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5 Motivation and Allowance Ideas That Get Chores DONE

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When it comes to getting kids to do chores, are you riding the struggle bus? Studies suggest that kids who do chores are more successful as adults. Get your kids off to a great start with these brilliant, proven cleaning hacks!

Chores being ignored? Remember the 3 C’s.

What are the 3 C’s? Cause, currency, and consistency. The cause sets the groundwork for the who, what, where, when, and – most importantly – why! Let’s face it, the majority of the time it’s the reward that drives the “desire” to do chores.

When the type of currency is valuable to kids (whether it’s more screen time, privileges, or cold hard cash), it will help motivate them to complete chores sooner, rather than later.

Above all, the most important thing to remember is to be consistent. Your kids will have no problem wearing you down until you stop asking. Don’t give in! Follow along with some of these other tips to get your kids to finish chores without constantly having to ask.

1.) Try a non-monetary reward.

Using a no-cost reward is especially helpful around birthdays or holidays where extra money is already being allocated for gifts.

  • Meal control: If you want help with getting dinner together, why not let them choose the entree, side dish, or dessert? It gives you an extra hand in the kitchen and they’ll be, dare I say, excited to participate!
  • Family activities: Have a job that requires hard labor, such as yard work? Incentivize them to help with raking leaves or clearing away sticks by offering to play an outdoor game as a family afterwards. Up the stakes by placing a bet (the losing team has to do dishes after dinner)! For moments when the weather takes a turn for the worse, let them pick a Redbox movie (get a 1-night rental free if you join their rewards program!) for the family to watch together.

2.) Take something away.

When it’s time to do a bit of enforcing, the trick is to take away what they’re doing to avoid the chores. If needed, try taking away:

  • WiFi – This is probably the main culprit to the distraction. Change the wifi password and only share it once the chores are done.
  • Data – When WiFi is taken away, data usage comes into play when that internet source isn’t available. The worst part – you’re probably paying for that! Block their data through your carrier or use an app such as OurPact to block their ability to access their favorite apps.
  • Smartphones – Did they figure out workarounds to the blocked WiFi, data, or apps? A last resort is to take the phone away and lock in a safe box. To make it even more torturous, keep the box in the middle of the room with the phone’s sound or vibration on so that they can hear every missed text or notification – it might make them work faster!
  • Privileges – Are they looking forward to plans, like going to a friend’s house or wanting to play video games? Enforce a rule that once the chores are done, they can go about their plans. Again, it’s another way to speed up the turnaround time on tasks.

When my kids don’t help or have a messy room for too long, I take iPads. They have to earn them. They are motivated to earn iPad time more than money and they LOVE money lol! – Michelle at Hip2Save


3.) Visualize the task at hand.

Turn chores into a game or use a fun chart to help create, delegate, and accomplish household tasks.  This list has some unique chore chart ideas to get you started, which you can customize to work for your family. You could also try out some other fun ideas:

  • 50/50 tickets: Hang a roll of tickets on a dowel. Each time a chore is completed, they earn a ticket and can put the ticket in their designated jar. The tickets can be cashed in for money or privileges.
  • Marbles: Set out a glass jar with a “fill line” drawn on. When a chore is completed, or they help out when they’re not asked, add marbles to the jar. Once the marbles reach the fill line, they can cash them in for their allowance. If you have multiple kids, let them use the marbles as currency so they can “pay” siblings to cover chores for them.

Another idea is that they see the job chart for the week and only get paid if they take the initiative to pick jobs off the board and then do them. This way it teaches them to take action on their own and get the job done without being told. – Jami at Hip2Save


4.) Incentivize with different types of allowance.

Allowance in the traditional sense usually means cash. While it’s probably still the most common and viable form of allowance, your kids may find more value in other types of payment.

  • Screentime: This is a HUGE part of many kids daily lives, so make it a reward by extending current privileges using smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  • Mom Bucks: Make your own currency! Have kids earn “Mom Bucks” through chores for them to spend on privileges.
  • Point System: If you find yourself in a situation where your kids need to get back on a level playing field before they earn allowance, consider a point system for them to earn their way out of trouble.

We live rurally so it takes about $12 in fuel money to go to any of the events our oldest wants to go to. We make him “earn” the $12 in fuel money by completing certain chores (i.e. dishes = $2) – Stacy at Hip2Save

If you do land on an allowance that’s not cash, teach your kids about the value of money with these fun financial products geared for kid’s learning.


5.) Make allowance age & task appropriate.

I’ve heard people ask quite bit about appropriate allowance amounts. There are a couple different methods to approaching this:

  • Payment per minute: Break down the chores by how many minutes it takes to complete them and set a value per minute – i.e. set the minute wage to $0.15 a minute. A 5-minute task, like watering flowers, would yield $0.75 where a 15-minute task, like vacuuming, would yield a little over $2. As kids grow older their chores will require more time, so the total payment would scale with age.
  • Chore ranking: Rank chore value on a scale from 1-4, with 1=$0.25, 2=$0.50, 3=$0.75, and 4=$1.00. A chore like making their bed could be valued at 1, where a chore like vacuuming the living room could be 4.

