I Pay My Children

i Pay My kids

I Pay My Children

There is a huge debate over the issues of paying children. Do you do allowance? How about paying for some chores? What do you pay for and what are your children responsible for? You pose this question to any parenting group and you will get a multitude of answers. I am going to tell you where we landed on the issue. This doesn’t mean what we are doing is going to (or should) work for you family. It is just what we are going to do (for now).

There is a huge debate over the issues of paying children. Do you do allowance? How about paying for some chores? What do you pay for and what are your children responsible for? You pose this question to any parenting group and you will get a multitude of answers. I am going to tell you where we landed on the issue. This doesn’t mean what we are doing is going to (or should) work for you family. It is just what we are going to do (for now).

One of the issues I see in the farming community is that we often don’t value our labor and time. We work from sunrise to sunset and are excepted to produce a product that is inexpensive. In my mind, that is not fair. If you are producing a quality product that people value, you should be compensated accordingly. There is no reason to feel shame for making a livable wage and supporting your family. Raising food should be no different than a doctor providing services or a carpenter building a house.

So what does this have to do with paying my children?

Last summer I started paying our two boys when they helped me with farm chores. It was up to them if they wanted to play or if they wanted to help. They were six and five years old at the time. They helped feed calves, gather eggs, and wash calf bottles. Sometimes they would help in the milking parlor, by fetching buckets.  I paid them 75 cents per night. Why 75 cents? The main reason is 75 cents is easily divided by three. Our children have three banks. One is for savings, one is for charity, and one is for spending. I felt 30 cents was too little and 3 dollars was too much. Every other combination was too complicated. I needed a wage that was easy to give out and divide in three (75 cents is three easy quarters). 75 cents was also a “fair” wage for the actual amount of work they were doing. I use the term “work” loosely. They were six and five years old. I have realistic expectations.

children collecting eggs on zweber farms

If you are curious about the “hard labor” I have my children do, you can read this past post about Child Labor.

This arrangement has worked well for us through the winter time. This summer we are changing it up a bit. Both the boys want to attend a computer programming camp that is a little bit out of my budget. The deal is they have to do that same work as last year (this year it isn’t a choice) and we will pay for the camp.

As they get older, I see their “wage” going up and the items Tim and I pay for going down. Eventually in their teen years, I want them to be paying for their clothes, spending money, car insurance, cell phone, etc. That is a long ways off.

In addition to helping us on the farm, our children are also expected to help around the house. They have daily chores that they are responsible for. Those I don’t pay them for. Everyone helps to keep the house tidy and in good repair. That is part of being a family. Also, we don’t pay our children for working with their fair animals. If they want to show an animal at the fair, they need to put the hard work in. In return, they get the award money.

fair calves

My ultimate goal is that our children will learn that there are things you have to do because they are a part of life (household chores, etc) and there are things you do well and are compensated for. There is nothing wrong with wanting fair compensation when you produce a product that people value.

How have you handled the allowance or pay issue in your family?

2 thoughts on “I Pay My Children

  1. Sunny

    I believe that school is a child’s main job, so yes, I pay my child for grades. How she manages her time, her persistence, her willingness to problem solve to overcome challenges and difficulties are all formed during the school years and are carried over to whatever her career path she takes. I also pay my child for helping with large, difficult chores around the house such as cleaning the attic, painting a room etc

  2. Andrew Mooers

    Picked potatoes on the Maine family farm and the payment was working together to stay on the patch of dirt. Work ethic and sense of belonging, important to the farm was payment enough and then some!

Thank you for your comments!