Chores, Teamwork, & Why we don’t Give Allowances

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Episode Summary

Stewardship isn’t a natural tendency and must be taught and nurtured into a child’s heart when they are young. We are called to be wise with what we have been given, but our natural tendency is to be compulsive with our spending and greedy. Join our conversation as we discuss chores, teamwork, and allowance.

In this episode of courageous parenting, we are talking about chores, allowances and contributing to the family. 

This is part two of our last episode where we discussed entitlement. We found that this was an important topic to talk about again because we live in an increasingly entitled world where a lot of people believe that they deserve things even when they haven’t worked for them. 

No matter how good you believe you are at instilling work ethic in the home or addressing entitlement there are unintended consequences of well-intentioned Christian parents that create entitlement. 

We receive a lot of requests for ideas of chores that you could give to kids at different ages. This is a frequent question that we get and we will answer it later in this episode. 

In today’s episode, we are going to be answering some of your questions such as why we don’t do allowances, the concept of contributing, jurisdictions, how to talk about money and heart attitudes. 

Chores, Teamwork, & Why we don’t Give Allowance

  1. Why we don’t pay our Kids Allowance

  2. Kids need Experience with Money

  3. How to Spend Money

1. Why we don’t pay our Kids Allowance

  • Let’s start with our definition of an allowance. We don’t mean that we do not ever pay our kids, we do pay our kids for some things such as commission jobs and there are ways and opportunities for them to earn money. 
  • There are a lot of kids out there that are given a monthly or weekly allowance by there parents for doing absolutely nothing. You must know that if you are a parent you are not required to do that.
  • If you grew up earning an allowance that doesn’t mean that you need to do to your kids what your parents did to you. 
  • We do not have an allowance in our home, we don’t talk about it and I don’t think that the majority of our children even know what an allowance is, but we do want them to have money because we want them to know how to manage money. We want our children to grow up in our household knowing how to manage money well. 
  • If you don’t prescribe money given to kids based on results, not jobs for doing an activity then you might be creating an entitled person down the road. 
  • We want our children to understand work ethic and the value of money. Our younger children have the opportunity to earn money by doing what we call commission jobs. Commission jobs are jobs such as pulling weeds, sweeping the garage, cleaning cars or the BBQ. we pay our children based on the results and their effort. So we tell them the job, what it entails and that they will be paid based upon the value of the work that they did. 
  • Now, there is also a place for nonprofit family jobs. For example, sometimes we will pay a kid to rake the leaves in the backyard, other times we will come together and work as a family and the kids will not get paid. There is a balance, like we said we want our children to know how to manage money, but there are few opportunities for young children to make money which is why it is up to us to determine the balance of commission and non profit jobs so that our children learn to manage money without becoming entitled and also to understand their place in the family team. 

2. Kids need Experience with Money

  • It is also important to teach your children how to have a certain of their earned income placed in savings, investments, tithing, and spending. These four things will teach your children how to manage money which will help them abundantly in the future. 
  • The important thing is that your kids are practicing managing money and that for us is why we have done commission jobs. If your kids are given an allowance, which they received even though they did nothing to earn it you could be creating an entitlement attitude in your child and they might just spend the money frivolously because they did nothing to earn it and don’t understand the value of it. 
  • If you give your child money and tell them to invest it or give it away how much do you think they care? They didn’t earn that money! You’re having them give away the money that you worked hard for and then you are giving them credit for it!
  • The reality is that if a kid has worked really hard for that five dollars, to have a generous heart and a heart that is yielded to what God is asking of them in regards to tithing, saving, spending, and investing it is a totally different thing when they have worked hard for the money instead of it being handed to them for free. 
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
  • This was a big deal for us. We wanted our children to have thankful, cheerful and generous hearts in doing work for others, this is not about the money! It’s about raising children who have a heart for God and are yielded to him and are generous with their time, money and time. Not in a legalistic way just because it’s what the bible says but because their hearts truly desire it. 
  • Proverbs 6:6-8 says “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.”
  • This is such a good passage to read with your kids because it’s such a vivid picture in their minds. This is a picture of an ant who is doing what they need to do without anyone having to tell them. And that is the point of what we’re training in our children. We want our kids to be hard workers when they are older without us having to tell them. You don’t want to be parenting your adult children going “why didn’t you go get a job?” or having adults who have failed to launch and are still living in your home when they are thirty years old because they don’t know what it means to provide for their family or to get up and start working. 
  • If you have lost a job and had to move back home that’s one thing but there is no excuse for being a sluggard and that is exactly what proverbs six is talking about!



