Pocket money and chores – It’s the second most popular question we get from parents, just behind ‘How much pocket money should I give?’. Every household has a different approach; ultimately it’s down to what what works for your family. There’s no wrong way to do it, but there are pitfalls you can avoid. We’ve taken a moment to explore the different options in more detail, to help you make your own mind up.
Other big questions we often get on this subject are how to get into a pocket money routine and what some age appropriate chores are, so we’ve tried to cover both those below too.
There’s no short answer. To an extent it’s about what you believe, but you also need to consider what’s going to work for you and your kids. Here’s a quick overview of the general pros and cons.
The main advantage of paying for chores is teaching kids that you have to earn money. It’s a great lesson to prepare children for the real world and can help instil a sense of pride and confidence if they manage to save a lot of money by working for it.
We hear tons of stories of how children appreciate their new toys more, and look after them better, when they feel they’ve really earned them through weeks and weeks of dishwashing or raking leaves in the garden; it’s great to see that sense of accomplishment. Ultimately, if you can make that connection between earning, saving and then spending, that’s a really powerful lesson.
There’s also the undeniable truth that kids respond pretty well to incentives, so dangling the carrot of cash can genuinely help you get the chores done around the house a lot more quickly, and sometimes with a lot less nagging!
The key argument against paying for chores is that kids should do their chores around the house regardless. We as adults don’t get paid to hoover the house, so why should our kids, and it sets unrealistic expectations for later in life. Children should grow up knowing that wherever they live, they need to ‘pull their weight’ and do their bit for the upkeep of the house.
Some people reject the idea of giving children work, almost on principle – we respect that position. With chores, there's also the potential side effect of instilling the idea that you only need to work if you’re being paid. We have heard stories of kids politely declining to take the bins out because they’ve already got enough money and don’t need to earn any more, thank you very much. That's something you might want to avoid.
Also, some believe that the main purpose of pocket money is to give your children experience of managing their own funds. You’re giving your child money each week to offer them hands-on experience of controlling it, learning lessons about not spending it all at once, saving it up for a goal etc.. You might want to avoid adding in chores here, just to keep things simpler.
In our experience, these are the main ways of handling chores and pocket money.
Approach: “Children need to earn their money”
Approach: “I shouldn’t have to pay my children to do their chores”
Approach: Somewhere in the middle
We’ve designed our app to work with whichever system you choose!
We believe in starting young, so children and parents can start building those habits early. Remember, it doesn’t always have to be with money, at the younger ages of 2 and 3 you can start with star charts, and let your kids earn stars that they can put towards rewards. Most kids using NatWest Rooster Money’s app start receiving pocket money between 4 and 7 years old, but it’s really up to the parents. Families with more than one child will often find the younger siblings wanting to catch up with their older brothers and sisters early, so you may see things change when one child starts earning pocket money.
At Rooster Money we are firm believers in the idea that it’s not how much you give, it’s the act of giving it regularly that’s important. Whether it’s 20p or £10 a week, the lessons the children will learn are the same. Having said that, there are certain trends we’ve seen amongst our users, so this table showing the average pocket money per age should be a helpful guide. You can find out more in our Pocket Money Index.
There is also the other approach of ‘paying-per-chore’, in which case you can sit down with your kids and agree a price for each job, enabling them to earn different amounts each week depending on which chores they complete. It’s important they feel involved in the initial process so that they understand why they’re doing what they’re doing and why the value is different.
This is another question we get asked a lot. The answers can be quite varied; we have kids on the app doing everything from sweeping snow off the drive, to waxing surfboards. We’ve pulled together the most common chores per age, to help you get some ideas
Whether you plan on using an online pocket money tracker to help you or not, getting into a chores routine can be difficult at first, but will help your whole family in the long run. Every household is different and you need to design a routine that works for you, but here are some of our top tips to get you started.
Chore routines can actually be fun, and as every parent knows, if it’s fun for the kids, it will make it easier for mums and dads. You’ll be getting jobs done quicker around the house (and maybe even save some time and money), and your children will enjoy earning money while learning some valuable lessons. If you don’t feel it’s working in that way, consider changing up your system to another one of the routines outlined here.
Once you’ve got your pocket money system or chores routine sorted, here are some things you can try to take it to the next level:
Let them have a go – when you’re deciding what chores to give them, don’t assume they can’t do certain things; let them try, and see how they get on. You’ll often be pleasantly surprised at what they can achieve.
Stay organised – there are tools out there that can help with your chore routine (like, ahem, Rooster Money), but there’s no getting around the fact you will need to be organised to make the routine work. The good news is, once you’re in a routine, you won’t look back.
Our app – Rooster Money can help you stay organised with your chores; find out more about our chore tracker herer.
Our chore charts – if you want to start with a good old fashioned printable chart to stick on the fridge, we’ve got a customisable chore chart you can use right here.
And last, but not least – have fun. We hope the pocket money chores list above and other snippets of advice have been useful. If you have any questions, or recommendations on tips to add please get in touch at email@example.com.