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Should kids get pocket money for chores?

by LaurettaCWright
should kids get pocket money for chores

What’s your view on kids helping around the house and receiving pocket money for chores – are you for or against?

I remember growing up being expected to help on a regular basis – from drying pots and pans from washing up to tidying my bedroom.

I wasn’t given any pocket money for it and, to be honest, I didn’t expect any. When my own kids were younger I tried a rota system, offering 2 pence for small chores like tidying away their plate when they had finished eating or putting away their shoes after they had come into the house.

It proved to be a lot of hard work having to watch them like a hawk and break up squabbles over who had done what, so the rota system didn’t last very long.

But the whole process got me thinking – why should kids be paid to help out around the house? Perhaps they should just…well, help out.

This is easier said than done; I should know – my son requires a lot of bribery to get him to do anything without moaning about it, but if we start the kids young, they’ll know no different surely?

It’s a bit too late for my own kids; I do get them to help out on a weekly basis – mostly by tidying their bedrooms, fetching things and occasionally a spot of cleaning.

Sometimes they even offer to because they want to, but mostly because there’s an underlying reason, which usually has something to do with time on the Playstation or being allowed to make slime in the kitchen.

From toddler to tween

As my tweens turn into teens I was interested to find out what other parents thought of chores for pocket money, so I decided to do a bit of detective work.

It turns out that nine in ten teens help around the house but almost half are paid to help.

A recent study from School Stickers found that the most common chores for teens are tidying their bedroom (75%), cleaning the dishes (61%), vacuuming (50%), helping to cook meals (46%) and putting the bins out (44%).

By far the most popular way of paying for chores is per chore with almost two thirds (65%) being paid in this way.  Over a quarter (27%) are given treats for doing jobs around the house, and one in ten (9%) are paid to do a list of jobs each week.

The best paid chores are babysitting, paying on average £2.67 per half hour and cleaning the car, paying on average £2.73 per car. All other chores pay on average between £1.22 and £2.21.


Top ten chores done by teenagers

Chore

Average price per chore

1

Tidying Bedroom £1.87

2

Cleaning Dishes

£1.55

3 Vacuuming

£1.60

4

Helping to cook meals

£1.98

5

Putting bins out £1.22
6 Hanging washing out

£1.37

7

Dusting £1.66
8 Ironing

£1.52

9

Clean bathroom £1.92
10 Babysitting

£2.67 (half hour)

This is all very well, but what if you’re skint and you need incentive tactics to work? Well, I’ve had to be inventive a few times

Try some of these non-monetary rewards instead:

  • For small chores that kids do without being asked (clearing their plate away, putting away their shoes etc) reward them with a sticker. Once they get so many stickers, they get to choose a half-day activity for the weekend.
  • The movie of their choice for the family to sit and watch.
  • Two hours of your time to dedicate to an activity of their choosing – cooking, face-painting, ball games, crafting etc…
  • A trip to the park
  • Play a family game – hide and seek, tag etc..
  • You will tidy their room for a change (unless the chore is tidying their room!)
  • Build them a den (using bed sheets!) or put up the tent for them to play inside in the garden.
  • Make a film together – and make them the starring role!
  • Let them stay up an hour past their bedtime.

The above list does of course come with a pre-warning: once you implement the rewards, it’s not uncommon for kids to ask if they can help you out more regularly. Now that’s not such a bad thing is it? You’re welcome.

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Do you believe that #kids should be rewarded with pocket money for #chores? Here's the results - and some alternative non-monetary payments your kids will thank you for

35 comments

Alice O'Neill 13th April 2018 - 3:18 pm

Yes I think children should get a small amount of money for chores done around the home

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LaurettaCWright 13th April 2018 - 3:40 pm

Thanks for commenting Alice – and yes, the emphasis being on ‘small amount’ of course 🙂

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Susie Wilkinson 6th April 2018 - 7:32 pm

Working with children, I see so many that get quite a lot of pocket money and do nothing to help out at home, and they tend to just spend their money without caring where it’s come from. I think it’s a good idea to get children used to the idea that they don’t get something for nothing in life and they have to work if they want money.
That being said, I do think they should be responsible for their own area and any mess they create anyway because it teaches them personal responsibility.

