As I look through parenting posts on social media, I often find a common question raised about chores and money. It usually goes something along the lines of this. "I paid my child to do this chore and then they didn't do it..." or "How much should I pay my kid for ___________ chore". There are usually hundreds of posts with parents giving all kinds of interesting...good and wacky advice. Here are a couple thoughts on this chore thing.
1. What the goal?
People often refer to doing chores as what you do when you are part of a family. While I agree on the idea of this initially, If you think simply about that statement it means being in a family can be miserable and lonely. Chores are hard at times and no one often wants to help you. If your goal is to simply have someone do it because you are part of the family then I think you are missing an opportunity. It's an opportunity to work alongside your child doing this thing they often dislike. It's an opportunity to have a conversation with them to make the chore go by more quickly. It's an opportunity to model how to do the chore correctly. I would suggest you as the parent, not view the chore as "just because you're part of a family", view it as an opportunity to interact with your kid in a unique and different way.
2. Should I pay for chores?
Generally speaking NO. When you pay for something it instantly becomes a commodity. Let's define terms. A commodity is defined as "something that can be bought or sold". The instant you pay for a regular chore...taking garbage out...cleaning room...making bed...etc. It becomes something that can be bought or sold. You DO NOT want that. Kids are smart. How this plays out is they then will decide if that chore is worth the money being paid for it. Most times it won't be and then you will be left frustrated with your kid. In the "real world" when we work we generally get paid for it. It's the same kind of thinking. If you teach your kid that chores are attached to money, don't be surprised when they attempt to negotiate with you.
3. Should I pay for anything?
Tasks around the house that are above and beyond the level of chores are the things that you should consider compensating for. These would be things like cutting up wood...watching a sibling...deep cleaning a garage. It will depend on where you live and the type of lifestyle you have. When you do determine that you are going to pay something, don't pay until the job is done. While that seems to go without saying, some kids are great negotiators and some parents are pushovers.
4. Be consistent and fair
It can be easy to overwhelm your child with tasks. Make sure that whatever you ask is age appropriate. Asking a 5 year old to clean out the garage is not reasonable. That is especially true if they have never done it before! Your job as a parent is to teach. If you don't do that and have unreasonable expectations you are setting your relationship up for a fall in the future. Make sure in this chore making process you are fair. You may in the moment have a child you prefer. It can be easy to let this child get the "easier" chore. Your other kids will see this and be resentful. It may be useful to change chores up every 4 months. This will always depend on the type of living environment you have.
Being a parent can be overwhelming. Getting creative around chores can be tiring. Being consistent around chores is key. Ultimately, if you have an effective plan going in, this chore thing can be managed. You WILL hear grumbles and upset. That is to be expected...these are kids after all.