In many households, chores equal cash.
That’s the wrong approach, says Beth Kobliner, a mother of three and the author of the new book “Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not): A Parents’ Guide for Kids 3 to 23.”
In a recent Facebook Live interview with Business Insider, Kobliner strongly advised against paying your kids for household chores.
“That’s a big one that parents are always surprised at,” she said. “But research has shown that if a kid has chores, that’s a great thing for family responsibility and it’s actually one predictor of how you’ll do in a career or whether you’ll graduate from school.”
But when it’s tied to money, she continued, “it confuses the issue” for kids.
“[H]aving chores is a great thing — you’re a team player,” she said, but there’s no benefit to rewarding your kids with money for tasks like clearing the dinner table, taking out the trash, walking the dog, or making their bed.
“Unless you’re willing to negotiate each time you want your kid to empty the dishwasher or put his clothes in the hamper, steer clear of systems that pay per chore,” she writes in her book.
However, Kobliner writes, it’s OK to pay for extra jobs around the house. If your kids are looking for some spending money, commission them for a job that you’d otherwise hire someone else to do, like keeping the yard manicured, or cleaning out the overflow in the attic and letting them sell what they find.
“In fact, if you’re clever,” Kobliner writes, “you can use your kid’s desire for cash as a force for good. Put her in charge of saving energy around the house (turning off lights, unplugging chargers, monitoring the thermostat), and offer a portion of the difference between your fat and lean utility bills.”
It’s also fine to give your kids a set allowance unrelated to chores, she says, whether it’s monthly or weekly. Just ensure you’re being clear and consistent with how much — and to which kids — you give.