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LaurettaCWright 8th April 2018 - 10:12 pm

I have to agree with you all the way on this one Susie – so very true! Kids have to learn the value of money to appreciate it. Thanks for commenting!

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paula cheadle 6th April 2018 - 11:50 am

they should learn from a young age that some things are just done, other jobs they get paid for doing them, I did when I was younger

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LaurettaCWright 8th April 2018 - 7:46 pm

Yes – good plan Paula. Have to agree with this.

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Kim Styles 5th April 2018 - 5:46 pm

ordinary tasks like clearing up their stuff, doing their room etc is part of their role in our family as far as I am concerned and should not involve payment. mine get money if the chore is bigger- cleaning the car inside and out or hoovering right through the house and dusting. My children are older, so it is not such a mighty task. but the need for money to go out with their friends is becoming an issue and I don’t provide funds for nothing, so they have to work for it. I think money means more when it is earned.

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LaurettaCWright 5th April 2018 - 9:05 pm

Excellent point well made Kim, thanks – and I agree all round with this. I can imagine the kids get a bit more demanding money-wise as they get older – I’ve got all that to come!

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Alan Moor 26th March 2018 - 3:33 pm

I agree with this totally. I feel differentiating between what is expected of a family unit and what is maybe going beyond could be the difference between a treat or money.
For example, making a bed is a normal thing to do so maybe a treat for cleaning up after themselves (like cinema once a month as a family) or,
Washing the family car may not be and gets a monetary reward.
The second point I feel is getting a sense of value. Not so much the earning part but how much things cost. Buying a book or a game for a game system. The realization that just about everything is expensive.

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LaurettaCWright 28th March 2018 - 11:06 am

Great points Alan – and thanks for your views. The sense of value is really important with kids these days I think. I often tell mine not to throw items around otherwise they’ll break – but because they don’t have to pay for replacements, they don’t learn their lesson. HOwever, after my daughter left the 3rd set of brushes out – only for the rabbits to chew on – she had to buy the next set.

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Alice 18th March 2018 - 8:42 pm

Whilst I think it’s a good idea now and again, it’s not something I’d do all the time. I think it’s good for kids to get rewarded in different ways. However, it does teach them that in order to get money then you have to work for it.

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LaurettaCWright 18th March 2018 - 11:07 pm

Some great points made Alice – thank you!

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Rebecca 14th March 2018 - 1:57 pm

Hmmm it’s a tricky one. I’m into rewarding but also, some things should be basic. For example, basic tidy up should be the norm but anything above that should be rewarded.

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LaurettaCWright 14th March 2018 - 4:08 pm

Yes, I can appreciate that. It’s something we all seem to have different views on!

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Hannah 14th March 2018 - 12:46 pm

I think getting pocket money for chores is a good thing as its an incentive to do work and prepares for when kids get an actual job

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LaurettaCWright 14th March 2018 - 4:14 pm

I think a lot of parents go down this route, but it’s not something that I do myself. I tend to reward the kids for chores with non-monetary goods and then when they go over and above what they are expected to do i.e beyond the daily chores of putting their plates away and tidying their rooms, then I’ll look to pay them. It’s all swings and roundabouts isn’t it?

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Leigh Travers 14th March 2018 - 10:16 am

I actually never received pocket money for doing any chores when I was a kid but I think this was to teach me that we should help out family completely selflessly without reward at the end. However, then again rewarding kids with money or something else after completing a task teaches them about the working world.

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LaurettaCWright 14th March 2018 - 10:25 am

Yes true – there are arguments for both sides. Well put Leigh – and thanks!

