May 17, 2010

Getting Kids to Pitch In

Economics professor Tyler Cowen was profiled in the Washington Post on May 13. He is an interesting character and has a popular blog,, with a faithful following.

A quote in the article stuck out for me because it has to do with getting kids to help around the house. He said, "If you tell your daughter she is obliged to do the dishes, that story will stick in her mind. She may not always heed her duty, but she will feel some need to cooperate. . . . When we pay our children, the tale changes. She says to herself, 'Doing the dishes is a job for money,' and she feels less obligation. The parent becomes a boss rather than an object of deserved loyalty."

There are differing opinions on how to get kids involved in housework. One side says children should be paid for household chores because it prepares them to do work for pay when they grow up.

Another side says that members of the family should all pitch in with chores, without compensation, because it teaches them to be productive contributors to society when they grow up.

Most parents I know struggle with getting everyone in the family to maintain organization and keep up with routines. The economist’s view is that, when you don't pay your kids, the dynamic changes from being a paid employee to being someone who does a task because it feels like the right thing to do.

Do you agree with Tyler Cowen? How do you get your children to help with household chores? Click on Post a Comment, below, and tell us.

Organized by Marcie: Getting you organized so you have time to do what you love to do!
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