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Question for all of you, because you either have kids or were kids.


Did you do chores as a kid? What did you do? Did you get paid for any chores? How much? Same questions for parents about your kids.


My 6 year old and 4 year old need to start doing stuff, but we're not quite sure about what to do. My thought it stuff like helping unload the dishwasher, helping take trash/recycling out, and paying them a set amount per chore, like 25 cents. That'd probably max out at roughly $10 a month, and we'd have them put a certain amount to savings, and a certain amount they can spend or save in their piggie bank for a special toy or something.

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I don't like the idea of tying chores to money. Chores are a life-long reality, and we don't get paid for them...ever. Chores are simply a responsibility of everyone that lives in the house and is capable.

Now, since doing chores sucks big ones sometimes, we mix them up and sometimes all pitch in. It's a group effort to keep a house clean and running smoothly.

When Noah was 6 he emptied the dishwasher. He would put anything out of his reach on the counter under it's designated cabinet. He also started assisting with trash, laundry, and meal prep.

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Yeah-- There seems to be a few schools of thought... and I have STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT IT.


I learned of the concept of allowance from the Brady Bunch, wherein the loving, but stern, Mike Brady somehow managed to pay allowance to six kids while also having a house keeper, a wife that stayed home, and a 4 bedroom house in the valley. It seemed like all the kids had one chore, and got paid a pittance for it.


So I pitched it to my dad-- I'll make sure the garbage is always taken out, you pay me money every week. Dad was thrilled-- said it was a great way to learn responsibility and working for a wage.


That's the first school of thought-- you're teaching kids about working for a living, which we all have to do. You do work, you get paid. Simple as that.


Here's where it went off the rails for me... my dad is actually a really lazy asshole. As the years went by, my chore list got bigger, and the money never went up. By the time I was ten, he had me doing semi-professional yard work (terracing an embankment in the bank yard) for the same paltry sum I had asked for when I was 6.


Then it got worse. The summers of ages 12-15, technically the last summers I would have had for adventures and freedom, was spent babysitting my little brother, all day every day-- for no money.


By then my dad was raiding my piggy bank on the regular for beer money, the allowance stopped altogether, and I was told that I shouldn't have to be paid for spending time and helping out my own family. Asking for money became a way for him to guilt trip and manipulate me into doing stuff he didn't want to, or could afford to have done, himself.


So all that taught me was that it was okay to rot in a job for years without getting a raise because the company needed you. Which I did in every job I had between the ages of 20 and 30.


That leads to the other school of thought, which Reese has said, that you don't have to tie chores to a reward system. You want them to understand that contributing to the responsibilities of life is a thing we must all do. As Met said he experienced, you do the work, and your parents may gift you an allowance for going along with it and not screwing up.


I think this approach if you have a kid who genuinely wants to be helpful. Not every kid is like that. I had a cousin who was a born troubler-maker. Nice guy. really funny, but just loved being in the middle of shit constantly. As a kid he was always in trouble, and he had zero interest in chores or helping out in any way. I'm sure there are lots of psychological reasons he turned out that way, but the point is-- you can't expect a kid to want to help without some incentive or training.


We've ended up taking a bit of a hybrid approach with my kid.


When he was 5-8, we would give him a single chore, that paid a small amount. It was just to establish the notion that sometimes you have to work for what you want.


From ages 9-12 we started being stricter about cleaning up after himself around the house. Keep his room clean, take out the garbage in his room and bathroom, wash his own dishes. At first he wanted to get paid for this-- because he was getting paid for the kitchen garbage and he had friends getting paid for chores. We told him "no way." These things aren't a job, these are chores you have to do as part of a member of this house. The kitchen garbage, THAT'S a job. Your room, is your responsibility.


Through middle school taking out the kitchen garbage fell off, which is fine. He got it. He just started doing it when it needed taking out-- which by the way is the opposite of me as a kid. I had to take out the garbage got bad, he'd do something about it. We stopped the allowance at this stage because anything he wanted money for was not going to be covered with the chump change we'd pay him. Any time we'd need help around the house with something extra, I'd kick him a few bucks for helping out. After a couple years though, I stopped doing that. I also stopped asking for help-- and it turns out, he realized he is happy to help. He'll always stop what he is doing to help with something if I need it. Because I didn't make him waste his time as a kid doing chores I was supposed to do (like my dad did), now he just wants to help for the sake of helping. Toward the end of this stretch he wouldn't never expect money for helping out with anything in the home, but on occasion, if he needed money he'd ask for a special task he could make money for. THIS is the stage at which I'd assign him some sort of heavy labor that my dad would make me do. Work for money on a task.


Now that he's in high school, the only thing he does that I have to get after him about is not leaving dirty dishes in the sink. I don't give him any. When he needs money, he'll still ask for a big task... but there isn't always one to do. He also understands now that I pay for his phone and I don't lock it down, which he appreciates. All his friends have their phones locked down and he feels pretty lucky. I know those parents feel they are protecting their kids, but I feel like restrictions are a form of punishment. If he screws up, THEN I'll lock it down. But I monitor what he does, no need to rob him of agency.


Anyway... money isn't a huge issue. He doesn't have a lot of needs. He always collects a bunch of cash on his birthday and Xmas, and he dumps into his amazon account and unlike me, he doesn't feel the desire to spend it all at once. When he wants something, he'll order it, and it shows up.

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I’m definitely in the “pay for work” school of thought, but it has to be chores that benefit the family. Cleaning up after yourself isn’t a chore that pays, it’s something that you have to do. Chores that pay would also change as they get older. For now it’s help unload the dishwasher, but it would eventually turn into doing all the dishes. You only get paid for the chores that stretch you. I could also see us turning to a regular allowance with non-paid mandatory chores, but that’ll come much later.

