Kids, Chores and Rewards ... Oh My!

Two young children doing dishes in the kitchen

With updated kid chore charts on the website, I began thinking about my own 11-year-old son, and if he should be responsible for helping more around the house. This started a trip down memory lane and I realized, I’m saying the same things to the kiddo that my folks used to say to me!

Sayings become cliché for a reason — because they are true! My son has it made compared to the Saturday cleaning sessions I completed before being allowed to turn on my beloved cartoons. Clothes were washed and hung, beds made and every inch of flooring was vacuumed or swept. My dramatic father loved to call out, “stand by your bunk for inspection,” for the effect. We lived on an 11-acre horse farm, where sticks were picked up, hay was baled each summer and frozen water buckets were carried between the house and barn throughout the winter. The stalls had to be shoveled every few days into heaping wheel barrels through every weather condition possible.

Blue kids chore chart

The memories sent me straight to the computer to print a blank, blue chart where I quickly filled the available eight lines with the following tasks:

  • Clean the guest bathroom
  • Change your bed sheets
  • Take the recycling bin out
  • Dust the living room mantle and end tables
  • Vacuum the game room
  • Put away your clean laundry
  • Take your multivitamin
  • Eat two pieces of fruit a day

Many kids today are more scheduled with sports, activities and homework than they were 28 years ago when I was in my son’s shoes. That may be the reason I didn’t expect much help from him around the house until this awakening, and then I realized that I’m usually the one taking him to these activities and sitting in bleachers or a lawn chair after working a full day.

As a final gut check about whether adding To Do list items would help my son build a sense of responsibility, I consulted the all-knowing Google and found age-appropriate chores by age on WebMD and the average American child’s allowance according to the American Institute of CPAs. I found his chore list was completely within reason and I’m hoping he never finds out that the accountants reported that kids earned $65 per month or $780 a year in 2012!

As my cleaning list gets shorter and my son’s becomes official, I’m still searching for the happy medium between work completed and the reward to be earned. What is your opinion on paying allowance?

Shelley Blaszak is the Communications & PR Manager for Molly Maid, Inc., where she has managed internal publications and the national public relations program for nearly five years. She and her husband John are the proud parents of 11-year-old Lance, who keeps them busy with travel baseball, travel basketball and tackle football practices and games year round! For media inquiries or cleaning tips for your publication, send us an email at [email protected].