Teaching Children the Value of Work and Money with Chores

Last week, I departed my children as I journeyed back to Washington, D.C., and they drove back to Texas with their mother. Having spent incredible several weeks with them this summer as I transitioned to a new office was very special. It gave me a moment to reflect and to be a man of my word. I'm not talking about discipline or where to find the best donuts in D.C. which we did find. This moment of reflection I'm referring is an allowance. In the past, I would spoil my children when possible and buy them a toy if their behavior was excellent. This summer was different. I gave my children the chance to earn it. I wanted to leave them with something precious, and that is to learn the value of money. While this may not work on every child, it worked like a charm for my seven and five-year-olds.


Such chores were not part of their regular daily duties. The children had to clean off the table after dinner and pick up after themselves. By sticking to this plan, they learned their role in contributing to being in the family. Earning allowance had to be performed elsewhere outside of expected must-do chores. Using a google spreadsheet, I drafted up chores for each day of the week, and each task was worth $0.25 or $0.50. The $0.50 duty involved more time and labor. Before reading off the chores, we did some recon at the local Target toy aisle. Before getting out of the car, I reminded the kids that we were not at the store to buy toys but to look to see how much a toy will be, so they know how much to earn. After they make money, we will come back on payday for them to buy it if they had enough money.

Both kids found a toy they wanted and remembered how much each toy was going to cost. That evening, I read the chores out loud to them, but it was my youngest who needed help in reading. The following morning, they immediately started doing what chores they could at the break of dawn. First, I was shocked, they remembered. Second, how much longer would they keep this motivation?


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After the two weeks, on payday, each one child fell short of $0.50 while the other was $5 short of the goal. We walked into the store anyway to see if they wanted a different toy or to save their money until they had enough. After looking at the toys, I asked both kids if they wanted to wait, and they both agreed to wait a day until they had both earned enough. To my surprise, I was pleased. I opened my phone in the toy aisle and clicked on the Amazon app for price comparison. Sure enough, the toy my son wanted was $5 cheaper. I asked him to make a choice. Either he can order the toy online, pay less money and save his $5, and receive his toy tomorrow in the mail, or we can come back to the store tomorrow after he completes a few chores.

As the youngest heard this, I found her toy on their too. It was a split decision, so I honored both by ordering one toy online and going back to the store the following day. The following week, a new chore list was posted, and each day, the kids would perform their chores correctly. It became a burden for me at times because every few hours, they were asking for more duties or how much have they earned so far.


This created a teaching moment to reflect that sometimes each day has it cap or max that can be performed. In reality, it was because I didn't want to break my budget, which is a great lesson. Set a daily price limit. The daily limit didn't discourage the children from asking, but they did terrific jobs earning an allowance. Some chores were cleaning the bathroom sink and tub to taking out the trash. Some easier jobs were watering the plants or dusting the furniture with a duster. They learned the value of money and work. I know that by teaching them to work for their toy versus me just buying it, is an extraordinary moment. Having gone to the store to buy something with their own hard-earned money is the real reward, and they were bragging about all the work they had done around the home. What are some creative ways in earning allowance did you have as a kid or have done with your children? Share your story on our Instagram page @dollarotter_blog.

Below is a link to the chores I gave my children and you can use this template for chores kids can do to get you started.

Downloadable Children's Chore Template


#chores #kidsandchores #allowance #earningmoney



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