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Should Allowance Be Tied To Chores?

written by: Karen Worthy•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 5/24/2010

Should your kids allowance money be tied to the amount of chores that they do each week? While this simulates a job where they are paid based on performance, it also gives the child the flexibility to "skip" their chores and forgo their allowance in the process.

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    The Basics of Allowance

    All of the experts agree that it is beneficial to give a child an allowance to help them learn how to manage money at a young age. However, the amount of allowance that each child receives as well as whether it is tied to chores is a subject of much debate. In order to teach your child responsibility, many parents will not only provide a weekly allowance to teach financial responsibliity, but will also require that certain chores are completed each day or week to teach overall life responsibility. Whether these two concepts are linked together is ultimately the parent's choice. Since the experts disagree, read the two different options below and use the one that fits best for you, your child, and the concepts that you want them to learn in life.

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    Allowance Linked to Chores

    If you connect a child's allowance to their performance of certain chores, it will provide an incentive to the child to actually do their chores. Additionally, it will promote the concept of working within your child. However, before directly linking their weekly allowance to their chore chart, consider these points.

    • If your child does not need the money that week, they might choose to skip the chores. Is this alright with you?
    • This will reinforce the concept that everything they do should be rewarded (instead of being done because they are part of the family)
    • If the child is motivated by money, this might work well and actually encourage them to do more chores.
    • Be sure that you have a limit to the amount of chores you are willing to pay for so that you don't end up owing more than you can afford to your child for allowance.
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    Allowance and Chores Seperated

    In many families, chores are considered a base expectation of being a member of the family. If this is the case, this might be the best option for you. When chores are not directly linked to pay (allowance), then the child will learn that there is no excuse for not doing the chores and that it is not an option, but a base requirement. Additionally, this method will keep the amount of allowance that your child receives steady from week to week.

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    The Third Option

    As with many things, there are often more than two ways to do something. The third option in this debate is to combine both options and pay your child a weekly base allowance that will not change regardless of what chores are done. Additionally, have a list of chores that are required to be done always (regardless of what allowance is given). Then, have a list of supplemental chores that are optional and that you will provide monetary compensation for.

    Here is an example: Your child is ten years old and receives a weekly allowance of $7. Additionally, he is required to contribute to the family by keeping his room clean, doing the dishes, walking the dog, and taking out the trash. He is not paid for these chores, since they are part of his normal responsibilities, just like homework or showering. However, if he wants to make extra money, he has a list of chores that he can do as well. Examples include: doing the family's laundry ($2), vacuuming the house ($1), raking the leaves ($2), or washing windows ($1).

    Ultimately, the choice is yours and you need to find the solution that best fits your family situation.