My kids get half their age in allowance each week, which they have to budget and use for their entertainment and purchases. They have specific chores that are required of them to not get “fired” each week, and then we have extra chores they can do to earn extra money. So for example my 12 year old gets $6 a week. – Michelle at Hip2Save

These figures are just meant to be examples as allowances can vary widely between families. It could help to establish a minimum and maximum of earning potential for the week so chores don’t get left behind or completed twice for more money.

If you’re wondering which chores are best suited for certain ages, check out our Age Appropriate Chores Chart printable.

Above all, be consistent.

You’ve taken the time to establish a system and designate the payout, so it’s important to see all your hard work through! And remember – what works for one family may not work for another. Customize these tips for your lifestyle.


How do you make sure chores get done in your home? We’d love to hear your methods!
Join The Discussion

Comments 17

  1. Jennine

    This is amazing! Thank-you for putting this together! I had a preschool teacher tell me it takes 21 days to set consist habits. If it’s Broken even once, it’s back to day one. That’s the hardest part.

    • Holly (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I’ve heard the same thing about 21 days to build a habit! Love that!

  2. Colorado Amy

    When my son was about 6, I needed to get him in the habit of brushing his teeth in the morning. We are not morning people and I would often forget to remind him. After a dentist visit, 4 cavities and having to pay for fillings, I decided to pay him to help him remember on his own. I started giving him a quarter for every morning he brushed. It worked. He got in the habit and I didn’t mind paying him out of my change jar, if it meant not having to pay for more fillings. This went on for a couple months and then I stopped paying him. He is now 9 and hasn’t had any more cavities.

  3. Teah

    Something else to remember, you have to be very specific with younger ones. For instance instead of saying “Clean your room” try saying “you need to put all your toys in the toy box and put all your dirty clothes in the laundry basket.” This ways they have a clear understanding as to what your expectations are.

  4. Nina

    Awesome tips. What types of chores are recommended for 6 year olds.. and what’s an ideal time to start. I’d say 5ish, when they understand rewards and consequences but it’s just such a difficult thing with the consistency aspect, especially if it’s an only child I think.

    • Kathy

      My kids started chores at 2. At that age it was carrying mom the small trash can in the living room so I could dump it and putting blocks into basket. It’s easier to learn chores younger than older in my experience. Age appropriate is the key.

      • April

        Our parents said, clean your room and we did it. They said wash the dishes and we did it. We didn’t get allowances. We were upper middle class. My grade point average was 3.5/3.8 in high school and I was rewarded with 2 cars. My husband and I followed similar patterns with our son. He participated in multiple sports and made good grades also. He kept his room clean and did chores. My son is a Battalion chief at our fire department. Parenting works.

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Hi Nina, you can check out our age appropriate chores chart that has suggestions starting at age 2 up until teenage years. As for when to start, it’s really whenever works best for your family, and can start with something as simple as making the bed since that can be done daily.

  5. Amy

    We use a really neat (free) app called Chore Monster. We assign chores with point values, kids log chores and can redeem for rewards that we put in their accounts. Each chore also earns “tickets” in the app and they can spin a wheel to buy monsters. Some monsters involve a little potty humor so the kids love it. 😉

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      How fun! Thank you for sharing, Amy!

  6. Sara

    Something to think about for children with ADHD and/or Bipolar Disorder:

    Unfortunately none of this ever worked on me. I was diagnosed with moderate/severe ADHD when I was 8. I was also diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder around the same time. My parents eventually gave up on getting me to do chores.
    They never found anything that worked consistently. It’s gotten better, but I still don’t have the attention span to wash dishes or pick up after myself as much as I should. Things can only get done on a whim without taking time to think about it. When this happens, I can get alot done due to being hyperfocused. The moment I start thinking about the task, all work stops until the next whim.

    • Brandy

      Sara-thank you for saying this. My son is ADHD and ODD and there are no consequences or incentives that will make chores work in our house. We have tried numerous things and you are completely right-the times he does chores is when it’s completely unexpected and random and then he does them with hyperfocus and completes all kinds of stuff!! For no incentive other than to say he did the stuff and helped mommy and daddy out!!

      • Sara

        I was diagnosed with ODD when I was 3 years 9 months old. I don’t think it is in my files anymore, but it is definitely still happening. I understand the concept of authority, but something in me prevents me from listening. I won’t blindly follow orders. I need a logical reason. I need to understand why before my brain will let me follow orders.

  7. Diana

    Instead of having to change the WiFi password all the time, I have went and bought another router and set it exclusively for the kids to use. Now all I have to do is to shut that router off if they’re not allowed internet access.
    All of the adults in the house will not be disturbed by constantly having to change the password for getting online, specially if we’re in the middle of doing something online.

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Having two routers is a great idea, Diana! Updating the WiFi password constantly between devices can be a pain. Thank you for that awesome tip!

  8. Becky

    Some food for thought…we don’t give an allowance. Everyone does chores because we are part of the family and that’s what families do. When I was sick for 3 days last week, our two teenage girls took my coupon binder and meal planned and went grocery shopping, used coupons, etc. They did the laundry, cooked, and took care of their 2 toddler brothers. We homeschool so I was blessed that they were here to help. They will catch up on the weekends. But they just pitched in without thinking about it…

  9. Sallys

    I had a gorgeous glass jar for marbles, and well, the marbles were glass and broke the jar! don’t let this happen to you!

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