Chores: 3 Answers to the Question – Should Kids Be Paid?

Teen doing chores by mowing lawnAre chores something kids do for free because they are a part of the household, or should they be paid? Let’s divide chores into three groups and look at the question for each category.

Each Person Is Responsible for Personal Chores

That includes being responsible for one’s own messes and maintenance (putting dirty clothes where they belong, taking dishes to the counter or loading them into the dishwasher, hanging up clothes, taking belongings to room, keeping room neat, etc.) There should be no pay for doing these chores.

Everyone Contributes to the Running the Home

All family members gain benefits from living in a home; therefore, all should contribute to its maintenance. Everyone should share in common jobs (cleaning, meal prep and clean up, laundry, yard work, etc.). Some of these chores should be done without pay.

Some Jobs Are Designated as Paid Jobs

If a child or teen does extra chores beyond what is expected of him weekly, those chores can be done for pay. Some parents might respond, “I can’t afford to pay my teen to mow the lawn. He’ll have to do it for free.”

That may be true in some cases, but there are parents who say they can’t afford to pay for extra jobs, and then make expensive purchases such as a gaming system, a new bike, or a computer. From a teaching perspective, it makes more sense to pay the child or teen for extra work and train him or her to save for major purchases.

Benefits of Paying Kids for Big Jobs

There is an advantage to allowing our kids to earn money for some jobs. We have the opportunity to teach our children the responsibilities that go with working for pay. In my next post, I will suggest a way to set that up that benefits both parents and kids.


  1. says

    I like your chore suggestions. It makes it easy to implement when you break it down into those categories. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this: we recently paid our teenager at an hourly rate for academic work done diligently beyond what his regular schooling required,(practicing for the ACT while in middle school, which he otherwise would not have done.) Does this send the wrong message?

  2. says

    I’m not sure if it sends the wrong message. This I do know: Rare is the teen who’d study for the ACT while in middle school. Actually, it’s difficult to get the kids who are taking it in a week to study for it.
    I’d say “Forget what message you are sending in this case and go for it.” The payoff in possible scholarship money is worth it to you if you’re the one who’ll be paying college tuition.
    Consider the dollars you pay your teen an investment in the your future – so you’ll have some money left after he graduates from college.

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