So You Want Me To Pay You To Clean Up Your Own Pee?

9:52 AM


I know that right now you are like, "What the heck is she talking about?" Stick with me though, because I promise there is a point and this is not just a caffeine induced rambling. The topic of the day boys and girls is allowance for children. Do you offer up a weekly fee to get your kids to help around the house, or do you simply expect your children to help for free?

Growing up, I always had a list of chores to do. Ever since I can remember, it was always my job to clean the kitchen after dinner. Heck, I still do it every time I go to my mom's for dinner. I also had to feed the animals each day and then on the weekends, my dad would present me with a list of things to do as well. When I was 13, my parents moved to a farm with 15 acres and there was a lot more work to do. From helping to string barbed wire fence, to feeding a whole lot more animals, I always had chores and I never received an allowance for doing them.

So, as a mother, when my children reached the age of 3-4, I started to instill the habit of chores on them. No, I did make them mow the lawn or scrub the floor with a toothbrush. Give me a break, I at least gave them a scrub brush to use. No, at that age, they did little things like pick up dirty clothes, help me throw clothes into the washer, pick up there toys and easy things like that. As a result, when they started getting older, they would actually ask to be able to help more around the house. In fact, at one point they would fight over who got to clean the bathroom (gasp I know)!

I never treated them like my own personal maids, but they knew that there were things that I expected from them, mostly just to clean up the messes that they created. Allowance never crossed my mind. I was never given it and the messes that they were cleaning up were all things they had done on their own. I wasn't making them clean up my stuff.

One day not to long ago, my 10 year old who had heard from friends at school about allowance asked me if I was going to start giving it to him. I looked at him and said "So you want me to pay you to clean up your own pee?" He looked at me like I had just ripped a big one in a room full of people and then he said "Well, when you put it that way, I guess not." That my friends was the beginning and the end of my family's discussion on allowance.

Let me clarify, that I do not think it is wrong to give your kids allowance, just as I don't think you are an evil slave driver if you actually make them clean without handing over cash. That being said, I do allow my children to earn money for things that they do occasionally that go above and beyond normal chores. If they want something, we talk about it and I may or may not buy it for them. We use other times throughout the year to teach the importance of managing money (like my coupon clipping), but we use chores to teach responsibility.

Have a funny allowance story to tell or just want to weigh in about how it works in your house? Feel free to leave your mark below! Want to hear from the other side of things? Stop by Rhea's blog to read how she deals with allowance for children.

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13 comments

  1. I keep a list on the side of the fridge that says "ways to make some extra cash". The list includes: Clean out the fridge, organize the pantry, weeding, vacuum out the car, and more. At first it was a big hit, but it’s starting to get old. My kids have some general chores that they don’t get paid for, but I’m not at all against allowance – I’m just not organized enough to really get it going.

    -Buffi
    My Wonderfully Dysfunctional Blog

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing Buffi! I agree, I have given the boys money for things that they have done that don't fall along the lines of normal chores, but they do not often take advantage of those things.

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  3. Our kids have chores as well. Keep your room cleaned, make your bed, and pick up your toys. Although, we don't give an allowance every month we do allow them something small if they have done their chores without complaining:)

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  4. I gave my kids allowance but it wasn't tied into chores. I felt like they ought to be doing it as part of the family. Now extra things, like cleaning out the garage, etc....that I paid out for.

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  5. My boys are expected to do basic things to help the household. Things like clearing the plates and putting them in the sink, putting away their laundry, dirty clothes in the hamper, etc. We have a jar for each child and another jar full of pirate coins. Each additional chore, like dusting, dishwasher, vacuuming earns coins. Each coin will equal a quarter. So they know if there is something they want they have to do extra chores to save for it! It works for us!

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  6. I never received an allowance growing up, I was just expected to do things or else I wouldn't be allowed to do things (i.e. go out with friends, use the car, etc). I don't really plan to give my daughter an allowance for doing chores, but I do expect her to do chores. Perhaps if she does things above and beyond my expectations she can earn a little money :)

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  7. We tried an allowance system to help teach our son about managing money as well. The amount was enough he could get something small like some candy immediately or he could save and get something bigger, but not extravagant, at the end of the month. He decided he liked not being tied down by the responsibility and not getting paid. At the same time when he gets the gimmes at the store, I say, "Did you do your chores and get your allowance?" It ends the arguments in the stores immediately. We're still working on a system that works better though.

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  8. Growing up, I was an only child (please don't hold that against me) that being said, I was never given an allowance and I wasn't spoiled. If I wanted something, then i needed to pay for all or half of whatever it was. I made extra money babysitting, mostly or walking neighbourhood dogs, but never chores at home.

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  9. well, I thought I would devise a chore list to allow him to earn some month. But I think it lasted about a week.

    I REALLY need to get better at just having them clean up after themselves.

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  10. You ladies are all awesome. Thanks so much for sharing what works in your home!

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  11. My kids are still little, 4.5 and 2.5. They have a smile chart. It is a white board with both of their names on the top and every they do something out of the ordinary they get a smiley face, when they earn 20 smiley faces they get either a candy or to go to the dollar store and pick a toy out. it takes them on average 4-5 days to earn 20 smile faces.

    They each have a basket at the bottom of the stairs where after I wash clothes I put their clothes in their basket and when the basket is full (its a very small basket!) they bring it upstairs and put it away into their drawers.

    Also when I dust they help wipe.

    They are also responsible for cleaning up any toys they take out.

    They get smiley faces for doing extra things like putting their plate in the sink without me asking, or if they see me cleaning offering to help, or mt 4.5 year old gets one for helping his 2.5 year old sister with something.

    I think its great to start young. Other wise you have more on your plate than needed and when they get older it might be harder to get them to help out.

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  12. We never got allowance either growing up. My sisters and brother and I were expected to do certain things. If we wanted to earn other money we pulled weeds for the neighbors, mowed others lawns, shoveled snow for others, babysat for others etc... That's how we made extra money.

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  13. At my house we do both actually. Both of my kids 8 & 11 each have chores to do and additional opportunities to earn extra. My son (8) chose a weekly allowance. He likes money in his pocket but he knows once its gone its gone. While my daughter chose not a weekly allowance but more of an as needed. She likes getting maybe $5.00 to go to a football game or a new book unexpectedly.

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