Asking your child to perform tasks around the home in exchange for an allowance can be a powerful tool for teaching lifelong lessons about the value of work and the proper respect for money. If you are looking to implement or revamp a plan for your son or daughter, taking the time to create a workable chore strategy can help you ensure your child gets the most out of the experience.
Make it age appropriate
Of course you’re not going to ask your toddler to check the engine oil once a week. But also think about the other end of the spectrum. A teenager asked to feed the cat may feel that their work is trivial or belittling. On the other hand, asking them to regularly analyze the family’s expenses using accounting software can be a fun challenge.
Make it exceptional
Child development experts warn that an allowance system can backfire if a child expects to get paid for any and all tasks that are done. Consider delineating certain above-and-beyond jobs that are for the allowance while making it clear that other tasks (including ad-hoc jobs) are expected to be done without compensation.
Make it educational
Allowance chores can be used as a sneaky way to increase your child’s life skills. Cooking, doing laundry, or shopping for the family within budgeted levels are not only productive, but give your child experience in performing tasks that will benefit them when they are on their own.
Make it meaningful
One of the biggest complaints kids have is that they get “stuck” doing some lousy task their parents are forcing them to do. To avoid this, consider having a family meeting to discuss all the work that needs to be done to make the home function well. Let your child have input into what job kind of job(s) he or she will do to benefit the family’s quality of life. This will make the chores feel more like part of a shared team responsibility and less like a burden.
Don’t make it a labor dump
If you have junior applying tar to the roof while you are filling the ice cube trays, you may experience a bit of dissent. If you have some very labor intensive work you feel your child could complete, consider “hiring” them to do it or using a higher tier of allowance for this kind of job. You don’t want your child to think you are just using them for cheap labor.
Don’t be afraid to think creatively when assigning allowance-earning chores. Your family’s circumstances are unique and you should consider those when developing your plan. That way you can use a system that benefits the whole family and creates strong life habits for your child.