Author Topic: Paying Kids for "Above and Beyond" Tasks  (Read 9713 times)


  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28523
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Paying Kids for "Above and Beyond" Tasks
« on: February 22, 2012, 10:51:18 AM »
Yesterday Trent posted an interesting article at The Simple Dollar titled "Chores, Allowance, and “Above and Beyond” Tasks"

In it, he decides not to reward his son for helping out with an extra household chore (shoveling the driveway) beyond his normal chores, which are also not linked to his allowance.

I agree with not having chores linked to allowance, personally (though we could debate that here too), but I'm curious on others thoughts on rewarding the son or not for the above and beyond task.  I'm torn.  Read the article, and see what you think.

I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Mississauga, Ontario
    • Progressive Simplicity
Re: Paying Kids for "Above and Beyond" Tasks
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 01:19:41 PM »
Wow, those article comments are crazy. Wonder why Trent allows them to take so much away from what he wrote?

I have 2 girls who are just getting used to the idea of an 'allowance'. We took a run at it about a year ago and it did not stick. Personally, if I ask one of them to go 'above and beyond' the call of their regular chores, I usually lay out a small incentive to get them going. In the snow shoveling example, I might say let's hurry up and get the snow shoveled so we can go in and have a hot chocolate with extra marshmallows. They are still young enough to be swayed by something immediately tangible rather than the lure of cash.

I see Trent's point however I'm sure I will be the type of dad to reward extra chores with extra incentives as more and more are added to the weekly list (as they get older). Small incentives in line with the chore being done.


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 368
Re: Paying Kids for "Above and Beyond" Tasks
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 06:34:16 AM »
Although both camps of extremes have great points, based on my experiences growing up, I think they're over-thinking it. It seems no matter how you choose to teach money through allowances, it will be successful for one kid an a failure for another kid.
My parents did a hybrid approach. We got an allowance to teach us money management. We were required to do chores. When we chose to disobey and not do them, allowance was taken away. For me, that worked. I rarely slacked because I wanted my allowance. The money meant nothing to my younger brother and he got away with doing almost nothing. Once a month or so, my mom would prepare a special list of above and beyond chores that we could earn extra money from(and that was $.05-50 per chore). I was pretty much the only kid of the five of us that regularly used that list. My parents' system was successful for me but failed some of my siblings.
My husband never got an allowance, was never required to do chores and was not given an opportunity to earn extra money. He learned little if anything about money management and running a household. He did figure out by 15 that he wanted money to spend and thus got a job and has worked ever since. So my in-laws system was part success and part failure.
Based on my experiences growing up, I decided to allot the kids a pittance very similar to the author of the article. I don't like dealing with $.50 increments so I devised a tiered, full dollar system:age 0-1 $1 a week, 2-3 $2 week, 4-5 $3 week, and so on until they reach 14. At 14 they would start to receive a regular spending and clothing allowance shifting all responsibility for their attire(the laundry too!)from me to them. My parents did this and it was effective for all of us. We learned how to stretch our dollars and to love thrift stores. I will offer a list of extra chores for extra money but probably not more than $2 an hour for whatever extra jobs need doing.
In the article, shoveling snow was an urgent chore that created a bonding experience between father and son. I wouldn't have considered that above and beyond. Kids are usually only too eager to do anything with a parent if it means one on one time. It takes  self-disciple and motivation for a kid to look at a chore list, choose to do that over playing and to follow through on their own. I feel that that kind of initiative and independence is worth being paid for. Those are valuable life skills.
One of the biggest factors in any allowance scheme is explaining to your kids why you have it set up the way you do. People, and especially children, thrive on positive reinforcement and praise. If they are aware that you value their independence and initiative when they choose to do paying chores, if you praise them for good money management, if you explain to them that the chores they do without pay are crucial for running the house well(and leaving out the guilt inducing whine that mom and dad do chores too), I think they will feel their importance as a member of the family team and be more motivated. Saying things like "I trust you with this" and "You are so helpful" while they work has a HUGE impact.


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 276
  • Location: Northeast US
Re: Paying Kids for "Above and Beyond" Tasks
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2012, 06:48:26 AM »
+1 Kolorado - I like the way you think about these things.

We plan on giving allowanced not linked to chores to teach money management.  Our Mini MEJG is not quite two so we have not started yet.  We're thinking of starting at 4 or 5.  That allowance will be "fun money" and we'll explain that to them.  Mr. MEJG and I also have "fun money" in the monthly budget, and as they become old enough to understand it we'll explain how that works.

"Mommy and daddy have fun money, like your allowance, too when mommy wants to buy a book (or whatever) she has to use her fun money too."

The allowance will go up yearly and at around high school it will probably expand to a clothing and/or and activity (sports, music, dance etc) budget for them.  When we hit that point we'll also probably go from weekly to monthly.

We have a few other money management ideas I've outlined in the other thread that tie into this too, but they are a bit OT.

I think we'll look at an above and beyond chart too (when the time comes).  Seems like a good supplement to me.