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Steph 13th March 2018 - 9:05 pm

Great ideas on the non cost rewards. We’ve just started pockets money for extra chores but my kids are also really good if I need them to help me with things. So I think we have a good balance

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LaurettaCWright 13th March 2018 - 11:30 pm

That’s great Steph – sounds like you have it pretty much sussed!

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Laura Dove 13th March 2018 - 5:11 pm

My children don’t get pocket money at all, the youngest three are too young and my eldest at 13 knows that he’s better off just having money as and when he needs it (within reason) rather than a set amount!

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LaurettaCWright 13th March 2018 - 11:29 pm

We tend to play by that rule too…it’s interesting to see the different ways people deal with this topic.

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Linda Hobbis 13th March 2018 - 12:05 pm

We give our two weekly pocket money but expect that they do basic stuff like keep their rooms tidy. They rarely do of course so a rethink is in order. Have to say I thought what was being paid to the kids was pretty low for some of those chores. Better hope they don’t learn about the minimum wage…

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LaurettaCWright 13th March 2018 - 1:39 pm

Thanks Linda – you might be alright if they don’t find out for a while!

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Kirsty 12th March 2018 - 8:19 pm

I used to get a £1 a week pocket money as long as I kept my room tidy, (which included hoovering, dusting, making my bed and putting my clothes away) as well as washing up the dishes every night. For me I would have kept my room clean anyway but it was nice to get a reward. I think I would do pocket money for my daughter as it installs values and being able to buy nice things mean working for it.

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LaurettaCWright 12th March 2018 - 9:39 pm

Thanks Kirsty – we have paid pocket money for chores, but tend to only give monetary rewards when the kids go over and above what they are expected to do – at 12 and 10 they are old enough now I think.

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Kara 12th March 2018 - 5:26 pm

Mine don’t get pocket money for doing everyday household chores but once they hit 11 and secondary school we do give them an allowance so they can start learning to budget their money

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LaurettaCWright 12th March 2018 - 9:37 pm

Yes – great idea Kara – and it’s something we do too. It’s so important to learn about finances. I think it should be part of the national curriculum as so many young kids are already in debt.

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Bethany 12th March 2018 - 12:23 pm

I’m not quite sure about money, because they are only kids, I think it depends on their age really. 16+ for money, then sure. Otherwise a little treat here and there to show positive rewards. Then again, I am only 19 so many still consider me a kid, I get £20 pocket money a month but I have to clean my own room, tidy up after the cats, wash up and all of that stuff. I think it’s a good compromise. D

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Bethany 12th March 2018 - 12:23 pm

I’m not quite sure about money, because they are only kids, I think it depends on their age really. 16+ for money, then sure. Otherwise a little treat here and there to show positive rewards. Then again, I am only 19 so many still consider me a kid, I get £20 pocket money a month but I have to clean my own room, tidy up after the cats, wash up and all of that stuff. I think it’s a good compromise.

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LaurettaCWright 12th March 2018 - 9:35 pm

Yes, age certainly has something to do with it – and ‘working’ should mean people are paid, but I think chores are different –
they are something that need to be done as part of daily life and children shouldn’t expect to be paid for that. Thanks for your thoughts Bethany!

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Fashion and Style Police 11th March 2018 - 6:45 pm

I can give my kids non monetary gifts for good behaviour to encourage them but not money. They will get pocket money regardless.

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LaurettaCWright 12th March 2018 - 7:44 am

Good behaviour deserves occasional good rewards, especially if you are trying to encourage them in a certain area. Thanks!

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Sarah 11th March 2018 - 5:08 pm

This is a really interesting post, and I love the non-monetary based reward ideas! I do reward my little ones with pocket money, and we do have a chart – but it’s called our Kindness Chart. They get ticks for being kind to others, to nature, to each other (as well as being kind to me by helping out with chores!) so it’s not just chore based at all.

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LaurettaCWright 12th March 2018 - 7:46 am

I love that idea – what a great learning lesson for teaching and spreading kindness. I might have to nab that one for myself!

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