Reverse on Paying Kids for Chores

Updated on April 07, 2014
C.R. asks from Olathe, KS
17 answers

So, I thought that since we were willing to pay our girls to do some chores they would follow through on their part. Boy was I wrong! Now in hopes of motivating my girls I put a new plan in place. Now they get paid at the beginning of the month for all their paid chores. The deal is, if they do not do the chores that are required they have to pay us to do it for them. Do you think this is a good or bad idea? Why or why not? BTW, they are 13, 8, & 6 years old

FYI~They have chores that they get paid for and chores that are required because they are a part of our family. Also, they are not allowed to spend the money until the end of the week. They will pay us for the chores not done that way.

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answers from New York on

Food for thought, what happens if they blow their money, then go lazy on you? What then, do they have to get a loan from a sibling?

F. B.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

To complicated. For my kids they can earn up to $7 a week, and each Sunday we talk over what they did and did not do and pay them accordingly, then they put 20% in their savings jar and we match that at 50%. That way they learn that they only get paid for the work they actually do, and they learn about savings and interest.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

So are you going to make sure they don't spend their money so they have money to pay to you if/when they don't do the chores? Just how are you going to ensure that they have money to pay you? If you give it to them at the first of the month and then the last week of the month they don't do chores, but have no money to pay you, then what?

I don't think allowance should be attached to chores. Chores are done because you live in the house, you mess in the house, and you clean in the house. It's part of being in the family. Now, there are times that I will tell my GD that I will pay her x for doing y, but that's on an every now and again basis. I do make sure she has a bit of pocket money, but it's not tied to chores. Every once in a while I just give her some money - period. I just don't think kids should get paid for doing what I do every day without getting paid. Chores are for the benefit of the entire family, including the children.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I don't think this idea will work, for many of the reasons other posters listed below.

My son has a very modest allowance he receives each week; however, if he wants MORE money, he has jobs he can do which are more or less *my* jobs right now. (Vacuuming some rooms, picking up piles of my yard debris, shredding documents with shredding scissors, or whatever task I might have which he could do independently like weeding, removing rocks from an area in the yard...) He is almost seven. This gives him the option of saving up money quickly or slowly.

I would encourage you to make chores as 'just part of the daily/weekly routine' and then follow through. For example, in our house, my son can't play or have media time if he isn't taking care of his chores. I don't pay him for his usual 'household contribution' chores... it's just a matter of course that they need to get done.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

How are they going to pay you if they spend their money right away?
Sounds like a payday advance to me. Not usually a good idea to pay someone for work they haven't done yet.
I never paid my kids to do regular chores (we ALL pitch in as a family) but if they really wanted something (a new video game, trendy piece of clothing, etc.) they could do extra work to earn money for it, like cleaning the car or garage, doing yard work, etc.
I would assign chores they must do (dishes, garbage, pets, whatever) and then provide a list of tasks they can do for pay if they want to.
I don't think a 6 or 8 year old really needs money, but I bet the 13 year old would be motivated.
Actually at 13 my kids were baby and pet sitting, and taking care of mail and plants for neighbors on vacation. Maybe your 13 year old should start thinking about that?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I would find a consequence for not doing their chores that isn't attached to money. Maybe they aren't allowed to go out and play, watch TV, play in the computer, etc. until AFTER their chores are finished each day.

Personally, I'm not a fan of paying kids to do everyday chores. My thoughts are that if you live in a house, you contribute to the up keeping of it. (Though, I do think it's fine to pay for "extra" chores, or to get a weekly "just because" allowance.)

Your idea is alright in theory, but like others have mentioned... What happens when they spend the money, and can't pay you back? You could foreclose on their toys, but it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

We don't pay our kids for doing chores. And we don't ply them with treats or rewards for doing chores.
I don't get paid for it.
Hubby doesn't get paid for it.
Doing "chores" in a home in a family as a member of a family to upkeep the home is what family members should do, anyway. It is responsibility. NOT it being tied, to money or getting paid for it. And you do chores, because you must. Not because you feel like it or not. It is just something you must do. Everyday.

Allowance, if given, is different.

Then, in some families the Husband doesn't even do anything either, and the kids are expected to. And the Wife.
So what then?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

In real life you work first, then get paid. It doesn't make sense to pre-pay them and then when they don't work, you assume they still have money to pay you back. Wont work. You should NEVER do the chores if the kids don't do it themselves. What is that teaching them? That they can just not work and if something needs to be done, don't worry, someone else will do it for them?

My kids are 14 and 11. My 14 yo loads and unloads the dishwasher every day. My 11 yo takes out the trash as needed and the cans to the street and back. Both of them do their own laundry. They also keep their bathroom relatively clean and their bedrooms. They don't get paid for any of this. They do get paid for random "chores" such as pulling weeds (we have a landscaper), cleaning our cars, vacuuming, dusting, etc.

