By Lucas Wadleigh
This topic comes up in many households with children: Should kids be paid for chores? While each family should decide what is best for them, there are some thoughts and things to consider when deciding what is best for your kids. I believe kids should not be paid for completing chores around the house for three main reasons: first, it teaches kids internal motivation; second, chores should be part of a family duty; and third, paying kids for chores may lead them to expect payment for other good things they do.
There are sources that back up the idea that kids should not be paid for chores because internal motivation is a better lesson for kids than external motivation. According to moneyprodigy.com, “When you reward a child (or anyone) with money, chore bucks, stickers or something else, it is an external form of motivation.” When kids are motivated externally, then doing chores could become only about their own personal gain of money or new toys.
The website goes on to explain that internal motivation helps kids understand what it feels like to grow up doing the right thing just because it is the right thing to do. Another article at huffpost.com further explains that, “Some kids see chores as a way to make money (external motivation), others see it as a way to help the family (internal motivation).” For example, when kids are motivated internally to help tidy up their play area or bedroom, they feel satisfaction because they have helped the family by cleaning up.
Secondly, I believe it is important for kids to contribute to household duties because they are part of a family, and a family is a team. The authors at rockethq.com said, “An allowance may undermine the importance of contributing to your family.” In a family, people rely on each other, so their lives together function well. According to moneyprodigy.com, chores demonstrate the contribution each person should make as a family member, and it shows respect to parents when they help clean and tidy the house. Everyone should pitch in to do chores around the house because they are part of a family team. Kids benefit when they see that chores are part of what it means to be in a family.??
The final reason that led me to suggest that it is better not to pay kids for chores is because if they get paid for chores, then they may expect to get paid for many other things they do as well. The author of moneyprodigy.com said, “If kids get a reward for a certain behavior then they no longer want to give good behavior out for free…” Over time, kids may begin to expect money or toys for positive behavior or good grades, as well as for helping around the house.
Couponchief.com said, “Many parents oppose paying kids for chores because they don’t want their child to expect to get paid for every request.” It is helpful to learn good life skills early: you won’t get paid for everything you do (even if it is something you don’t want to do). In support of this, moms.com noted that if kids get paid for chores then “kids will believe everything is a job and deserves to get paid for.” It goes on to say that in the long run teaching kids to help without getting paid will give them big hearts, and a greater interest in giving back to their community as adults.
Opponents may argue that kids should get paid for chores because they want their kids to learn the connection between work and money. In fact, couponchief.com says directly that “Work=Money” and some parents want kids to make that connection when they are young. I believe that kids can still make this connection. Kids who don’t get paid for chores will have an incentive to come up with creative ways to make money. They will be more likely to find other ways to make money like starting a small business that offers a service or setting up a stand that offers a food item or a craft they have made. The same website also states, “Some parents worry that if they pay their kids to do chores their kids won’t be entrepreneurial, and kids have some of the best, most inspiring ideas. They can start any business imaginable.” Kids CAN start amazing businesses, whether they get paid for chores or not. But, if they are already getting paid to do chores, would they be as interested in trying something new??
But the question each parent most needs to consider is, “what do you think is best for your child?”
Lucas Wadleigh is a fifth grader at McGaugh Elementary School. He enjoys baseball, writing fiction and non-fiction and going to Main Street with his friends. He has a twin sister, named Skylar.