How much should you get paid to clean? My teenage daughter is currently arguing with me that she should get paid $20 an hour for regular household chores. I told her we would give her an allowance of $8 an hour and she said that's too low.

If you're insistent on paying someone TO clean, the minimum wage in your area is likely to be a starting point for salary. Where I live the number varies based on how large an employer you are, but it's in the $13–15/hr range.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you should pay your kids this much to clean, but if you insistent on this kind of "business model", whereby payment is exchanged for goods/services, then that is what you should pay.

A far better way to handle this is to offer your kids an allowance with no attachments or requirements other than that you follow the rules of your home. Part of the rules of the home is that you all pitch in and do a fair amount of the household chores. This isn't done in exchange for money, it's just how a household works. If you cultivate this work ethic in children when they are young, it will go a long way in keeping them from treating you like an employer when they need more money.

The downside to paying them for "work" is exactly what you're seeing. Your kid doesn't feel like she is contributing to her own home, she feels like an employee that is being underpaid. So she complains. Even if you could afford to pay her a fair wage, what happens when she gets the skills necessary to get a better job, and takes it? Does she stop doing chores? You've basically taught her that she is working for money, and if she doesn't need the money, she will want to stop doing the work. Now you have an 16 or 18 year old living at home that won't want to do any chores unless you pay her the equivalent of a maid. You'll probably get frustrated, and threaten to charger her rent. And down the rabbit hole we go. Teach your kids that everyone does chores and it's not for pay and there's a good chance it works out better.

Household chores are not the same as employment. There's a decent chance you'll eventually run into issues if you treat them as such.


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