My husband and I view it that we all live in a large house and have to help out as much as we can. So some chores are paid and some are not. If they don't do their non-paid chores and ask to play on an electronic device, they don't get to until they do what they are supposed to. Pretty simple and works for us. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Chores are not negotiable.
They must be done and everyone must do them because we all live here and everyone helps out.
Chores are part of the good behavior that constantly earns them privileges - like tv, video game time, phone privileges, non school related computer time, etc.
The quickest way to fun is to get the work done - because fun doesn't start until it's finished.
My husband and I never got allowances and our son doesn't get one either.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Chores really shouldn't have anything to do with allowance. BUT if you are seriously paying them for working around the house then life is life. If you don't show up to work you don't get paid for anything.

On the other hand if you want them to participate in the caring of their home I'd not associate any rewards with that.

If they want to earn some money make them ask if there is anything they can do to earn money. But their chores should be done every day before they get to play electronics or watch Tv.

In our house right now the kids are outside riding bikes and playing. Their chores are not even started. That's okay with me. I have leverage because after dinner they'll want on my laptop or to watch the new Tinkerbell Pirate movie...too bad, chores have to be done first or I get to do those things instead of them.

The cats will have water, food, and a clean litter box in minutes. The trash will be gathered from the various rooms and put in the large trash can. The papers and stuff in the living room may never be seen again but then when they don't get to go on the field trip they learn to give them to me or hubby hand to hand, not laid out on the couch or floor by where we sit.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

What I do, instead of paying my child for doing chores, is I use it as a bargaining tool. There is a list of certain things my kids have to do each week. Of course they put it off sometimes and don't do things right away. So, when they ask for something, I then say yes as soon as you do chore x. Mom, can you put in the password so I can play my computer game now? Yes, as soon as you make your bed and take out the trash in the upstairs bathroom. Mom, can Johnny come over? He can as soon as you put your clothes away in your drawers. Mom, can I be excused? Yes, as soon as you take your plate to the kitchen, load it in the dishwasher, and then help us clear off the table. It usually goes really well. I don't give them a ton of chores...just the normal things everyone is expected to do. Maybe once they get a bit older I will make a list of hard chores they can do to earn a little money (pick up dog poo, weed the garden, scrub the bathroom, clean the fish tank, do all the laundry, wash the dishes after dinner. I was doing this stuff starting in 6th grade).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with others that paying in advance sets a precedent you really don't want to set. If you want to give them an allowance that is theirs regardless of any chores, then call it an allowance, but don't pay in advance for work that's expected in the future.

My take is that no one gets paid for chores that keep the household running for us all. Period. My daughter (13) has never had an allowance and doesn't get pay for any chores that are needed to keep things running. She does get paid for very specific "extra" chores that come along only once in a while: Rearranging the linen closet, clearing out and reorganizing the pantry, sorting through the drawers of plastic storage containers to match lids and containers and get rid of stuff that's not matchable -- and so on.

If you have regular chores that need doing (dishes washed, floors cleaned, trash out, etc.) then I would not offer to pay because the entire household needs that done just to function day to day. Set up a chore chart for ALL of you -- yourself and your spouse as well as the girls -- and have a family meeting about what needs to be done and when. Then introduce the idea of "extra" chores that earn real money (I pay pretty well for my child to do the kinds of things I mention above). Just a suggestion.

But definitely -- I wouldn't pay a contractor in advance to do work for me, so I sure wouldn't pay my child in advance either. I see what you're trying to do by having them feel the "loss" of their money if they have to pay you to do their chores, but I think it's not going to sink in well, especially with the two younger ones, and as others note, if they spend the money and then don't have enough to pay you, what happens then?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

They are part of the family. No payment for things they should be doing.

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answers from Los Angeles on

This is what i did with my 5 years old son. Might not works with your older kids.

He pick a toy, reasonably priced (skylanders lately) n it it's in a box. He knows it's inside but can't see or touch it. yay for amazon.

He has to earn enough stars for the toys. Our rules lately is by the price of the toy, since he understand how money works now. So if it 15 dollars, he need 150 stars. He can earn it various way, such as not be late for school, doing certain chores...etc. good behaviors rewards. So it's his choice when he wants his toys. Plus he knows no new toys or gifts from anyone until this one is earned. So if he want something new to play with, he has to work for it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Bad idea.
I don't think it will work.
I'd still find a way to make them do the work THEN get paid.
Pay them once they do the work.
The 13 yr old really needs to be held to this as she KNOWS that she has
to listen & do the work required of her.



answers from Minneapolis on

No, rethink this. Paying them before they do the chores is not a good teaching tactic. The reinforcement is payment after they do the chore.



answers from Dallas on

I do not expect my kids to do chores. Going to school and doing the homework is enough. My daughters however love to help anyway. They love to fold clothes and put them away. They also love to dust and sweep.

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