Kids and Chores

We’re of the firm belief that it’s important to teach kids — while they’re kids — about how the real world works. In the real world, people just don’t give you money for nothing. You have to earn it.

So we don’t give our kids a free monthly allowance. They get paid upon completing their chores, some of which are mandatory and some of which are optional. We don’t have a minimum or maximum amount they can earn. If they do more of their chores, they get paid more. If they don’t do anything, they don’t make any money that week. They are also responsible for keeping track by checking off a weekly list on the fridge after completing a task. If they forget to note it, they lose out. Pretty simple system, based entirely on them being responsible for themselves, taking initiative to do things that need to be done, and earning their own income.


When I was a kid, my chores included taking out the trash, making my own lunch for school, and cleaning up the dog’s poop in the backyard. My kids’ chores aren’t much different…

Daughter, 6th grade:
• Set the table for dinner (daily)
• Feed Daisy (alternating days with her brother)
• Help with dinner (optional)
• Laundry (fold and put up your own clothes)
• Empty the dishwasher (optional)
• Empty trash (as needed, at least once a week)
• Miscellaneous cleaning (optional, as needed or assigned)
• Practice piano (daily)

Son, 3rd grade:
• Make bed (daily)
• Clear the table after dinner (daily)
• Feed Daisy (alternating days with his sister)
• Help clean garage/patio (optional)
• Laundry (fold and put up your own clothes)
• Empty the dishwasher (optional)
• Empty trash (as needed, at least once a week)
• Miscellaneous cleaning (optional, as needed or assigned)
• Practice piano (daily)


These chore charts change occasionally. There are some chores — like my son’s “Make the bed” — that are really just expected behaviors. We introduce the behavior first by making it a chore. Once it becomes a habit, we remove it from the chore chart but expect the kid to continue doing it. Stuff like brush your teeth or take your plate to the sink after dinner started as chores but are now things we expect them to do and won’t pay them for. The kids are aware of this arrangement and don’t complain when we remove things from the list. (And when we remove something, we always replace it with another money-making option.)

Anyway, that’s how we roll. What about you? How do you handle chores and/or allowance for kids? And what kinds of things are on your kids’ charts?

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posted October 5, 2011 at 11:35 am

I like your idea about moving things from the list…right now I have homework on my daughters chart (she’s 7) because I am trying to make sure she understands that it is a daily chore that she should never complain about. If she complains about doing it, then she misses out on her chore completion for the day. I made a chart and I’m starting to think my rules are a little too firm for a 7 year old. haha. I wrote a blog post about it too –

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posted September 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

Hi, My kids are 10 and 12 and have no weekly chores. I ask them if they want to help, and I try to meet a yes or no equal. I noticed that there are days when they do not want to help at all, which does make me feel uneasy, wondering if I made the right choice BUT then there are days when they just do everything without even me asking, preparing a table, breakfast, carrying all the groceries, folding their clothings with such care…
I just want this helping to come from the inside, an intrinsic motivation, of them wanting to help because they want to help, not because they get something out of it. It makes the helping so much sweeter and a pure delight to watch because I know they do it because they want to contribute to my well being.

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Tor Constantino, MBA

posted September 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Jason, that’s a great format! My wife and I have had a lot of lip service around the idea of chores/allowance, but haven’t taken any action. I may have to steal…er…I mean, borrow some of the concepts you’ve listed!

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posted September 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm

My kids are 4 and 6 so we haven’t started the allowance thing yet. But I use a chart (seen in the link) that has some things they are expected to do every day (like shower, brush teeth, take care of their dishes) and then one or two chores that change (like put away clothes, or sweep under your chair). Right now the “reward” for doing your chores is a star. But I’ve thought about tying the chores to a allowance system. I really enjoyed reading how your family handles it. Thanks for sharing!

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posted September 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I’m of the opinion that kids shouldn’t get paid for the things that they should be doing out of responsibility, that is, the around the house jobs. It’s the over and above stuff that gets money.

To me, giving money for things that should be done anyway sets a bad precedent.

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Vauvan Nenä

posted September 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Nice tasks for your children, it;s very good to do this, because when they grow ups they will be more responsibles with what they’re gonna do, job, family and so on, nice post. Best regards !

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