Monday Musings - Should Kids Do Chores to Earn an Allowance?

by Samantha on January 7, 2013

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Welcome to this week’s Monday Musings!

In this installation of the weekly feature, I’m curious about the following: should kids do chores to earn an allowance?

Many of us give our kids an allowance, whether it’s a weekly nominal amount or a more substantial figure (particularly if the child is a bit older). Oftentimes, allowances are tied to certain responsibilities. Some kids have to complete a certain set of chores before they can receive their weekly allowance; others get the money regardless of whether they do work around the house or not.

There seems to be two schools of thought in the parenting world:

1) Earn some money by helping around the house; no help, no cash.

2) Receive an allowance - chores have nothing to do with the money.

Regardless of what side of the fence you sit, it’s likely that you feel strongly about your point of view. Allowances, chores, working for money or “letting kids be kids” are polarizing parenting perspectives (!)

So where do you sit? How do you feel about giving your child an allowance as well as having your child do chores…or not. Answer in the comments below!
VIDEO: Should Kids Do Chores to Earn An Allowance?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Margaret January 8, 2013 at 12:31 am

I give both of my children allowance based on their chores. My 7 year-old makes her bed (as best as she can!) and puts the silverware away every morning and she earns $2 per week.

My 10 year-old son has a bit more responsibilities, and as such, earns quite a bit more. He unpacks the dishwasher every day, makes his bed, makes his lunch, and walks the dogs in the morning. For that, he earns $5 per week. He makes $5 if he mows our lawn in the summer (we have a small yard and a super kid-friendly, battery-powered, safe lawnmower!)

I ask my son to keep a log of his weekly earnings since it’s much easier than to fork over cash every week. That way, if he has enough money saved up after a few weeks, he can buy whatever he likes.

It goes the other way, too. If he breaks something, then whatever he owes is deducted from his allowance.


Samantha January 8, 2013 at 12:38 am

Sounds like you have a good system going, Margaret. I think it’s helpful for kids to have some responsibilities and to learn about the value of money. Just as they are able to earn their allowance through chores, they will also quickly learn that if they’re not careful and break something, they will have to pay. This, I guarantee, will make them a lot more conscious and conscientious about their earnings. Thanks for commenting :)


brittany January 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Well my little lady is only 2.5 y/o now, so she has no chores per say. Lol. I tell her each time she dumps her bucket of toys in her room or brings many pieces into the living room that she needs to take them back to her room in the bucket when done. She does not talk that perfect, but her communication is well. She always gives me a look like I am suppose to help her when myself or husband says this, but we mean business. If she does not do it, then I say it is clean up time now and she grabs the toys and proceeds to put them up. She is in the habit of running into the kitchen to help with the dishwasher or put stuff in the laundry machines just because she is used to seeing us do it so much and we tell her to come help. I know it is young, but I have to instill rules and responsibility as he grows. My mom did it to all 6 of the kids and we did fine as adults. I am actually grateful for her doing it. Now with the allowance it is based on good behavior and not if I have to tell you to do something that you are suppose to do like pass your classes, clean up, and help around the house. I think allowance is something given as a bonus for good behavior and should not be something expected from your child either. When kids think they are entitled to an allowance they will only do things like chores or whatever else you tell them they get money for just for the money. I personally think this will not instill a thing about responsibility of your actions and how the real life is.


Samantha January 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Hi Brittany,
I think you’ve got the right idea having your daughter help out around the house early. Regardless of chores, it’s important for kids to have a sense of responsibility, at least as much as they can handle, depending on their age. Some parents choose to give chores a monetary cost; others not - neither one is right or wrong. It all depends on the family situation, the child, the level of responsibility and more. Sounds like your daughter has the whole money thing all figured out already :)


Doctor G January 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

I feel pretty strongly that allowance and chores are two separate parenting issues. I give my kids allowance so that they will learn to be responsible with money. I give my kids chores so they will learn to be helpful members of our family and learn life skills. If I pay them for chores they could “quit” and decide they don’t want the money are aren’t going to do the work. So we separate it. We do have larger jobs that we will give some spending money for if a child pitches in to help.


