Teaching kids to help out around the house is a good way to teach personal responsibility. While there's not one set job definition for kids since their abilities will vary by age and by the individual child, finding the right balance of jobs and chores for your family dynamic can help instill a strong work ethic in kids.
If you decide to pay them for chores, or extra jobs, then you also give them an opportunity to earn and manage their own money along the way. Step one is to decide what your child’s responsibilities are at home and if, or which ones, you want to pay them for.
Related: Age-appropriate chores for kids
Chores vs. jobs
Chores, jobs, responsibilities. These terms are often used interchangeably but they simply refer to the stuff that you want your kids to do around the house. You could break up the responsibilities into two main categories:
Personal jobs. Tasks that teach kids how to take care of themselves and their personal spaces. This could be making their bed, brushing their teeth (without prompting), cleaning up their toys, or putting dirty clothes in the hamper. You might also add completing homework assignments and reading.
Household chores. Tasks that help keep the household running and each member of the family contributes. Everyone has chores including mom and dad, whether it's cooking dinner, taking out the garbage, doing laundry, mowing the lawn. Some families may rotate the chores so that no one is stuck with the same tasks all the time.
Kids can start learning to do personal jobs and basic chores, like putting away toys, as young as two or three.
Paying for chores
Whether or not you pay for chores is really a matter of parental preference.
Some parents like to pay their kids for chores that help take things off the adults' plates like taking out the trash, setting/clearing the table, or feeding the pets. And there could be extra payments or bonuses for when kids take initiative and do more than they are asked.
Others feel that daily chores should be unpaid since it's more about teaching kids to contribute to the household. Teaching kids that some jobs simply need to get done, without an incentive.
Then there are parents who take a hybrid approach, deciding to separate unpaid chores from extra chores that kids can choose to do and get paid. So you might offer payment for tasks that need a bit of extra incentive such as cleaning up after the dog, or for one-off projects that come up periodically like cleaning the garage.
Related: Should kids get paid for chores?
How much should I pay my child for chores?
The answer is it really depends. You'll want to choose an age-appropriate and budget-friendly payment amount. Younger kids might do more for less money compared to a teenager. Take a look at our latest Youth Economy Report to see the going rates for allowance.
More important than the amount is to be consistent with payments. Use it as a learning exercise to teach kids about how to earn, save and spend wisely.
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