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Should we pay our kids to do their chores? Or should they just be expected to help out? Is there a balance we can find that works for everyone? These questions, answered according to one mom's experience: find out if it can work for you!

It seems to be an ongoing conversation among moms as to whether or not we should pay our kids for doing their chores. I’ve struggled with that a time or two as my kids have gotten older and realized some of their friends make money for helping around the house! ;) 

I’m often tweaking my process, but this what I’ve found works best for our family in regards to paying or not paying for chores. I’d love to hear what you do as well!

Chores We Don’t Pay Our Kids to Do

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We have a set of chores, built into our kids’ daily routine that they aren’t paid to do. We want to teach them that we help out because we are part of the family!

They’re expected to:

  • Make their bed
  • Put away their pajamas
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Put away clean clothes from the laundry
  • Do a quick tidy of their rooms at the end of the day (believe me, this doesn’t happen every day!)
  • Set the table
  • Clear the table
  • Sweep the floor
  • Put away toys
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Dust
  • Sort and do laundry to some degree
  • Take out trash/recycling

These chores are all done depending on their age. Later on, I’ll share a chore list by age to help you determine what can/can’t be expected of your children, as well as our “non chore-chart” system that we use to keep track of what needs to get done!

We also don’t expect our kids to do everything by themselves. They obviously graduate to more responsibility as they get older, while the younger ones need more assistance. Like I’ve mentioned previously, by showing our kids what they can do, it helps keep them from getting frustrated. I’ll dig into that in more detail in a future post as well!

The Chores we Do Pay our Kids to Do

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When it comes to bigger jobs that aren’t constant–such as shoveling snow or doing a big yard project–we often will pay our children for their efforts. We recognize that some jobs take longer and require more effort and perseverance to be done well.

We also know that our older children will be able to work longer, and so we pay them fairly just as we pay our 4 year old a small amount for his help, both depending on how much work they’ve done and how long they’ve helped.

It’s great for our children to do things out of kindness, not expecting anything in return, but also to realize that hard work can result in well-deserved earnings! It’s truly a mindset that will serve them well in their adult life. 

Some of the chores we’ve paid our children to do so far are:

  • Shovel the snow off the sidewalk (we get lots of snow!)
  • Complete a big yard project, like weeding the entire garden or cleaning up in the spring
  • Deep cleaning, such as a bathroom (this is just for the oldest right now)
  • Mowing the lawn (again, for the oldest who is 10 and just learning)
  • Cleaning out the fridge (for some reason, my 7 1/2 year old LOVES doing this)

Perhaps more things will come along but for now this is what works based on our kids’ ages!

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Having fun after helping in the yard!

How we pay them is really loosey-goosey, for lack of a better term :) We don’t have a particular set amount, and honestly I let my husband handle what he thinks is fair, because he is the one who supervises the large projects! 

If our 10 year old shovels the entire driveway and it takes him half an hour (just an example), we will give him $3. When the 7 year old helps weed the entire garden and it takes 20 minutes, we would pay $2.

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Above, kiddos helping with the dishes!

We’re thankful that for the most part, our kids do work diligently, but of course there are always attitudes that we are working through and need to be adjusted. It’s a process and I don’t want to expect perfection!

Some people have a set amount they pay their kids depending on the number of chores they do. Perhaps as our kids get older, we will be more consistent with the amount we pay them depending on the job.

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I wanted to share this with you because I feel that in the end, it is more about the work ethic we teach our children rather than the amount we pay them.

We could pay our kids a lot of money for doing chores with a bad attitude or we could be miserly when they do a good job. Neither are a good approach!

A good rule might be paying a small child 50 cents to help pick weeds in the garden, no matter how long he or she works.

Another good rule might be to pay a 6 year old $3 to help pick weeds for half an hour, as long as it is done with decent consistency and a good attitude. There are lots of good ways to do this!

I’d encourage you to work with your children on sharing with them why we help out around the house and teach them some principles of taking joy in their work (while also working on our own attitudes about taking care of the home!) and let the financial reimbursement follow logically, based on what will work best for your own children!

Please share in the comments how you feel about paying your children to do chores: I’d love to hear what works in your home!

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Jenn

Blogger/ Owner at The Purposeful Mom
Hi, I'm Jenn! I'm an "unstuffy" pastor's wife and mom to four amazing and active children. My desire is to equip you with the resources, tools and encouragement you need to learn God’s Word and apply it to your life so you can teach the Word to your children in a way that has a lasting impact! I want to help you turn good ideas into good practices so that you feel confident, by the grace of God, in carrying out the many vocations you have been called to as a Christian woman. Read more on my about page!