Making Children Mind…Chores and Allowance

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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20 thoughts on “Making Children Mind…Chores and Allowance”

  1. Thought on allowance. I really like Leman's thoughts about this topic on allowance. We start our allowance giving at age 5. The amount is one dollar per age per month. Our eight year old gets eight dollars a month. Is is given monthly and I put it in my quicken bills so I don't forget. They pay tithing and save half of it for college or mission. The rest is spending money on whatever they want. This is really hard for me to let them in my eyes "waste" their money. But I can see every month they are learning something and doing a little better on catching the vision of how much things cost and the importance of taking care of their property. One teaching lesson our son recently had was he lost his second pair of flip flops this summer. My husband and I talked about it and told him he needed to buy the next pair. This was an eye-opener for him to go to the store and choose a pair he could afford. With children having an allowance these opportunities are available. A great book you would really like about chores and allowance is called: The Parenting Breakthrough by Boyack. Love Love it!

  2. I like that idea. The family I used to work for did things a little differently and I think I will do things the way they did them: everyone had a chore to do everyday (usually took each of them like 5 min). They got no allowance for this, but there were other things they could do to earn money. Things that took a little longer and were a little more work.It's a hard decision because you want your kids to be helpful with or without money. I like the idea of allowance not depending on whether or not they did their chores.

  3. Well, as I was ready to post a comment, I see my sister-in-law beat me to it. 🙂 One additional comment, we implemented Boyack's suggestion regarding allowance and match the child's savings. For instance, when my son was 10, he'd pay $1 for tithing, save $4.50 which we would match making it $9 and then he'd have $4.50 to spend. It's fun for them to see their savings account growing! Boyack also suggests that allowance ends when the child is 12. My son is quickly approaching this deadline. Although allowance will end, he still has a goal of saving money each month (and thus us matching) which should result in a nice size nest egg when he is ready to leave home.You might also enjoy "Let's Fix the Kids" by James Jones. I checked out the CDs from our library and like it so much I ended up buying the workbook to accompany the series. He has some thoughts to consider re: allowance as well. Thanks for writing such fabulous blog. I really enjoy it!

  4. I'm just at the beginning stage of this since my oldest is 5. We implemented chores at age 2 to have a standard that all pitch in around the house. With 3 years under they thought an allowance was a bonus. We did the bonus much like others to help teach money. We do about $1.00 a month as well but pay weekly. My children tithe weekly at church and set monetary goals for the rest. We followed Dave Ramsey's plan where you help children pay for things when they are younger and reduce the percent so that later the child pays for things. My son's 1st desire (they all have them) was a bank. He saved $10 and we spent $10. I have to say he's doing great learning how much things cost and how to save. Added bonus he's the ONLY kid who can count money in K.

  5. 11 months!! Still no success on naps. I am giving up. I can't do this anymore, the only thing I can think of is "boy how fun its going to be when she moves to her own bed". Thank you for all your advise and blogs but with my LO it doesn't work… Or its me … I don't know either way I feel like a failure.

  6. My husband Levi and I decided that we'd start off with ten pennies. One for church, one for the piggy bank, and eight for then child. Then they'd graduate, after learning how to be responsible with their pennies, to dimes. Then quarters, then dollars.I do like the idea of "paying" others to do the chores that don't get done, though! Dr. Leman is a long time favorite of mine. I'll definitely have to pick this one up!

  7. Thanks Overlyactive! That was a great post.I agree, I really like his thoughts on allowance. I think it is a great way of meshing together the best of all worlds 🙂

  8. I know, Lubbers, it is hard. I think that is why it is so debated 🙂 Ultimately it is probably best to try to take it on an individual basis based on the different kid's personality and work ethic.

  9. Deonne, that is a great idea to match it. I know that motivates us; we put as much as we can in the 401k since DH's company matches it! lol

  10. Fickchantellelee,I am sorry! Don't feel like a failure. Good luck and if you decide to give it another shot, I'll still be here 🙂

  11. Lisa, Good idea with the starting with pennies. Brayden has been talking about money lately. I told him he can start earning it. He wants to buy a Thomas train 🙂

  12. Thank you I never gave up actually. I still kept on reading your blogs. I actually replied on this on your blog "week 13".Thank you for being you!! 🙂

  13. Oh my gosh! GREAT post! I just LOVE this blog by the way. I just discovered it, and I am spending hours each night when my LO is in bed reading through it. So much great info! Anyway, my daughter is only 12 months, but I have saved this article and all the comments for future reference. I am a former teacher, so I LOVE the idea of teaching money and saving, etc. I really liked the idea "overlyactive" suggested about dividing up the total allowance, and I LOVED, LOVED Leman's idea of paying someone else who did the chores. What great incentive!

  14. i love this post also! allowance can be a wonderful thing, but like the Dr. said – allowance and chores should not be dependent on each other! i like that your child may have to pay for someone else to complete the chore – that's a very good idea, but i think that someting else might work too – like instead of giving out allowance, actually making him work for it, like giving EXTRA things for which he could earn money, so he still has his chores, but he only gets physical money when he does extra things around the house – my thought is this – my husband still cleans and does laundry and etc… but if he misses a day at his actual job – he doesn't get money handed to him… so although i like the idea of having your son pay someone else for completing his chores – this could backfire because if he gets too much money, then he can pay someone else to do his chores for like a whole month… or if he doesn't value material things very much, then he can just spend his money on having someone else do his work….so if the child has to earn the money by working on EXTRA things, rather than things that should be done because he is a member of the family, i think it would teach him more about hard work….and finally, for example, if the child doesn't wash the dishes – well he doesn't get dinner until he does wash them (you are not going to let them eat from dirty dishes, riht), so he will learn that if i want to eat, i will have to wash the dishes, even if he does it later in the day, it's still a natural consequence… or he could eat out of dirty dishes, but then there are the medical bills – so i wouldn't recommend that. or if the child doesn't clean up the bathroom or put away his clothes… eventually it's only going to hurt him – so that's why i wouldn't worry about your child not doing chores, if each person cleans up after themselves, then why do you care if you child's bedroom is messy and he is mad that he can't find anything? whose problem is it really???and if your child leaves something dirty or his things in the living areas of the house – then give them this rule and make sure they understand it: if you leave something out and it's not put away within X amount of time – it will go in the garbage – then actually throw it in the garbage, if your child ends up having to go barefoot because you threw away all the shoes – who should it affect? your child, not u!or you could just hide their things until they can earn them back by actually cleaning – that way you don't have to spend any extra money on things that ur child may actually need (like for school or…) if your child won't clean up after themselves, that's probably because you have done it for them in the past – so now, they rely on you because they know you will do it anyway, so don't do things for your kids that they can do for themselves!


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