores is to pay them for it.
The pro-pay parents argue, perhaps even more persuasively, that a tangible reward for kids' efforts motivates them to do other jobs around the house. (In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I'm in their court.)
And in the real world, they say, that's precisely how adults are rewarded or paid for their work.
Having money to save or spend also provides an invaluable opportunity to learn important - and tough - money lessons early, while Mom and Dad are still around to talk with.
Here's an example. "Mom, please let me get those rare Pokemon cards," my son pleaded several years back. "In a few years, they'll be worth a lot more than the $80 they're charging now."
In spite of my repeated warnings that such trendy items often go out of style causing any "value" to tank with it, he insisted on using his birthday money he had saved up over the past two years to purchase two cards. I gave my reluctant blessing, seeing a lesson looming in the future.
Sure enough, we recently tossed out those "rare and valuable" Pokemon cards while spring cleaning his bedroom. He couldn't even give them away.
The sheepish look on his face as he threw away the cards told me that he remembered our talk, regretting not having taken my advice. I never had to open my mouth.
On a more positive note, money-for-chores teaches the importance of saving and resisting impulse spending, and that it pays to work.
Rewards for a job well done needn't be financial. Little ones can often be motivated in a big way with stickers and stamps that are placed on a simple chore chart you can create yourself.
If your kids complete the chores they need to, you can reward them with fun experiences, such as lunch at their favorite eatery (Mickey Ds, anyone?) or perhaps a new storybook from the library or local bookstore.
For older kids, cash-free alternatives include offering chunks of time with Mom or Dad, such as a father-son movie outing or dinner at your daughter's favorite restaurant.
This is probably overpayment for all but the most important spring cleaning tasks, so you may want to give your child tickets for each small job. When he's collected 10 (or 20, or 50, your call), he can "cash" them in for a mutually agreed-upon treat. Bottom line?
As the parent, it's your call as to which camp you'll belong to, and how best to structure your chore-motivators. Mom (or Dad) knows best, after all.