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3. How to Spend Money

  • So let’s talk about how to spend money. Spending money is an important part of money management. You want your children to feel good about spending money. 
  • It is inevitable and just like every human your children are going to want to spend their money. Sometimes our nine-year-old, for example, will come to us asking if he can rent a movie with his own money. This provides us with the opportunity to teach them. We say something like “how much is your net worth?” and they say like thirty-five dollars and then you explain to them that if they were to rent this movie for four dollars and ninety-nine cents they would be spending around seventeen percent of their whole net worth. It provides an opportunity to teach your children to make wise decisions and instead of spending money on something that lasts an hour, why not spend it on something that you can enjoy longer or appreciate more.
  • If you give your children money without them having to work for it then the conversation of what it’s worth and the effort that was spent to earn the money can’t exist. If your children grow up without understanding these principles they will be ill-equipped for the world ahead of them. 
  • Here are some ways to teach your children to save money and be frugal with the money they have. 
  • One way is to shop for things when they are on sale. Our kids know that we do not like to purchase new things because the mark up is so high but there is a time and place for buying things new and investing. For example, when we first got married we bought a crib and dresser which was new and cost a good amount of our net worth, but it was an investment because we have used that dresser and crib with every one of our children. Instead of buying cheap cribs for nineteen years we purchased one expensive crib that lasted forever!
  • Colossians 3:23 says “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
  • So, whose money is it anyway? It’s God’s! We have taught our kids this and we constantly teach our kids this principle and try to live as an example of this principle. Everything we have is God’s. We have gone through seasons where we would start to believe that it was our money and god has had to remind us of the truth. 
  • A question that needs to be asked regularly is “Can God trust me?” if God can’t trust you with money and blessings what do you think the chances are that he will give you them? 
  • Forty percent of Americans believe that socialism is a good thing, and it all starts in the home when they are young and easily influenced. During your child’s young years in the home you are cultivating your child and whether they become socialist and entitled later on is massively impacted by your parenting!
  • You must hold your children accountable. If you are working as a family and someone starts slacking off you need to hold the sluggard accountable. 
  • We’ve said this before and we are saying it again because it is so important. Kids will rise to the level of responsibility that you give them. 
  • Here are some chores that you can give your kids based upon their age and capabilities. 
  • If your child can walk and take toys out of their place then they can surely put them away. 
  • When your child is in a high chair, still unable to walk, you can teach them not to throw food on the floor. 
  • Teaching these things at such a young age is so foundational and important because you are wiring them and setting the precedent that you are the teacher and they are the student, that you’re in charge and they need to follow your leadership. 
  • 18 months to four years old, now this is a big gap in age but between these ages, you can be teaching them to put their clothes away. If they can take their clothes out put them on and take them off then they can put them away. You can have them help you when you are doing laundry, folding, matching and delivering to different people in the family. You can also teach children in this age range to make their beds and clean their rooms.
  • Have your kids put away their shoes and coats when they get home instead of leaving them on the floor in the entryway. 
  • If your kids are under four, have them help you with dishes. Drying and putting away safe dishes is the dream job for kids under four!
  • Have your children help you cook or bake, here are some examples, cutting olives with a butter knife. Things like olives, green beans, and other veggies can be super easy to cut which presents a perfect opportunity for you to teach knife safety. 
  • Some other things that you can have your children of any age do are pick berries or help pull weeds, even wiping counters down or cleaning windows. 
  • Slow down, have your little ones help you even if it will make it take way longer. 
  • Now, four to seven years old, you can have them vacuum, sweep, dishes, laundry, cleaning their room on their own without having to be told. Helping to clean the car, care for animals, our firstborn was taking care of twenty-one chickens at five years old. 
  • Age eleven and up based upon their spiritual and mental maturity you can have your children babysitting your other kids, cooking for the family, cleaning, starting a business and at this age your children should have jurisdictions that they are responsible for and they should be able to take care of them without you reminding them or telling them to. 
  • Luke 16:10-12 says “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”
  • These are just suggestions, things we have done and seen fruit from doing. You are the parent and you get to decide what is safe and wise for your children but you must train them to have responsibilities and learn to have work ethic. 
  • Like luke sixteen says, it is important to instill in your children the importance of the small things like picking up after themselves because the small things echo into their futures and will determine who they become when they are older. 
  • We just want to encourage you to think about why you do what you do. Do you give allowances? Maybe your kids are young and you haven’t thought about it but this is a conversation that you need to have with your spouse because you need to be on the same page, you need to think about how you are going to give your children opportunities to manage money well, to save, spend, give and invest, these are important aspects, but they also need to learn that there are somethings that we do because we are part of a team and we don’t get paid to play our role in the family. 
  • Husbands, you need to lead your family, you need to dig in, you need to create a culture where your family works together and accomplishes things and has a good time doing it. The best way to do that is to lead by example, your children need to see you do what you tell them to do. You need to back up your wife, work together as a team, and you need to have vision. 
  • If you are a parent, vision is required, this doesn’t mean that you need to be a visionary that’s a gift that you may or may not have, but all parents need to have vision, you need to be able to see ahead, you need to be able to see heart problems in your family today so that you can work on them so that in the future they are not getting themselves into trouble and be walking righteously because the purpose of parenting is to raise disciples who love God and want to make Him known!

Scripture In This Episode:

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 –But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Proverbs 6:6-8 –Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.”

Colossians 3:23 – “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,”

Luke 16:10-12 –He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”

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Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

Reader Interactions


  1. Lindsey Turner says

    I love so much of what you guys shared in this podcast. We are doing a lot of this, and have always had the mindset that chores are a part of being in a family and living in a house and don’t necessitate being paid. But, how do you guys handle it when your kiddos DONT do their responsibilities? What happens when they neglect their jurisdiction? Or don’t do their best but just do the bare minimum? Our kids are 8, 11, 13.

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