To answer this question, I divide chores into two categories. The first category are the basic daily/weekly chores that must get done for the family to function. These include picking up toys, cleaning the bedroom, feeding the animals, setting and clearing the table, doing the dishes, sweeping and vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, doing and folding the laundry, and making dinner to name a few. Whew! This is a lot of work that I believe needs to be shared by all the family members depending on age and ability.
Homework does not replace the need to do chores. If parents tell kids to not do chores because of homework, then parents can end up overworked and resentful. The kids won’t learn that they are valuable contributing members of the family. This can lead to children who feel they deserve to be waited on. When they are “asked” rather than required to help with chores, they can be surly and resentful of the “intrusion” on their time. So please, always have your kids do chores.
I do not believe that children should get paid money for doing basic chores. My experience has been that when parents pay kids for doing chores, they end up taking money away if the chore isn’t done. It becomes a rewards and punishment system. Let’s say you take away money because your child doesn’t pick up their toys. I think you’ve lost in two ways. The first is why do they have to pick the toys up because they’ve already lost the money and second, you haven’t taught them that it’s not a choice whether they pick up their toys or not. Overall, it just becomes a mess so please don’t pay kids for basic chores.
If kids want to earn extra money, then offer them money to do the second chore category which are non-basic chores such as gardening, washing the car, or helping clean out the garage. Even if you are divorced and the other parent pays for basic chores, please don’t. Your kids will learn that at dad’s house they don’t get paid and at mom’s they do.
An additional way to earn and learn about the use of money is with an allowance. That is the subject of another article
©2014 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 679.8138 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.