Abigail Van Buren said, “If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” Be sure to set aside plenty of time to discuss what is going well with your household, what needs improving, and what needs to be made fairer in regard to home duties. Let all kids have a say, not just the older ones. Have a family bulletin board with a list of chores for all your children.
To Pay or Not to Pay
Many experts say that paying a girl for her chores amounts to “bribing” her. She should be encouraged to pitch in without getting an allowance. Parents do not get an allowance for running the household, so why should children? Other experts say you should teach children the value of money from early on and giving them an allowance and tying it to their chores is the best way to go.
Perhaps the finest way is a compromise. For the routine making of beds and keeping her room straight, no money needs to change hands. For other chores, you could give an allowance. That means you have to stay on top of what your daughter does and check up on her chores. Then once a week — for instance, on Saturday morning — have a “pay day.” If she completes her work, she gets the full amount of her allowance; if not, no allowance.
You might consider giving your girl one dollar a week for each year of her age, as many parents do these days. Each birthday she automatically gets a raise and has something to look forward to as she gets older.
This system of household management equates children with employees. Very few employees do a good job without getting paid. Very few students would study for a test if there were no grading system and report cards. So just as in school students do some things routinely — such as lining up, attending class, and remaining quiet unless told to speak up — children should have a few basic chores as a matter of course. For bigger chores, an allowance tie-in can work well (more about your daughter and money matters in the next section).
However you handle the chore wars at your house, the decision is yours, as long as you make sure your daughter has a few jobs around the house.