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Now that my oldest son is 10, I feel he's old enough to help out more around the house. He is already tidying his room on a weekly basis, but I would like him to help with things like setting the table for dinner and emptying the trash in the bathrooms. My husband thinks we should give him a weekly allowance for these extra tasks, but I disagree. Helping around the house should be part of living in the house. At what point do you think children need to be compensated for doing work around the house? And how much is fair?


Mark Borowski Replied: I understand your situation as I have 2 kids, 5 and 11 years old and we just recently started chore charts and giving an allowance. I think right around the age of 10 is old enough to start to learn about and earn money, depending on the child's maturity. I think you and your husband are both right - that helping around the house is part of being a family and that it's also time to give him a weekly allowance. Here are some things to consider: 1) expect your son to simply do some of the simple or common chores around the house just because he's part of the family but then pay an allowance for some of the other chores you'd like to see him start doing or that are a little more involved. 2) You can pay an allowance for some of the chores or as he accumulates "stars" for satisfactory weeks of certain chores (say 5 days out of 7 doing the chore), then take him to rent a movie or something else he enjoys doing instead of paying money. I'd suggest it take 2-3 weeks to accumulate enough for this special treat or activity. Then he is working toward something and learning about consistency in doing the chore. So there is a balance between immediate gratification and a longer term goal. 3) You may start out charting some of those simple things that you think your son should just do because he is part of the family but after a couple weeks of satisfactory performance, move on to some of the other chores that you or your husband think he should be paid for. This will start you out on a positive note and build momentum and in no time your son will just be doing some of those things you want him to do now, and you'll be paying for some of the more involved chores (folding laundry, cleaning a particular room, helping with a house project, etc.) As for how much, that depends on a lot of things like your personal budget, what you think is fair, what other parents are doing, etc. We chart 4 different chores for each of our girls and give our 11 year-old $4/week if she does everything as expected and our 5 year-old $2/week (plus the eventual special treat reward after accumulating enough stars). Every kid is different but ours really don't care how much money or treats. They just know we're charting their chores so they pay attention to them and never once have complained about money, etc. And they often use their own money for buying things so it's not like this charting is really costing us much. Some weeks we forget the charts but they are still doing the chores for the most part. I hope this helps. Good luck!
Posted On 2010-06-15 15:54:18
Darlene MacAuley Replied: I've done a bit of research on this over the years when it came to deciding on allowance for my own children. It's going to come down to what you and your husband are comfortable with and what you can agree upon. And you might include your son in the decision making process

In our own family, we've decided that allowance should not be tied to specific chores. However, our children are expected to do a variety of tasks that help keep the household running smoothly, such as setting the table, vacuuming, taking out the trash, unloading the dishwasher, etc. And as they get older, they will get more responsibilities, such as washing their own clothes.

However, there are also tasks we've decided upon that are above and beyond, that we will pay our kids for doing. Washing the car, weeding the garden and giving the dog a bath are three I can think of now. The amount depends on the task, but it's typically not more than a few dollars. We also encourage our kids to ask if we'll pay them for doing certain tasks and make us an offer as to how much, and we'll negotiate with them.

As far as how much for allowances, we pay a dollar for every year of their age. We also expect them to split their allowance between a few things - saving, spending, and charity. However, some parents may choose an amount equal to their current grade, or maybe 50 cents per year.

There's no cut and dry answer, but hopefully this will help you think about what will work for your family.

Good luck!

Posted On 2010-06-07 01:45:00
Luisa Frey Replied: I always have given my two children allowance but not really because of the minimal house duties they do. I mainly give it to them so that they learn to budget their money. If my 8 year old wants the newest fad toys, he has to buy it from his allowance money. That way, he is not always asking me for a few dollars here and there -- instead I'll say "how much is in your piggy bank. Can you afford to buy that?" I find it words well. I have always given my kids one dollar for every grade their in. Thus my 11th grader gets $11 per week and my third grader gets $3.
Posted On 2010-06-06 21:32:06
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