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Teaching Kids Life Lessons Through Household Chores

Teaching Kids Life Lessons Through Household Chores

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happy  householder child boy in laundry   with washing machine

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One of our many roles as parents is to teach our children the value of work and money. A fundamental question most parents face is, should a monetary allowance be linked to jobs or chores being done around the house? Although many grow up believing that allowances are a healthy reward for children’s chores, it might surprise you to learn that many experts disagree.

Connecting an allowance to performing certain household duties may teach kids there’s always a reward. Instead, it’s important for children to learn that certain responsibilities must be completed in order to help the family.

Instead, experts suggest emphasizing to your children their role in support of the family. That role might be taking out the trash, keeping their rooms tidy, picking up their clothes or tending to any tasks that are expected just by being part of the family.

That’s not to say children can never earn money for certain jobs. Important lessons for any child include that money is earned through hard work and that he or she should manage that money wisely.

By creating a list of paid jobs that can be done, beyond expected household tasks, kids can learn about managing money and saving for the things they want. Only pay for the completed jobs, not a set amount regardless. Start small. As your child gets older, increase the family support duties while also increasing the number and size of jobs that can earn money. To take it a step further, you could even reward your children for saving the money they earn rather than letting it burn a hole in their pockets – thus teaching the concept of interest.

By avoiding the direct link between family duties and financial reward, you are well on your way to teaching money management and valuable lessons about first being part of a family and then a community. 

For more information, or to find a pediatrician, visit mercy.net/laduenews.

Dr. Joseph Kahn is president of Mercy Kids (mercykids.org), an expansive network of pediatric care dedicated to meeting the needs of every child, every day.

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