Young entrepreneurs cashing in around the home

29 May 2008
Children are developing their entrepreneurial skills by charging for household chores such as tidying their bedrooms or vacuuming, according to a new report.

By charging their busy parents around £1 to carry out household tasks, children are apparently boosting their pocket money by up to £520 a year.

Favourite money earners include tidying bedrooms, washing the family car and cleaning the dishes. Vacuuming, dusting, cooking and cleaning duties are also being taken up by enterprising youngsters who see the money-making potential in their parents’ hectic lifestyles.

While the research might cause some alarm among parents who believe such tasks should be carried out for free, the report also reveals that the age at which children start taking responsibility for their own mess is younger than in previous generations – and the majority do so for no financial reward.

And Corrine Sweet, a relationship psychologist, says financial rewards could actually be good for children’s development into adults.

"It's definitely a sign of the times that kids are being paid to do tasks their time-poor parents can't manage,” she adds. “However, if handled well, earning additional pocket money for doing household tasks can instill a good work ethic in children.”

Travelodge, which carried out the research, says paying children to tidy their rooms implants the importance of having a clean house – which will affect their behaviour later in life.

Involving children in household chores

Whether you want to pay your children or not for pulling their weight around the home, it’s hard to argue against instilling a work ethic in the next generation. And getting children to be responsible for their own mess is a good way to do this.

Sweet says explaining to children why it’s important to be tidy is a good place for parents to start, as this will empower them about their environment.

She suggests that involving children in household jobs from a young age is a good way to develop the tidying habit. By encouraging children as young as five to carry out simple tasks – such as feeding pets or laying the table – parents can boost their confidence in their ability to do things alone.

Sweet also recommends parents try and make chores as fun as possible in order to keep children occupied, and to lead by example and get the whole family involved.

“Don't expect too much too soon, and praise any task they finish - this will spur them on to do chores, paid or unpaid. Don't nag, encourage,” she adds.

If you do decide to pay your children for the work they do around the house, then a good tip is to only offer money for extra jobs rather than all their agreed weekly chores.

Sweet says: “Doing household jobs is all part of growing up and being part of family life.”

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