Should children expect to be paid for chores?

European workers including nurses, social workers and teaching assistants protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London before lobbying MPs over their right to remain in the UK.  Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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I am no stranger to paid work.

In my 20-something years as an adult I have revelled in a number of, what you might call, interesting jobs.

These include cleaning hotel sheets in an industrial laundry and hair beading in Top Shop.

Many of these were temporary jobs, but in taking on these employment opportunities I managed to fund my busy social life, including trips abroad, as well as paying my rent and feeding myself.

These were the days when I would take on any job going, however dull.

I want to instil this work ethic in my own children, whose idea of helping out is to sing loudly whilst I clear the table of plates, in the hope that I will be distracted from the fact that they are doing nothing useful.

My older daughter, however, has cottoned on to the fact that by doing jobs you can get paid.

But I now have the dilemma of what kind of jobs she should be doing for money and which tasks she should be doing anyway.

I asked some friends about it and the general consensus was that anything that I would normally do myself, she should be paid for.

For example, dusting, hoovering and laundry.

But I can’t help thinking that she should really be able to do this, without being paid for it, anyway.

After all, I don’t get paid to do it.

On the other hand, if it encourages her to learn some important life skills then that would be a good thing.

Once, when I was working in an aircraft hangar in Retford (don’t ask) I came across a young man who was literally unable to cut a slice of bread.

He said that he had never been expected to do it before. I really don’t want that to be my children in the future.

But the other week life was very busy. Work had taken up much of my time plus I was expecting around six people to stay overnight in my house at the weekend.

Stress levels were at a peak and I wasn’t sure where to begin all the tasks I had to do.

My friend unhelpfully told me that it was like eating an elephant – do it in small chunks.

But the analogy failed to hit the spot, largely because I am a vegetarian with an interest in animal conservation.

Then I had a brain wave. Why not ask my daughter to clear out the spare room in preparation for our visitors and I would give her some cash.

And then, maybe she could vacuum the stairs and dust the living room.

I suggested it to her and she was delighted.

But not as much as me, as I felt that a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

My concern now is how much to pay her.

I am aware of the minimum wage, but then again, she’s not.

I don’t want to put her off, but if I could afford a cleaner I would have hired one by now.

My solution is to slip her a few quid plus the number for Childline to cover all bases.