As children become more independent, their parents’ working hours often change. Perhaps one parent will return to paid employment, or the parent who previously did most of the household chores will increase their working hours. This is a good opportunity to talk about work and money within the family – and to explain different family models, both past and future.
The family system – every member contributes
Explain to your child that a family is a community with responsibilities. For example, it has to take care of the housework and ensure that it has sufficient money. In this community, all family members are equal and do their best to make family life enjoyable. Parents are not the only ones with an important role.
Children also have a part to play, for example, by attending school, tidying their room and doing their homework.
Why does dad only work 60 percent?
Talk about the importance as a family of being able to do all the housework, take care of the children, and pay all the bills at the end of the month. And that you also need a lot of time to play together but that you as parents also have hobbies you want to pursue. To make all this possible, parents have to decide who goes out to work and how often. Explain that when mom or dad go out to work, they receive a salary, i.e., money, but that when they cook, clean or do housework, they don’t get paid. However, paid employment and housework are both equally important and valuable.
The family pot
The work contributed by each family member – be it housework, paid employment or homework – goes into the “family pot” or the “family account.” This benefits everyone, whether in the form of clean laundry or because the rent for the apartment can be paid. Both parents may also have their own account and the children may receive pocket money. It is good if the “family account” is not completely empty at the end of the month, because it is important that you have reserves if something unexpected happens or if you want to save for a major purchase. Your kids can benefit from all of these thoughts and ideas. So take the time to discuss and explain your family model with your child.
The main points in a nutshell
- It is possible to discuss with children how paid employment and housework are divided up.
- The family is a system of community in which children also have their responsibilities.
- A family cannot spend all the money it has: a certain amount has to be saved.
- Children realize that housework and paid employment is not shared fairly between members of their own family or within other families.
UBS’s educational principles
This article was written in collaboration with educator Marianne Heller, who has years of experience in teaching financial education and debt prevention programs for children and young people.