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Coming Up With a Pay Scale for Your Kids' Chores

by Susan Revermann

If you’re looking around the house trying to find some willing household chore helpers, you may or may not find some volunteers. Establishing a pay scale for completed chores may be a way to motivate your children into action. It can also teach them responsibility and how to manage their own money.

Age and Chore List

You’ll need to establish a list of chores for your child to do to earn that allowance. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers the following for age-appropriate chores. Children 2 to 3 years old can put away toys and help set the table. They can also pick up their dirty clothes off the floor and put them in a hamper. Kids ages 4 to 5 can get the mail, help with yard work and feed the household pets. They can also brush their own teeth and clean their rooms without being told. Six- to 7-year-olds can help clear the dinner table and empty the garbage. Ask your 8- to 9-year-old to sweep, mop or load the dishwasher. At 10 and 11 years, children can help cook dinner, mow the lawn and clean rooms of the house. You can, of course, customize the chore list for your household needs.

Pay Rate

Establishing a pay scale for your child’s completed chores doesn’t have to be too tricky. KidsHealth.org suggests multiplying your child’s age by $0.50 to $1 to get the pay scale for your child. For example, if you have a 7-year-old, you can pay him $3.50 to $7 per week for doing a list of chores. You don’t have to stick to this scale if it’s not financially feasible at this time. You could also assign a rate for each chore, since not all chores are the same and your child may be diligent about doing some chores, while forgetting others. You could assign $0.50 for mopping the floor or $1 for an hour of lawn work. If you choose the “per chore” rate, put limits on how often it can be done. You don’t want the dog washed five times per week.

Keep Track

Keep track of the chores that your child completes so you can pay him accordingly. There are several ways to accomplish this. You can make a chore chart on a white board and have him check off the chores or erase them as he goes. You can also write down the chores that you want done for the week and the payment amount on some wooden clothespins. Clamp the clothespins on a cardstock sheet that has “To Do” written on one side and “Completed” on the other. Your child can move the chore clothespin to the completed side as he does them throughout the week. If you want the floor swept twice per week, write “Sweep Floor” on two clothespins. At the end of the week, you can tally up what you owe him according to the chart of completed tasks.

Pay Up

When you are discussing the chores and allowance with your child, establish a pay day. This way it will be consistent and he’ll know when to expect his hard-earned wages. Make sure you pay up on time to be fair.

Photo Credits

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