Samantha January 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Thanks, Doctor G. Interesting perspective on keeping the two things separate. Often, parents give their kids an allowance contingent on the child’s participation in the home. Allowance and chores become conflated and are viewed as one in the same. Separating them will likely make the child think more about the task at hand (or not), and, as you said, can’t “opt out” if they say they don’t want the money. Thanks for commenting :)


John Lanza January 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm

So glad you addressed this ongoing debate in this post. I believe that allowance is a tool for teaching kids to make smart money choices and to become “money comfortable.” Kids should do little chores like clearing the table and making their beds as members of the household. They’ll never have the option to opt-out of these chores even when they may be making their own money and don’t receive an allowance any more.

You can setup bigger chores (some call them “over and above” or “above and beyond” chores) like shoveling snow or mowing the lawn that you wouldn’t necessarily them to do. They can then learn that earning money requires hard work.

By separating these things, you can better raise “money comfortable” kids who also understand that earning money requires effort.

I hope this helps.

John Lanza (@themoneymammals)


Samantha January 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Sounds like you have it all figured out, John :) I like the idea of separating the two so that the kids see the value an importance of both - chores and allowance - without one affecting the other. I also like your idea of “money comfortable” kids and their need to understand that earning money requires effort. It’s a good foundation for them before they head out into the real (material) world. Thanks for commenting.


John Lanza February 8, 2013 at 12:05 am


I enjoyed this thread. Let me know when you have another kids & money thread. Thanks for shining a light on such an important topic.

Keep musing!

John (@themoneymammals)


Samantha February 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Will do! Thanks for following, John :)
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Janet Dubac February 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I think the idea of giving kids an allowance has many benefits. Like some commenters have discussed above it can be a great tool for teaching kids how to understand money. Money is earned by working and things that people want are bought with money. This is an important concept for children to understand, even at a young age. Also I liked that one parent above has their child keeping a log of their money earned. Earning money and keeping track of money are two totally different lessons, and kids need to learn them both.

I think giving children a small allowance to do some chores around the house is a good thing because of what they can take away from it. It’s a good learning experience. However, I think that when a child reaches the age where they can find a job parents should stop. Encouraging your child to get a weekend job or a small job after school is the next step in the learning process, and continuing to supply them with money when they are too old for an allowance can be counterproductive.

Great topic Samantha! :)
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Samantha February 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Thanks, Janet - I agree that kids need to learn the value of money, and providing them with an allowance may do this, particularly if the money is tied to chores. Our kids often see us working every day and buying groceries, paying bills, etc. They need to realize that the work that we do directly translates into money that we receive; in other words, things don’t come free! Thanks for commenting.
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webannie February 25, 2013 at 7:12 am

Some people say that on one hand it motivates a kid to do work. The kids will also learn the importance of budgeting, the value of a dollar and Some parents think it is only fair to allow their children the freedom to do something that they enjoy doing ……. for details.


Samantha February 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

The jury remains out on whether kids should have their allowance tied to chores or if they should have an allowance regardless of what they do around the house. I guess like everything, it depends on who your speaking with.


crystal October 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm

My kids don’t get an allowance. They have chores they are responsibke for and we provide funding for things they want to do. If i hand them cash they will spend it on junk.


shataya February 24, 2014 at 11:41 pm

I think is that they live in the house so its their house also why should they get paid for cleaning their house I think its a good idea to separate them . but should they really get money? they just might miss use the money as along as you know what kind of kid u have would he or she save it witch is learning money management or spend it on un useful things in one split second.


Samantha February 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Thanks for your thoughts. There seems to be two mindsets when it comes to chores and payment. Some parents feel that kids should do chores around the house because they have a responsibility to contribute to the household, regardless of being paid. Other parents seem to feel that allowance for chores works because it gives the child incentive and also shows them the value of work. The jury is out on which option is better; it likely depends on the child, the parents, the situation and a variety of other factors.


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