Optional Paid Jobs for Happy Workers by Amber Peacock

Amber Peacock wrote the article “Solving the Allowance Dilemma” in our October issue. You’ll have to pick up a print issue to see what she said there; but here, she writes about getting kids to do her household chores!

When I'm cleaning windows...
source: horrigans

I’ve got a secret. I rarely do the dishes, never vacuum, and have not cleaned the upstairs bathroom in years. My children do it—willingly and without being asked!

It started with a simple chart, “Optional Paid Jobs for Happy Workers.” I wanted to instill a healthy work ethic, encourage responsibility, and teach my children how to earn and manage money. I also wanted more help around the house. I made a list of specific household chores that I had been doing, but that I would be willing to pay the children to do. Signing up for a paid job was entirely optional, so I made sure not to list chores that I expected the children to do on their own, such as picking up their toys and putting their dirty clothes in the hamper.

Tips for Success

  1. Start small with jobs you know your children can handle.
  2. Invest time in on-the-job training. It’s amazing what kids can accomplish with specific instruction.
  3. Stay positive. These jobs are optional, so there’s no need to nag. Children will buy into the system when they need money for something important to them.
  4. Start fresh each week. Pay weekly and let your children choose new jobs for the week ahead.
  5. Talk about money management strategies with your child—giving, saving, and planned spending.

Do your kids help with chores around the house? Paid or unpaid?

Amber Peacock, M.S., M.Ed, developed an “Optional Paid Jobs for Happy Workers” chart as an experiment five years ago when her children were 5, 8, and 10. She’s tweaked the job list and pay scale over time, but the system is the same. Her kids love getting to choose their own chores and having control over how much money they earn each week. She loves having help around the house, but says the best part is that her children never ask for money. They’ve learned how to earn and manage their own.

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