The value of chores beyond money

Kids learn valuable life skills by just helping around the house.

By: The Family Money Team


3 minute read

Help your kids discover the value of working

Whether you pay your kids for chores or not, kids learn valuable life skills by performing the tasks of daily living.

Key Points

  • Teach your kids the skills needed to complete chores
  • Help your kids understand time management
  • Motivate your kids through positive reinforcement
  • Keep the conversation moving

Whether or not to pay your children for doing household chores remains a topic of debate. Every family has housework that needs to be done in order to keep the home running smoothly. In order for this to occur, however, family members need to help. But should kids be paid for contributing to family life? Some parents think kids should earn their keep as a member of the family. Others believe that kids should be paid for their efforts since completing work for money is a good lesson about how money is earned.

The decision to pay for chores or not goes far beyond financial lessons. When a child completes an assigned task, they gain a sense of accomplishment. 

Being committed to completing a job takes time and practice. When young children are prompted to put away their toys or set a table, they become used to doing work before they understand it actually works. As they mature, kids realize that everyone performs the tasks of daily living. Chores teach children to be productive, cooperative and valued members of their families. In addition, regularly doing chores builds a strong work ethic and the ability to work as part of a team for a common goal.

However, in the age of robotic vacuums, lots of screen time, and distractions, kids are actually doing fewer chores today than when their parents were growing up. There is a lot of competition out there for the kid's attention. It can be challenging to keep your kids in the moment and their eyes off the screen. As a parent, you need to step up to create the structure to ensure your child has the skills that will help them as they reach adulthood.  

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Make sure your child knows how to do the chore

Before assigning a chore to your child, do the work along with them. For instance, if the job is washing the family car, have your child shadow you and complete the task. Get out the hose, detergent, sponges, and bucket. Ensure they understand what you consider a completed job. Think of it as setting your child up for success and an opportunity to experience a sense of accomplishment. It is a great time to have a conversation with your child about their goals and how they think they can achieve them.

Teach time management

Kids who do chores also learn lessons in time management. When you set a chore make sure you assign it a date or time it must be completed. Kids then know whether they have time to play another game of X box or need to get moving on an upcoming chore. They learn about delayed gratification, how to manage their time, and gain a feeling of a job well done. If a chore is not completed on time, a warning might be helpful to nudge them along. As always, talking to your kids about how they might approach getting chores done on time is a good thing.

Motivation is key

Incentivizing your kids to complete chores is essential. Kids, especially older kids, may procrastinate. However, if parents consistently reward kids for doing their chores on time, children will want to finish their jobs.  If parents choose to pay kids for chores, there is a built in incentive--money. It’s simple, if chores are not done, kids are not paid. Family Money is a great tool that allows parents to set chores for kids. Your child can complete their work, take a snapshot of the completed job, and be paid upon your approval. Being paid for finishing work is one type of positive reinforcement. Verbal encouragement for doing well is another example of positive reinforcement. Remembering to recognize your child for helping, boosts the child’s self esteem and they may wish to help more frequently. Who doesn’t like a pat on the back or hear the words “Good job”?

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