category: kids & money

Why a Child's Allowance & Chores Should Be Separated

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Learning the responsibility and discipline of money must be taught at an early age.  Helping your child understand the basics of money can be passed along at the early age of three.  

In this article you'll learn

  • Should My Child Get Paid for Chores?

  • How to Pay My Child?

  • Teach Your Child About Budgeting

Early in childhood, children are bombarded by toy commercials and advertisements with fun marketing ploys enticing their little brains of "I MUST have that toy!  

When my oldest child was three, as a parent, all I wanted to do was spoil him because of the love and joy he brought to me.  This is dangerous territory and every parent must use caution.  

By not teaching responsibility of how money is earned, the mentality of getting whatever he or she wants will be carried on in his or her life and eventually you're having an argument with your child about getting him or her a NEW car!

Teaching financial responsibility to your children is one of the greatest disciplines any parent can pass along to a child.  According to Positive Parenting Solutions, "we all want to raise financially responsible children, but what's the best way to teach them those skills in our consumeristic culture?  In a world where money equals power, it's increasingly difficult to raise grateful children who not only understand the value of a dollar but know how to spend that dollar wisely."

Start by giving allowance to help your child understand how to manage money.  The exact amount may vary based on your income and an understanding with your wife or husband.   A general rule is $1 for every age.  If your son is three, then $3, or $5 for a five-year-old.

In the early years, teaching children about money must begin with handling money.  This is probably the opposite of what most readers think.  Growing up I was led to believe that allowance was tied to chores.

Teaching financial responsibility to your children is one of the greatest disciplines any parent can pass along to a child.

He or she must learn about the decisions made can lead to more money or less money.  If your daughter wants to buy an ice cream cone, she may not have enough for the double scoop.   The immediate want will face the reality of how much money can really buy.  It is then your job to carefully and lovingly explain why she cannot afford the double scoop and will have to make a choice.  The choices are to wait until next week when she can afford the double scoop or to settle for a single scoop today.  Don't rob her of her decision.  Let her learn from her decision.

Should My Child Get Paid for Chores?

By teaching your child that doing chores will get them paid, the reality is you are enforcing a standard in your household that chores are only for payment and not part of living in the home contributing to the family and maintenance of the home.   While we want our children to learn the importance of hard work and understand the value of money, paying allowance for chores around the house, "creates an expectation that kids should get paid for helping at home" which causes more harm than good.  

No one loves doing chores or things around the house.  But creating the above expectation will eventually lead to a frustrated parent.  Children will think doing half of the chores will lead to half of the payment and doing more chores will lead to more money.   Your kids must understand that basic chores are part of contributing to the family.   Everyone must pitch in!


How to Pay My Child?

There are required contributions that must be made in the household and there are opportunities around the house that can be monetized.  Look for opportunities around your home as a way for your child to make money.  Perhaps washing a car on the weekends is worth $5 and washing the exterior windows are worth $0.50 per window.  

For younger children, helping mom or dad makes his parents' bed may be worth a quarter.  Helping to rake leaves around the yard may be worth a dollar.  

Creating opportunities around the house will not only help parents out with weekend duties not typical of normal chores but you can create a "Jobs for Hire" list and let the child pick and choose.  Make the tougher jobs pay more with the easier jobs worth less so your child can understand the benefits of hard work.

In a blog by, there is a list of 17 Ways for Your Kids to Earn Money This Summer from babysitting to neighborhood dog walker.  These can be other ways for your child to earn money. 2

Create an Allowance Tracker

Don't guess how much allowance opportunities around the house are worth.  Create a since tracker that clearly outlines the worth of key jobs and how much your child earned.  The tracker can maintain how much the child has learned and how much opportunities still remain.

There is a difference in "chores" and "work".

When your child does chores around the house, she or he is contributing to the family and to the home.

When a child does work, she or he can earn an allowance.  This teaches your child the difference between the two; one creates an opportunity to earn while the other is a contribution.

Educate and help your child understand the difference between the two.

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A Parent's Guide to Paying Allowance.png

Teach Your Child About Budgeting

Now that your child is learning about earning money, have a piggy bank or jar available where he or she can "deposit" the money.  Also, have a handy dandy notebook where the child can keep track of how much he or she has earned to include what has been "withdrawn"  which emulates pulling money from a bank.  

When teaching your kids about money, this is a great moment to teach him or her about saving and giving too.  Your child will benefit greatly by learning the patience of saving money to buy that toy in the future that he or she has worked so hard for and saved for several weeks.  

This is also a great moment in teaching your child about giving back.  Whether you believe in tithing at your local church or giving some to those in need.  

Final Thoughts

Teaching your child about the responsibilities of money can be challenging and may be a tough concept to accept initially.   It is your responsibility as a parent to guide and teach your child about the importance of earning money and the difference between allowance and contributing to the household.  

For great resources on parenting, I highly recommend and  



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