Our Children’s Chores

Several years back I read a couple great books by Robert Kiyosaki.   In one there was a quote about not giving children an allowance because it teaches them to work for money rather than learning to create money.  It made a bit of immediate sense and was worthy of more deliberate consideration.  In the end, Johnny and I decided to do both, give allowance earning opportunities as well as instruct in ways to create money for themselves.

We have five children aged six to twelve years, two girls and three boys.  Most of their chore doing is for no other reason than because we’re a family.  There’s no list of what they earn for which job so the lines are blurred between doing for the family and doing for allowance. They know we give them money in order to teach them how to manage and understand it.  It’s nominal, between 1€ and 2€ each per week.  We also give them €5 per week for depositing into their savings accounts and the majority of gifted money goes in there also.



Ingenuity is abundant when it comes to them getting what they want for themselves.  Not enough money?  No worries; trading in the currency of LEGO is not uncommon, a bit of good old-fashioned bartering.  They cleverly manage to earn money in different ways, usually by taking advantage of the many visitors to the island each summer’s day.  Margaret Maeve had a really good babysitting gig this past summer and they like to hire each other for jobs such as bedroom organizing and lunch making.

So that’s them earning money–they haven’t yet accomplished anything that’s actually making them money on a continual basis, but we’re teaching them to consider it, to think of things they can accomplish with time, energy, creativity, and maybe even a little money that will continue to pay them long after the single effort has been made–write, draw, design, or invent something, or perhaps to purchase things for others to rent.

Teaching our children about money has tied in naturally with other lessons and experiences in areas such as saving and spending, needing versus wanting, sharing, deal-making, fair versus equal, working alone and together, caring for other life, keeping commitments, ownership, and ego…I could go on and on.

We’ve made a chore list.  It beats barking every time the trash cans need to be emptied or when I notice that they’re dressing from the piles of clean clothes in the laundry room rather than sorting and putting them away.  It does the talking for us and most all gets done in a timely manner.  The house isn’t looking too unkempt anyway.  And you may notice there are unchorelike things listed.  These would be some of their favourite things to do; no harm to schedule in fun time as well as work time.

Here’s a video of the children busking on the island before the evening ferry departed last weekend.  Their chore list is just after the video.


Here’s our children’s household chore/to-do list:


Margaret Maeve

  • Feed the cats
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Check for laundry to be put away and make sure it gets done by all
  • Sweep bedroom weekly
  • Practice banjo and whistle daily
  • Sing aloud, especially sean-nós
  • Spend time with your siblings
  • Saturday chucks (chickens+ducks)
  • Create with food weekly
  • Exercise


  • Feed the dog
  • Upstairs bathroom 2x week–Wednesday and Saturday
  • Sweep bedroom weekly
  • Check for laundry to be put away and make sure it gets done by all
  • Practice concertina and whistle daily
  • Sunday chucks
  • Take one interesting picture a week for me to post

Seán Proinsias

  • Downstairs bathroom 2x per week–Thursday and Sunday
  • Sweep upstairs hallway weekly
  • Practice harmonica and bodhrán daily
  • Plan & prepare a weekly meal with Mum or Dad or Sis
  • Read, read, read
  • Monday chucks


  • Coat room clean
  • Sweep stairs 2x per week
  • Practice spoons and whistle daily
  • Play a game with someone in the house weekly (not electronic)
  • Read, read, read
  • Help MM with dishes
  • Tuesday chucks
  • Exercise


  • Check all trashcans, emptying if needed
  • Practice whistle
  • Have Mum or Dad read storybooks to you weekly
  • Scan the house for your ‘stuff’ to be put away
  • Work in the garden weekly
  • Read, read, read
  • Help MM with dishes
  • Take care of your bedroom space; ask for help if you need it
  • Wednesday chucks


  • Aim to busk music weekly
  • Read daily
  • Brush on the gum line
  • Take proper care of all your laundry
  • Draw a picture of what a tree house in our tree might look like (this changes monthly)
  • Always have each other’s backs
  • Practice meditation breathing
  • Clean and tidy your rooms
  • Deposit weekly in credit union
  • Remember that things are never more important than people
  • And we love you very much, Mum and Dad

There’s no one right way to go about running a family household.  Each member is unique and situational changes happen to all well thought out plans.  I’d be interested in hearing how other’s handle allowance giving and chore doing in their own homes or perhaps a memory from your own childhood.



  1. Such a wonderful post! I was so glad to see your gorgeous children being rewarded for their magnificent busking – particularly love the Irish dancing. If you have a way for me to donate I would be happy to do so :-).
    My grandchildren, (9, 7, 4) when they are with me, get points for doing chores, behaving kindly, coming straight away when I call them from the playground etc etc. Points translate into pennies, it’s a new system and seems to be working very well so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so sweet Sandra! Perhaps you can donate when you ever come over for a visit and get to see them perform live.
      I like that idea of points. The teachers at our school did something similar in the past and it greatly motivated the children. My own talked about it often and it really mattered to them. Great for them to get recognition, especially for things like being kind.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nanacathy2 says:

    Lovely ideas of getting children helping in the home and learning the value of money. My middle son was the most enterprising of the three. He stripped our cherry tree of cherries and sold them round the village. I thought the birds had them till the following year when a villager asked me if Joe would be selling them soon? He also went car washing with his friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Brenda says:

    It looks as though you are doing a wonderful job in raising thoughtful, independent, creative, and kind children, Melissa. It must be interesting, with five, to discover their differing interests and talents. Neither of my children enjoyed gardening (crazy, no?) but both loved to cook from an early age. One of my granddaughters loves to sew, the other doesn’t care for it. As long as they are exposed to a wide variety of things, they will find what they love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Brenda, Not all mine enjoy the garden either. That’s okay. I agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence. And when they find what they love, then we can nurture and support it. They are all very different, that’s so true!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. aj vosse says:

    By the time those youngsters of yours turn 21 they’ll be millionaires!! Good on you for teaching them value… not only monetary but life’s values as well!! (Maybe you should let them buy a few bank shares (before they get too expensive again) each… in a few year’s time they could pay for their own college!!) 😉



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