I’ve written before about children doing chores around the house, but the subject has taken on a whole new light recently.
As the mother of an increasingly independent 13-year-old, I’ve found my hand delving into my pocket at a mind-boggling rate so she can have some money when she goes out to meet friends.
It’s a couple of quid here and there, not huge amounts, but it started to add up.
So when there was an expectation that I’d just fork out every time she wanted to go out to the park with her mates and then pop to the shop for a drink and a packet of crisps, I put on the brakes.
(This coincided with a request for an £87 squad leotard and a £75 tracksuit for gymnastics.)
The deal was this: if you want money, you will have to earn it.
The resistance was huge, of course.
How could she get a job at 13, she opined. The likelihood of her being able to earn a few quid sweeping the floor at a hairdressing salon for a couple of hours a week was scant. A paper round was pretty much out of the question (and I’d end up doing it, no doubt).
The simplest solution – and the best one for me – is for her to earn pocket money by helping us out with household chores. Vacuum the carpets, cleaning the kitchen or bathroom – all this takes time and it’s something I’d appreciate hugely.
Some of my friends already do this: one pays her daughter to do the ironing; another pays if she cleans or tidies the house. Another has a paper round, while one earns his pin money by helping out his Sensei to teach little ones karate. None pays their teens to tidy their own bedrooms; the expectation is that they should do this anyway (hah!).
It’s all about appreciating the value of money; being responsible and sharing the burden.
Next step is to agree a list of payment for chores. We may need Acas to step in …
Do you pay your teen to help around the house? Or did they get a job at 13 (subject to the restrictions for that age group, of course)?