Thursday, February 3, 2011

To pay or not to pay

Today a friend of mine was over with her kids and we were watching the boys play in the yard.  She looked at my deck and said "wow look at all that snow, I wonder if the deck can handle all of that weight."  Of course being from California these are just not things you think about; shovelling before it ices over, clearing gutters, making sure pipes don't freeze, clearing decks so they don't collapse.  Who knew there was so much to living in New England?  Any who, we decided to put the boys to work clearing the deck, (and secretly making them exhausted so they can let us watch Grey's in peace, yes it's Thursday).  As they shovelled and played and shovelled a little more, a thought popped into my head, "should I pay them for this?" 
Now I know money and kids is a touchy and heated topic with some people firmly taking sides.  Unfortunately for me, I do not know which side of the fence I'm on.  So far, at our house my boys do not get allowance, but they also don't have regular chores.  We have a housekeeper who does the major elbow work and we just tidy up as needed.  When I was a kid I didn't get allowance and I had a ton of chores.  Every Saturday was spent cleaning the house and some weeks included yard work.  I got money for movies or skating when I asked for it if it was available.  My children's life is different.  They don't have to scrub the floors and they are still too young for the mall and movies.  My husband also has no strong opinion either way.  Sooo, do I pay them or not is a tough question for me.  It's work that someone in the family would have to do.  If their father or I did it we would not be rewarded.  No one is responsible for the mess.  It is something they can handle. Hmmm.
I must admit I'm heavily influenced by what I'm reading which happens to be the Little House on the Prairie series.  Back in the 1800s Laura would have shovelled the snow, no problem.  I think I'm going to take a page out of Ma and Pa's book and not pay them, but give them a warm cup of hot cocoa when they are done.  Yes I am choosing to reward them, but its not money, just showing I appreciate their contribution to the family.  I hope in the long run I'm adding to their character by choosing not to add to their wallet.
I'm still on the fence about allowances.  Honestly, I want them to figure out how to earn their own money, but I 'll cross that bridge when I come to it.


  1. Sounds like a wise decision. Everyone is doing their part for the greater good of the family. If they do it for the greater good of someone else's family, then by-all-means, the other family should compensate.
    But in the case of your own family, they are simply contributing to the good condition of the family unit. Their good deeds will come back to them in multiples... Amen/Ashe (I'm sure the time & money Mom & Dad don't have to spend on a broken deck will inevitably be spent on THEM!)
    Long live the Hailes!

  2. a little chores never hurt anyone, i think that chilren need to learn ethics of work because it really does make them feel good when they help out as well as responsible. yes they should be rewarded, BUT, (and i say that because)the rewards does not have to be money,WHY? because you want responsible children who respect their surroundings such as clean house inside and out,(yes this means even cleaning their own room)when they EXPECT to get money for doing chores, can we really say that they RESPECT a clean living environment? it is important that every child feel good about themselves and since they want to help, WHY NOT encourage them to share chores and discuss how we as parent appreciate them sharing in chores, this validates them as important something POSITIVE will occur as result. let them ANTICIPATE your positive reaffirmation..............and some bonding time with something they would like to do as you want them to repeat SHARING a rap, give children money just because you love them, not because they helped with chores,help them to appreciate the VALUE of a dollar by showing them what the result of hard work does bring..............priceless !!11