In parenting, each family has its unique approach. One common area is teaching kids about money—how to earn, save, and spend it wisely.
We may teach them that they have to earn money by doing work, such as their chores. However, a UK-based parenting expert has shut down this idea and instead believes in employing this strategy: giving her children an allowance regardless of whether they’ve performed chores.
Don’t Ask Children To Earn Money By Doing Chores
Kirsty Ketley, a respected parenting expert known as Auntie K, believes that we shouldn’t ask our children to earn money by doing chores. The mother of two, Ella, 10, and Leo, 6, has been practicing this unique approach in her own household.
Each week, Ketley gives her children a set allowance: a modest sum of £2 ($2.55), no matter if they’ve done any house chores or not.
On paper, this may make no sense to some parents. However, for Auntie K, that doesn’t mean her household is a free-for-all. In fact, there’s a clear expectation that both children contribute to maintaining their home.
“The kids don’t get money for chores; we just expect them to muck in. But they have to stick to our family rules and boundaries”, Ketley explained.
Ketley’s philosophy is rooted in teaching her children about the value of money and cultivating good financial habits from an early age. Also, she believes that it can be achieved without tying the learning process directly to chores.
What Makes Auntie K’s system work?
Ketley’s system is pretty simple. Children can save their allowances from a young age and spend them on whatever they desire. Within reason, of course.
The two children save up their money to buy toys, clothes, accessories, books, magazines, or anything else they may be interested in.
This hands-on experience with money has given Ella and Leo a practical understanding of the cost of items. As a result, they now think twice before making frivolous purchases.
“Often they decide they don’t want whatever they have asked for at that moment,” Ketley observes, pointing out an interesting result of her strategy.
Behaving And Following House Rules
The part about money and responsibility sounds good. But… what about household chores?
Well, Ketley’s kids are still required to do them, irrespective of their weekly money. For her, this reinforces the idea that the allowance is not a payment for these tasks. Instead, it’s a tool for learning money management.
“The kids’ rooms are their responsibility, so they are in charge of keeping them clean and tidy,” said Ketley. “Both will dust, hoover, tidy, and put clothes away.”
Mixed reactions about Ketley’s method
Of course, removing the rewarding part of doing tasks (like household chores) sounds off for many parents. And the comments received in an article featured in The Daily Mirror about Ketley’s method are proof of that.
“The reason kids are little snots nowadays is because of parenting specialists,” says one of the comments.
“So just being a normal parent now qualifies you as being a ‘specialist’… Strange story,” added another user.
Also, another comment pointed out an apparent lack of sense of Ketley’s approach: “Doesn’t give pocket money for chores but expects them to muck in, isn’t that chores?”
Give What You Can Afford
Ketley’s approach indeed might initially seem unorthodox, but it’s also clear that it’s a system that works for her family. However, she admits that determining the right amount of pocket money to give the kids can be challenging.
“You can only give what you can afford, and it’s important that kids understand that but also give what they need,” she said.
This parenting approach may sound different, but it is certainly worth pondering. It separates the traditional link between work and reward, aiming to foster a sense of responsibility in children while teaching them the value of money.
So, asking children to earn money by doing chores is wrong? Maybe the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Instead, it is an invitation to reflect on what we hope to teach our children through these practices.
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.