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Family jobs and money jobs both have their place in teaching kids responsibility - get tips on how to use them effectively

Establishing “Family Jobs” & “Money Jobs” at Home

My kids have recently reached the age where they’re interested in chores, money, earning, saving… all of that good stuff. And as we started to dip our toes into the world of chores and piggy banks, I realized it’s not quite as straight forward as I had thought.

So today we’re publishing the first in a series of posts on responsibilities and money management for kids – a super important topic in our book.

Our hope is that you’ll get some good tips and resources and will also add your own wisdom in the comments below.

Have you ever had someone over for dinner that makes you want to invite them back?  I’m talking the kind of person that sees you in the kitchen, warmly greets you and says, ‘what can I do to help?’

After the meal is over, they ignore your pleas to do the dishes later and just start helping you carry stacks of dirty dishes to the sink.  This kind of helper mentality is what I want to engrain in my children.

When we live together as a family, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.  You don’t need me to remind you about the piles of laundry, the dirty bathrooms and the meals that need to be made.  And kids don’t get a free ride on this train!

We all need to help out.  But, kids aren’t born knowing how to help.  It’s something we have to teach them.

Teaching children to help starts internally.  At our house, each child is responsible for themselves.  This includes making their own bed, putting their homework and lunch bag into their backpack before school, picking up their room and personal hygiene (brushing teeth, showers/baths, brushing hair).  This stuff might seem like a no-brainer, but maybe you’ve been around someone that has to repeatedly ask their child to brush their teeth before bed.  If we left it up to kids, they probably wouldn’t do it on their own.

Our job as parents is to teach children to be responsible for themselves.  So, the first part of being a responsible family member is taking care of all the things you personally need.  Remember, this will be different for each age level.

Toddlers might be able to pick up their toys, while elementary aged children can make their bed.  So, find the things that your little one can do by themselves and teach them to do it independently every day.

Establishing family jobs and money jobs

Once children are able to take care of themselves, they can start thinking about doing other jobs to help out the family.  Some daily jobs might include helping to set the table, wipe off counters and put away their clean laundry. These are jobs that better the family environment and need to be done consistently throughout the day.

A chore chart can help with reminding children which jobs need to be done.  You can go high tech or simply hang the paper charts on the wall with the ability to check off the jobs as they’re completed.  Who doesn’t get satisfaction from checking off a completed job?

For more ideas, check out:

kids chore lists by ageKid Chore Lists, Arranged by Age & A Gratitude Chore Game

Also, If you are a pet-owner, you know that this member of the family cannot be taught to take care of itself.  Instead, we teach our children to help with things like walking the dog, feeding the dog and picking up the dog poo.

We rotate these jobs because some are less glamorous than others.  Our dog is part of our family and the children are starting to learn to be responsible for not only themselves, but someone else.

Sometimes we need to ask our children to go above and beyond the daily family jobs and do some jobs that might stretch them a little.

These are money-earning jobs. 

Typically these jobs are done periodically, maybe once a week.  Some examples of money-earning jobs in our house might be cleaning the base boards, washing the outside of the glass sliding doors or helping to clean out the fridge.

Think of it like your boss asking you to take on an extra project.  It might seem a little bit intimidating, but the thought of a bonus inspires you to take on the task. Except for young kids – most of them will absolutely jump at the chance to take on responsibility AND earn some real life money.

There are some clear benefits to both types of jobs for kids:

  • Family Jobs – teach a spirit of contribution and responsibility to the family.
  • Money Jobs – teach critical money management skills by giving your kids practice in saving, budgeting, and even giving.

If we stay consistent with teaching our children responsibilities, they’ll be the adult that’s helping out when help is needed.  Remember, we aren’t born with these skills.  Learning to take care of ourselves and be a contributor happens early on and we see the benefits as children grow up.

For more info. on this topic, check out one of our favorite new reads:

Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money

by Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze

Then please share with us in the comments – what responsibilities do your kids take on at home and how do you handle allowance?

*post contains affiliate links

UPDATE: If you like these tips, then you’re going LOVE our brand new…

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Kristin is a former teacher turned children’s photographer in southern California. Visit her website to read all about her adventures in photography, cooking, and her love of style.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate June 29, 2014 at 8:11 pm

I feel like this is something we’ve done well, thankfully. My husband and I both work and when our kids were about 9 and 10 (now 14 and 15) we divided the house into 4 zones and on Monday you vacuum your zone; Tuesday, mop; Wednesday, clean surfaces. Each family member has a laundry day and my children have been doing their own laundry since 9 and 10. My son chooses to put one large load in on cold, including his white uniform shirt, though I tell him they will be more white and less grey if he washes separately in hot. He chooses not to and I let him. On Thursday one child does kitty box, another garbage and recycle. These they switch out every few months. On weekends sometimes we weed the garden as a family. Every other weekend we take turns mowing the lawn. I cook 3 weekdays, my daughter makes homemade pizza on Fridays and my son cooks pasta on my staff meeting day and my husband cooks on weekends. I have always auto transferred their age in dollars to their account each week plus some extra for clothes and their transit card. At 13 Chase Bank allowed them their own Visa debit card. I don’t pay for anything but education. Anyway, this has all worked well for us and I feel they are very prepared to leave the house and manage their own food, laundry and money. And they know how to scrub a tub and toilet!


kristin eldridge July 1, 2014 at 9:20 am

Kate, you are so organized!! That sounds like a great plan. I especially love that your entire family is helping out with the meals. Your kids are learning their ‘specialty’ in the kitchen…that’s so awesome!


Suzanne July 1, 2014 at 12:03 pm

As someone who is still reminding my boys (10, 7, 4, 2) to brush their teeth, comb their hair, make their beds , and pick up their rooms– I’m a little stumped. How do you get them to do these things ? They have always had these things as their responsibility and still prefer to try to sneak by without doing them. They have other chores/jobs as well. I’d be interested in tips for helping them ingrain this sobi don’t have to oh to college and remind them to brush their teeth!


kristin eldridge July 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Suzanne, I think having a chore chart helps. My kids are similar ages as yours. They definitely aren’t perfect. But, all I have to ask is, is your chore chart done? Instead of asking them to do all the individual personal tasks. Remember, they’re also forming habits. It won’t be long before they are doing the tasks on their own without being asked. :)


Cheri August 26, 2014 at 10:09 am

This is something similar to what my parents did with us, though we didn’t have a physical chart but we knew if we didn’t get chores done privileges taken away, tv time, video games things like that, if we did extra we might we to stay up a little past bed time on a weekend pick the family movie things like that. My parents made a plan and stuck with it and that really helped. I have my first boy on the way and I plan to do the same with my kids. It helps too if you can get the older ones to do their chores a lot of the times the younger ones will copy cat them. I have one sister who always loved to dust for some reason so that was her chore she was in charge of.


Janis James July 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm

When my kids were in junior high and high school, they wanted to have their Saturdays free for their own activities. However, I was a working mom, and I needed some help from them. So on Saturday mornings I would make a list of chores that needed to be done (not their own personal chores), and they would take turns choosing which tasks they wanted to do. When all their tasks were finished and inspected, they had the rest of the day free . Worked like a charm, and one couldn’t complain that he/she had more work to do than the other.


kristin eldridge August 26, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Great idea, Janis. I know many of us work, so we need all hands on deck!


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