“Work-For-Pay” is just that; your child will perform certain chores to earn money (via allowance). These allowance chores are over and above what is expected of your child as a “Citizen-of-the-Household.” (See the “Citizen-of-the-Household” activity and chart for more information.)

Here is a sample list of age-appropriate Work-For-Pay chores:

  • Bring in mail
  • Clean the table
  • Collect clothes and bring to the washing machine
  • Dust a room
  • Feed your pets
  • Gather newspapers and bundle for recycling
  • Load dishwasher
  • Rake leaves
  • Separate whites and colors
  • Set the table (leaving off knives)
  • Sweep a room/walkway
  • Vacuum a room
  • Water plants

To avoid falling into a sexist trap, by assigning garbage duty to the boys and dusting to the girls, rotate chores each week. Remember, you are not only empowering your children to earn their own money, but your children are also learning the life skills that make a household run.

Instructions for Work-for-Pay chores:

  1. Download the “Work-for-Pay” chart
  2. Print a chart for each child
  3. Assign weekly chores (or jobs) to each child
  4. Choose one day per week to be “Pay Day” (For instance, I like Friday.)
  5. Review to see that the chore was done and how well it was completed
  6. Disburse an allowance to each of your children

Make sure you have the proper change on hand, so the children can divide their money into their appropriate budget jars (as part of the Work-for-Pay Allowance System).

No Work, No Pay:

The phrase above is one of the household values your children should understand from an early age. In the real world, you can’t do half your job and expect your employer to pay half your salary.

You’re not going to let your younger kids “sink or swim.” For them, it’s positive reinforcement. So, do the chores with them, let them check-off each job after it’s completed, and put a sticker on the chart to show, “Chore Well Done!” For the older children, it’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out.” Remind them to complete their chores only three times a week. If they don’t perform the chores or don’t do them properly, it’s “NO WORK, NO PAY.”

How Much Do I Give Each Child?

The days of 5¢ sodas and 50¢ allowances are gone. If you pay your children too little, you are telling them that their work has no value and you’ll take away their incentive to work.

I suggest that you pay your child their age in a weekly allowance – a four-year-old earns $4.00 a week, a ten-year-old earns $10.00. I’m sure you’re gasping for air right now because this seems like a large amount. (When I was a kid, I tried to convince my parents to pay me my weight each week. It didn’t fly.)

The recommended allowance is not a significant amount when you see your children learning to budget, save, and spend their money. Very soon, your children will understand that indeed, “MONEY DOESN’T GROW ON TREES.”