Q & A
Hi Friends! I am excited to share that Parker Posts is officially ONE 🧁 Coincidentally, I have written exactly 100 posts. The past year has taught me countless lessons. Thank you so much for accompanying me on this journey. The best part about writing this blog by far has been the texts, emails, comments and conversations in which you have shared that I have succeeded in somehow making your day a little brighter and your life a little easier. I’m not sure where this endeavor will eventually take me, but I look forward to continuing to grow and share my tips on family, food and fashion.
Today, I’m sharing my answer to a question I received recently. As a teacher I have always subscribed to the theory that when one person asks a question, there are several more people thinking it. I hope my answer gives anyone struggling in this area a starting place to find what will work best for their family. Please, write a comment if you have any advice on this topic or another question you would like to see addressed in a future.
Do you have any tips for paying a teenager an allowance or assigning chores?-Jill
Great question! It is one that I grapple with all of the time. To be honest, committing to paying my 12 and 14 year old children a specific amount of money every week overwhelms me because I am the type of person that rarely has cash in my own wallet. It can also be a struggle to remember to assign new chores at the beginning of each week when we have hectic schedules that change on a daily basis. When it comes to chores and allowances I have followed a piece of advice that I came across when they were just babies.
“Don’t start a routine that you can’t stick to regularly”
At the time, the advice was was regarding setting up a nighttime routine. The point was not to read 5 stories, sing a song and kiss every stuffed animal good night if you could not see yourself doing the same drawn out routine in a year. Kids of all ages thrive on routine!
That being said, when it comes to paying your children an allowance and setting up a chore routine, I think its important to ask yourself:
- What is an allowance amount, schedule and payment method that I can commit to providing my children?
- What chores do I feel comfortable relinquishing control of to my children and want to take off my own plate?
- What skills/chores do I most want my children to have mastered by the time they are ready to leave home?
How Our Kids Earn Spending Money
In our home our children earn money making their own lunches (read more about that here) or by asking for an extra chore. This allows my husband and me to avoid making lunches (which we both dislike) or eliminates a bigger chore (dusting the baseboards or wiping down grimy cabinet doors) that I always seem to procrastinate doing. My children mark off each time they make a lunch or do an extra chore on a chart we keep on the fridge. When the chart is filled, they turn it in to get paid. I am able to keep an eye on how close it is to pay day and withdraw money accordingly. If you don’t feel your younger children are old enough to tackle making their own lunch, older children can be compensated for making their younger siblings lunch as well as their own. I notice that if my kids don’t really want money for a specific item or activity, they often forget to fill out their chart. As they get older and have more of a need for money they are becoming more diligent about making sure they get paid for their hard work. Is there a daily task that you dislike and would be willing to pay your teen to complete for you? We have also encouraged our kids to look for ways to earn money outside of our home once they are in middle school. Tweens and teens can earn money as a parent helper, little league umpire, pet sitter and more… My daughter and her friend have found success selling handmade bracelets, necklaces, machine sewn scrunchies and dog bows.
How We Assign Chores to Our Kids
We give each child a new chore for their birthday each year. Many of the years have included tasks that build upon each other related to laundry (you can read more about that here) During the school year the expectation is that they will complete their daily chores (make bed, tidy up after themselves, clear their places, etc…). Over the summer they are given additional daily chores that they need to complete before having any screen time (I included two free printables to help keep track of this here). Write down what your teen is responsible for now and what responsibilities you would like them to take over between now and when they leave home. Come up with a plan to add this responsibilities into their routine.
Here is a list of age appropriate chores we have given our children over the years…
- place toys back in basket (age 1)
- put dirty clothes in hamper (age 2)
- make bed (age 3)
- put clean clothes back in drawer (age 4)
- hang up clean clothes (age 5)
- set/clear table (age 6)
- sort laundry (age 7)
- prepare a simple breakfast and/or lunch (age 8)
- empty dishwasher (age 9)
- empty inside trash bins, take out/ bring in outdoor trash cans (age 10)
- wash clothing according to directions, transfer laundry to dryer and hang delicates (age 11)
- iron (age 12)
I hope this has given you a few ideas on how to best implement ways for your kiddos to both earn money and contribute to your household. Keep me posted on what ends up working best in your home!