Paying kids for their chores teaches them to value work.

How to Determine Allowance Per Chore

by Tammy Dray

Tired of the kids always asking for more money? Paying children for doing chores is a good way to teach them that cash is something you earn. Rather than handing out money like you can spare it -- you can't, can you? -- set up a system by which everybody must work for an allowance.

1 Make a list of all the chores you want kids to complete. If you have children of different ages, the list should include chores that the little ones can do. Or, even better, create a list of "small kid chores" for your toddlers and "big kid chores" for preschoolers. That way you won't have the older kid taking the easier chores and leaving the younger one without a way to earn money.

2 List the chores in terms of difficulty and how long it will take a child to complete them. For example, it takes just a couple of minutes to fill a pet's dish with water but much longer to help set the table. You can include both personal and household chores on the list. Personal chores could be things like getting dressed or picking up their own toys. Household chores include everything outside the bedroom doors, such as cleaning, washing, taking care of pets and dusting.

3 Determine how much you'd like the kids to be able to earn in a week. If you think they should have no more than $10 a week, don't give each chore a value of $1. Otherwise, they can end up with a $20 bill in their pocket by the end of the week. Divide your chosen weekly amount by the number of chores on the table. You don't want to give all chores the same value, but do this first to get a general idea of prices. If the kids do every single chore listed, they'll end up with $10. If not, well, too bad. You can also add a small "bonus" of a couple of dollars for those who earn their full allowance.

4 Give each chore a dollar value based on difficulty. Simple chores that have to be done several times a day, such as clearing their own plate and utensils, should earn the smallest amount of money -- as little as 25 or 50 cents, depending on the allowance total. Something that's done once a week, such as helping water the backyard, should earn the kids more money.

Tips

  • Some parents believe kids shouldn't be paid for chores because it's their responsibility to do them. While that's a valid point, it also makes sense to educate kids so they don't feel "entitled" to an allowance. After all, that's not how the real world works.
  • To make record keeping fun, you can use an iPad or smartphone app such as iAllowance, which allows you to keep track of chores performed, money earned and special rewards.

About the Author

Aside from writing experience, I also have coaching/teaching experience, both as an writing coach (currently teaching three workshops at www.coffeehouseforwriters.com) and an ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language)teacher abroad. I'm a certified Nutrition Consultant and fitness trainer and a longtime contributor to health/wellness publications, from Self to Marie Claire. I am fluent in Spanish and have worked as a translator and a language instructor. I also have two books forthcoming in 2008.

Photo Credits

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