Should You Pay Your Kids to Do Chores?

Dear Sara,

My son is fourteen and, I think, old enough to cut the grass. I am trying to decide which is correct. Should he cut the grass as his contribution to the family or should he be paid to do this? He gets a small allowance on a regular basis so he has some money. I haven’t discussed this with him but it’s time to start cutting grass and I can’t decide which way is right. Help!
-Jim

Dear Jim,

Either way is right but if you really want your son to do this on a regular basis you should probably pay him. Maybe not as much as you would pay a professional but some kind of reward. When kids are small things like making their bed or taking out the garbage should be expected. They may need constant reminders and be reluctant but this is their part in keeping up with the housework. Depending on your yard size cutting the grass is a much bigger undertaking and your son is going to complain if he is not rewarded in some way even if he is a good kid.

You might start out by having your son help you so that he will know what you want and expect. This will be like a training period for him. Kids like to have their own money and it is a good experience for them to have some money to manage.
One of the things that kids need to learn is that hard work brings rewards. Sometimes they can learn from the example their parents set but they can also learn by being rewarded for their own hard work. This isn’t just about your son contributing to the family or not, it’s about teaching him a good work ethic.
-Sara

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