What are some good chores a 10-year-old can do? My daughter wants more allowance, and I've already told her:
-Clean your room
-Wake up early
-Organize your things
-Feed the dog
-Make your bed
-Clean up after your bath
-Fold your clothes
From: Hopee, Forsyth, GA
Wow, that's quite a list; I have nothing to add. In fact, let me try to get you think about this a little differently: That a child gets an allowance because she is a member of the family. No strings attached.
Before you all throw your hands up in horror, here's the counterbalance: She also does chores for the very same reason. Every child is expected to contribute to the family's well-being by performing age-appropriate chores in a predetermined time frame, to a preestablished level of satisfaction and -- and this is important -- with an agreed-upon consequence for failure to do so.
Obviously, there are particulars to be worked out, and they will be different in each family, but in general the amount of the allowance should depend on the needs a child has (bus fare, lunch money), and on what's typical in his friendship group. But allowance happens no matter what, good behavior or bad.
Whether to tie chores to allowance has long been controversial, but I've been convinced of the wisdom of separating them.
We all want our children to learn how to manage money, right? Here's the only way a 10-year-old learns what it means to budget: He stops at the convenience store on the way home from school on Wednesday and spends Thursday and Friday's lunch money on gummy bears. On Thursday morning, when he asks you to bail him out, you shrug, "That was your week's money, honey. You chose to spend it. That was your decision. I guess you could take lunch from home...."
When chores are tied to money, the message kids get is that everything has a price and they tend not to want to do anything around the house unless there's a price tag. (Some seasonal chores -- shoveling, raking, painting, cleaning the basement -- may be "extras," for which you do pay.)
By the way, when a child asks for more allowance, evaluate her expenses together. She may have a legitimate request, especially if you expect her to pay for a movie on her own. Middle schoolers tend to have more opportunities to spend money than third graders. If she has something she wants to buy that's beyond the norm, help her figure out how she can save a certain amount per week. Offer to match or supplement what she can earn.
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