How to introduce your kids to the idea of earning money through chores

Getting your kids to do their chores may be easier if you offer an incentive, like paying them pocket money on completed chores.

Psychologists refer to the ‘incentive theory of motivation’, which suggests that humans respond more strongly to external incentives than internal motivators. These incentives can be in the form of rewards or punishment.

For example, you could use this approach in two ways with your kids:

  1. Remove their phone privileges for a week if they do not finish their chores (punishment).

  2. Assign a dollar amount to every chore they are required to complete (reward).

Using punishment could motivate them because they don’t want to forfeit screen time. However, offering a reward may achieve better results because it’s based on positive reinforcement. In exchange for completing chores, they receive money, which for most kids is exciting. Plus, they learn a vital life lesson – that money must be earned.

So, how do you introduce the idea of earning money by doing chores to your kids?

1. Explain that household chores are a normal family activity

Before introducing money into the picture, give your child some context. You could explain that a home requires regular cleaning and that everyone in the family works together to keep it clean. You’re establishing that chores are required, even if no monetary compensation is attached to it. It’s about teamwork, with every member of the family chipping in.

2. Establish daily chores for no payment

To reinforce the above concept, identify certain minor chores your child can tackle that are unpaid. These are chores that will instil certain daily habits in your children, such as:

  • making their bed in the morning

  • placing their dirty clothing into the laundry basket

  • putting their dirty dishes into the dishwasher after eating

  • packing their toys away before bedtime

These tasks are simple, quick to execute and help keep the home tidy.

3.  Set up a hybrid allowance structure

Some parents support chore-based pocket money as it helps lay a financial foundation, while others feel children should contribute to the home without being coerced. Both points of view are valid, and you can apply both with a hybrid allowance structure that includes paid and unpaid pocket money.

One portion of your child’s pocket money would not be linked to chores and would not be withheld if they didn’t complete chores.

The second portion would be allocated to chores that may require more effort or take more time. For example, doing the dishes, bathing the dog or folding laundry. Remember to keep chores age-appropriate. Younger children can perform simpler tasks like filling the cat’s water bowl or setting the table for dinner.

Draw up a chore schedule with deadlines and a payment value. Let your kids pick the ones they want to do. This is an opportunity for children to learn how to negotiate with their siblings on tasks they prefer to complete.

It’s also an opportunity for them to earn extra pocket money. Suppose one child wants to save up for a new computer game. They can choose the chores that pay more or take on additional chores to reach their saving goal faster.

FLX helps your kids manage their pocket money

FLX is a finance app that comes with a prepaid card for children aged 5-18 that you can pay their allowance to. On the FLX app, they’ll see how much they’ve earned and can choose to spend or save their money. It’s an excellent tool for kids to learn money management skills.

You can learn more about FLX here. To sign up, fill in this short registration form.


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