My son is 6, but he has ADHD and some issues that he’s working with an OT to fix, so his abilities are somewhat limited. My daughter who turns 4 next week is more capable than him when it comes to some physical things.

We also want to do this to stop my mom from just giving them money, so it has a double reason. She spoils them, and we want to give them the idea that you don’t just get money all the time. She doesn’t give them huge amounts, but she’ll randomly give them a couple bucks, sometimes up to $10
My family was poor growing up, so I never got an allowance. I was also the youngest by 8 years, so I got by without doing much of anything. My parents never even made me clean my room.

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Noah is 11 now, and I still haven't figured out how to get my grandparents (his great-grandparents) to stop giving him money all the time. He gets $20 nearly every time we see them, and that's at least once a week.

But he's also in scouts. When he crossed over into Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts) from Cub Scouts in February, we told him that anything he wanted to do or buy was his responsibility. There's a HUGE jump in fees and expenses when you go from Cubs to Scouts BSA, but you also do a lot more and have way more fundraising opportunities. So we buy his uniforms and basic equipment, but he pays for all outings, camps, and equipment upgrades. His very first fundraising go, he earned enough money in his account for summer camp, winter camp, every monthly campout, all of next year's fees, and a few equipment upgrades that he wanted after summer camp. So he still gets to work for his money, but it doesn't come out of our pockets or require us to give on our "no money for chores" philosophy. We also pretty much buy him things that he wants on a regular basis as well, because that's also a part of being a family.

Mostly, when it comes to chores, Noah really doesn't complain much, and he's almost always willing to pitch in when needed. But we also do a lot of things as a group or in pairs. Trevor and Noah mow and edge the lawn together. Often Noah and I will cook together, or I'll cook while he unloads the dishwasher, or vice versa. We all pitch in to clean Luke's room when it gets too crazy. And we all sit around and fold laundry together once we get tired of living out of laundry baskets. (Our children have the misfortune of having 2 parents who absolutely LOATHE folding and hanging laundry. It's the one thing we gripe about and put off until it's overwhelming. We both hate it equally, and despite our best efforts, we've passed that along to at least the oldest kiddo. So it becomes a group activity where we throw on a movie and all be grumpy and pissy together.)


But of course he's 11 now and starting that puberty bs, so every so often something like "hey bud, can you empty the dishwasher?" is met with an explosive "WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS YELLING AT ME?!? WHY IS EVERYTHING ALWAYS MY FAULT?? WHY DOES THIS FAMILY HATE ME SO MUCH?" Tweens are fun. Horomones are funner! :rolleyes:

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So my parents didn't do allowance with me, but they did give me spending money for almost anything I asked. But I also didn't ask a lot. In 1999 dollars, they gave me maybe $20 a week for fun and $20 a week for lunch at school. When and where I grew up, fun was actually pretty cheap and easy to come by. They paid for select soccer (also way less than I'm paying for my 7-year old now) and prom dresses. I think once I started working I started paying for my fun, and I did that in college, too, since my parent paid for what part of my tuition wasn't covered by scholarships (came out to about 25% in the end, and I took those loans over once I graduated because I realized my parents were in no shape to pay them back, despite their promises). I turned out to be a lot more fiscally responsible than my parents, despite having reasonable access to money whenever I needed it. But I do admit that my parents paying tuition and living expenses gave me a major leg up in being financially stable from the start.


I did, however, have what I think was quite a bit of chores and responsibility, but it was never enough for my mom or grandma. My grandma basically made her kids full-time slaves because she was a clean freak. This is the same woman who use to blow a gasket seeing me read a book when I should've been waxing the floors or something. To this day, I still don't know what her motivation was. And then one day, my mom flipped out on grandma for asking me to do some totally unnecessary cleaning instead of reading. She actually backed off and stopped that nonsense. But I was essentially expected to be at my disabled mother's beck and call for any little thing she might want at any given moment. I remember once going to the bathroom and her yelling at me to get off the toliet to get a glass of water or something like that. We didn't have a great relationship, to say the least. Mom's family also thought I was an ungrateful a-hole for years until my parents divorced and they got a taste of what taking care of her was really like. As an adult, though, I'm fairly organized but have also outsourced a few things to keep me sane. I have a monthly cleaning lady so that we don't live in filth and I do a lot of shopping online. We still do a lot of grocery shopping because my husband has some control issues there (and honestly, we did get a lot of bad produce from places that pick it for you). But my house is relative neat and clean because I don't want to live in a mess.


Funny enough, we paid my daughter for potty training. She didn't care at all about candy, stickers, or anything like that, but she loved getting coins for her piggy bank for going to the bathroom. It was kind of cute. And cheap, since she was 2 it's not like she knew it was a dime instead of a quarter or whatever I had on hand. The tooth fairy also only delivers dollar coins for teeth, none of this $20 nonsense.


I don't think we will do allowance because I agree with the idea that chores are part of life and part of contributing to the family. I do laundry and have the kids put away their clothes, they clear the table and we have a little hand vacuum for cleaning up messes. We do, however, tend to focus our sticker charts and the like on behavior instead of chores. You want a new video game? 20 stickers based on positive behavior, reading 20 minutes a day. My youngest also just got diagnosed with ADHD, so we're also trying to find some sort of motivator for him, but we have to break it up into much smaller tasks to make it achievable for him. "Be good all day" is setting him up to fail.

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