Opinion & Debate

Published on February 12th, 2015 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Should kids get paid for doing chores?

There is an article in the New York Times today which asks ‘Should kids get paid for chores?’

A financial journalist comments in the piece that children should not be paid for helping out around the house because parents are not financially rewarded for doing so. He says kids should earn their spending money in other ways.

I totally agree – but think there is a bit more as to why kids shouldn’t be paid for housework than simply because their mums and dads aren’t.

As a single parent, the household chores have been known to reduce me to periods of meltdown. I work full time, and for various neurotic and financial reasons cannot have a cleaner. And despite being a bit messy by nature, I HATE clutter and things not being put away.

My 11-year-old is also messy by nature, but does not share my desire for an ordered, clean and tidy home.  But that’s tough.  I believe that for as long as he lives in the house and continues to make far more mess than I do, he should play a part in keeping it in order.

And the same should go for all kids. Children need to know they have a responsibility towards the home they live in; that there are not magic pixies who replenish wardrobes with clean, ironed school uniforms and empty laundry bins of skid-marked pants.  They need to be aware that bed sheets do not wash and change themselves, and that a half pint of Ribena spilt in the hallway isn’t going to be licked up by a unicorn wearing a maid’s outfit.

Housework is not a job of work in the same way stacking the shelves at Tesco is. It’s hardly that taxing or a test of endurance. And kids should not be paid for doing it because it is their DUTY as member of the household to be involved in it.

And frankly, if all parents stood their ground over the sharing of chores, perhaps there would be a few less obnoxious, litter throwing, juice-demanding, plates-left-on-the-table kids around for the rest of us to have to put up with.

Not only does having tasks to do stop children from having that sense of entitlement now, it also puts them in good stead for when they are older, and goes a long way in preventing that awful belief some people have that you can make as much mess as you like if someone else is being paid to clear it up – towels on the floor in hotel rooms, anyone? Dirty plastic coffee cups and half eaten sandwiches left on the train seat?

So no – you shouldn’t be financially rewarding your kids for playing an active part in what is essentially part and parcel of family life. And if you do, more fool you, because where will it end? Slipping them a fiver to go to school? A tenner for behaving nicely in public?  You’re doing nothing more than making a rod for your own back.







About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

One Response to Should kids get paid for doing chores?

  1. Hannah says:

    Our research showed 40% of teenagers would only help out around the house if they were rewarded with either money or treats. Also, 10% of children surveyed expected £10 pocket money a week…thoughts? http://bit.ly/1089NIz

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