The Effect of Giving Allowance to Children for Routine Chores

Many parents skip allowance because they feel that children should contribute to the household without compensation. Other parents feel that an allowance makes it more likely that their kids will do their chores. There are both pros and cons to giving your kids money for helping out around the house, and the decision is a personal one. If you decide to give it a try, children as young as three are ready to take it seriously, according to

Fiscal Understanding

You can't expect your child to learn anything about managing her money if she never has any. Setting up a compensation system for chores gives her some cash so she is able to learn the basics of budgeting, saving and sharing. Even very young kids can understand that if they earn a couple of bucks each week, it will take three or four weeks to save up enough to buy a small toy. Receiving an allowance also gives her the chance to share small portions of her earnings at church or through a charity.


If giving your child an allowance hinges on whether or not he finishes his chores, he'll learn that skipping them doesn't pay. If allowance is a given, some kids won't have the motivation to get their work done. If the allowance is like a paycheck, your kids may be more willing to take out the trash and make their beds. This also sets the tone for a good work ethic when your children get their first jobs.

The Value of a Dollar

Having money of their own teaches kids an important lesson about the value of the things they want. If you give in and buy your children small toys or candy bars when you go to the store, they won't understand how much those things are worth. However, if they know that race car or roll of mints requires them to clear the dinner dishes two times, they'll begin to link their hard work with what they can get for it. This is also a valuable way to help kids make good buying choices. That candy bar might not be worth it anymore if they have to use their own hard-earned cash to buy it.


While there are good points to paying your child an allowance for routine chores, some things aren't so good. If you get lax about enforcing the work required to get the money, your child may get into the habit of letting his responsibilities slide. Additionally, as children get older and get their own part-time jobs, such as:

  • mowing the neighbor's lawn or babysitting
  • they might have less of a need to rely on an allowance
  • which means you might be left doing their chores for them because they don't need your money anymore
  • no longer feel a need to contribute to earn that money 2

Some kids might also get into the mind-set that they should get cash every time you ask them to help you out.