Making Children Mind…Chores and Allowance

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Should you have official “Chores”? What about an allowance? What are the benefits of making things official or not with chore and allowance?

Young boy carrying his toy lawn mower

I don’t usually like to write about something until I have had sufficient experience to offer helpful advice. When it comes to chores and allowance, my experience is quite minimal. Brayden has yet to get an allowance and he doesn’t have formal chores.

I ask Brayden to do many things throughout the day. I ask him to clean up his dishes off the table when he is done eating. He cleans up his toys when he is done playing. He does these things without a problem. He also is a very hard worker and offers to help constantly. Every time I vacuum, he asks if he can do it, and he is finally to the skill level where he does it and it is a good job! That is exciting for me.

Last fall when we were raking leaves, he just worked so hard and raked and raked. I was pregnant with McKenna and would have to sit every so often for a break. Brayden kept raking right through my breaks. In the winter, he helps shovel snow. In the summer, he pulls weeds and waters plants. He is just a hard worker and a good helper. He always wants to be helping with whatever task we are working on. I even have pictures of him scrubbing grout with a toothbrush!

For those reasons, we have never made a chore chart. He already works hard and already does a lot around the house, and he does them with a happy heart. My husband have been thinking this over and trying to decide if we want to do a chart or leave things as they are. On the one hand, turning things into “chores” could make them less enjoyable for him. On the other, he might outgrow this happy desire to help out and by then establishing a chore chart would be more difficult to implement.

We also have decided we want to start giving an allowance to Brayden. We haven’t ironed out the details yet. We have been discussing what our parents did with us and the strengths and weaknesses of the methods. We have also been discussing different advice in books.

Allowance is a topic that parents often disagree on–even Babywise parents. Some say do it, others say absolutely not. It is actually the book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman that put things in perspective that convinced me to do an allowance.


Read: Choosing the Right Allowance System For Your Family


Let me say that I have always leaned toward doing an allowance. I think when a child has money, the child can learn how to spend it and the worth of it. I want to teach my children to save money. I want to teach them the value of money and how long it can take to purchase a desired item–thus teaching them to value their toys and other items. I also want to teach them to pay tithing. To learn these things, they must have money.

Some parents say to not give an allowance because the child should work around the house because he is a member of the family, not because he wants an allowance. I think that is an excellent argument. I believe Leman discusses a great strategy for having the best of both worlds.

Leman essentially says you should give your child chores and an allowance, but the two should not be dependent upon each other. He has chores because he is a member of the family. He has an allowance because he is a member of the family. Allowance is given regardless of the chores.

I am sure you are thinking something along the lines of “Wait a minute…why would the child do chores if he still got an allowance?” Well, here is where my favorite part comes in. If your child does not do his assigned chores, he still gets his allowance. But the chores still need to be done. You then put a price tag on that chore and your child must pay whomever completed the chore for him from his allowance. It was his responsibility and he didn’t fulfill it, so he must pay for it to be done. It could be a parent, a sibling, or a neighbor kid–it doesn’t matter who did it. I love it!

Leman has many ideas for chores and allowance that I think can be helpful to parents (found in chapter 3). If these are topics that you are thinking about, you might find the book of interest.

And if you have any great tips on chores and allowance, please share! We really need to get things decided on and moving with Brayden.

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