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The Dangers of Motivating Kids Through an Allowance

This article was written by in Family and Life, Featured. 50 comments.


Parents who offer their young children an allowance or pocket money are helping to introduce the concept of money at an age when they are susceptible to ideas they will hold for the remainder of their lives. It’s a good idea to allow kids to gain exposure to to concept and application of income and the decisions that need to be made surrounding that money. Introducing money-related concepts at an early age helps to reinforce the idea of financial literacy, a quality that many people believe is missing in the general public.

There are generally two ways to look at offering an allowance, particularly as children are gaining the ability to handle larger responsibilities. Allowances can either be tied to chores and used as a motivational tool to inspire help around the house, or they can be given free of any condition. There are dangers to both approaches.

Approach #1: Allowance in return for chores and help around the house. This is the favored approach for many parents because it emulates the experience their kids are likely to have later in life: they will be rewarded in money for the quality and quantity of the work they provide for someone else. I’m not a fan of this approach for several reasons.

  • Helping around the house is not a job. A housewife doesn’t get paid for cleaning; a father who stays home to babysit take care of his own children does not get paid per hour. Helping around the house is something that everyone who can do should do simply because they are a member of the household. There will be more than enough time in someone’s life to earn money in return for work.
  • This type of allowance glorifies money as a reward. Money is your “reward” for working for someone else as an adult, but without proper control in formative years, children could grow up thinking that money is the only reward for working. This type of attitude could lead the children as they mature to choose only those careers that pay high salaries or consider marrying only a spouse who comes from money. These things aren’t bad per se, and they are legitimate choices, but to focus on money at the exclusion of all other things that make life meaningful could lower their quality of being. With the correlation between money and work ingrained, money becomes a primary motivator. This can make it difficult for someone to succeed or excel at their job, because they might wonder why they would put in any extra effort if not compensated immediately.
  • You become an employer, not a parent. The relationship between a parent and a child is unique, but introducing the idea that being a member of a household warrants a payment is a dangerous mangling of what should be a non-financial relationship. The power that a parent has over a child is now linked to the financial relationship rather than the familial relationship.

Approach #2: Money should be available, but not in return for working around the house. This invites childhood misconceptions. They may believe that money is available whenever they need or want, or that their parents will always provide money. Regardless, I believe this is the better choice as long as it is controlled and accompanied by guidance in terms of saving, spending, and giving responsibly.

All the guidance you could provide as a parent is good in helping children grow up financially literate. Even through teenage years, when children might be interested in getting a job outside of the house, children’s attitudes about money are still in formative stages. Any lessons you may impart will not be effective without good modeling. The best thing you can do for children is to manage your own money responsibly and let them see what’s happening behind the curtain. Take them with you when you go to the bank. Let them see the work you do for charity or encourage them to learn about the organization you’re involved with. Have positive financial discussions with your spouse without being secretive. If your experience with money isn’t positive, let your children see that as well.

I don’t have any children yet, so my opinions could change when my time comes. What are your thoughts about motivating children through an allowance? What approach works for you?

Photo: woodleywonderworks

Updated March 23, 2012 and originally published March 19, 2012. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Pat S.

I think that you are right. I never really received an allowance per se. I got paid for “work”. Mowing the lawn, painting the house, and other chores around the house. Sometimes I got a “bonus” for getting good grades. These things reinforced some of the good stuff I would do around the house for the family.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,371 (Platinum)

Do you think that getting paid for “working” as a child affected your attitude towards adult work or towards money?

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avatar Sustainable PF

I don’t disagree with your points Flexo but there is something to be said for kids learning that they will have to work eventually and if they do not work they will not receive compensation required to live.

That being said, we had chores we had to do and we did get allowance. Now, we weren’t paid for each service but there was always a (usually) unspoken threat that failure to do chores could result in punishment which was reduction or elimination of allowance. Parents really need to walk a fine line as allowance is the beginning of financial lessons learned by their kids.

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avatar 20andengaged ♦367 (Nickel)

My siblings and I were motivated to do an allowance. Sure, it starts off about the money, but it also teaches you responsibility, and taking care of things the belong to you. It may motivate, but money motivates people at a job also.

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦2,442 (Dollar)

We did not receive allowances, but we were expected to do a lot around the house. Because, well, we LIVED there. Everyone had to pitch in.
Sure we grumbled about it sometimes. But we did it. And it made us into capable adults who realized just how much work goes into maintaining a place to live, both indoors and out.
You do your part at home because you SHOULD, not because you’re being paid.
That said, I think you should make certain chores available for a fee if the child wants to save up for a special item. It will teach him/her that some things are worth saving up for.

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦2,442 (Dollar)

When I interviewed Jean Chatzky about “Not Your Parents’ Money Book,” she told me that she started giving her teens money each week to pay for things they need (e.g., clothes) and want (movies, a soda after school).
However, the money has to last them. If they spend unwisely, too bad. No advances on the next installment. Real life doesn’t work that way, she noted; imagine asking your boss for an advance on next week’s paycheck because you forgot to budget to pay the electric bill.
I thought this was a smart way of doing it.

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avatar shellye ♦107 (Cent)

That’s how I do it. I’ve never given an advance on an allowance. I do expect my kids to do a few things around the house, and if they want something extra, they have to do extra work around the house to earn it.

I have one friend who keeps a spreadsheet and tallies up every chore his kids do vs. every dime he’s given them. He also lends his kids money and charges them interest. Payments go on the spreadsheet. True story.

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avatar nimrodel ♦42 (Newbie)

When I was little, my parents gave me a fixed amount of allowance each week; I wasn’t ‘paid’ for doing chores. Occasionally, if my parents wanted me to do something that they thought was more than should just be expected of me, they’d give me a little money for doing it.

I learned that if I wanted anything, I had to pay for it myself. Beyond that, I’m not sure I learned much. I felt like I wasn’t allowed to touch any money that was in my savings account (it being ‘for the future’), so I was never really excited about saving.

I don’t have a strong opinion on the pay vs fixed allowance issue, but I do think that kids should be in complete control of any money they do earn. They aren’t going to learn to save if they only do it because you’re making them do it.

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avatar cubiclegeoff ♦896 (Dime)

I think if they see the benefit of saving in the long term (like they want something expensive and you say, “well you can use your savings which you’ve built up over time”), so they can see the overall benefit. This may work best if you have a teenager that wants to do something big, like a trip with school to Europe or something that not everyone goes on, but is expensive.

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avatar bob

Saving is a habit and by forcing them to save for things in the future they will eventually get them. But a child will not do this naturally they need to be taught and the general failure of parents to do this is why most adults are in trouble financially as adults.

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avatar Jon | Free Money Wisdom

I agree with you on this one big time! My family has always been huge into working before you get paid an allowance. I remember laboring in the back yard for hours and finally getting my $20. Allowance and doing chores came hand in hand at my house. To me, it just makes sense. No work, no allowance. it’s how the world works. The sooner you teach your kids this, the better off they will be. Greatest lesson is life= in the world, there is no free lunch!

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avatar The Dividend Pig

I have to disagree with most of the comments on here. I grew up with a stay at home mom, and never had any chores to do. In addition, I received a weekly allowance to spend as I please. My brother was given the same treatment.

As it turns out, I am a very hard worker (I have 1 full time and 1 part time job, plus side businesses) and a very good saver. On the other hand, my brother has 1 job, which he doesn’t even do all year (works at a school, summers off) and can’t save a dime. Yet our financial lives began the same.

The way an allowance is structured is only 1 piece of a very large puzzle, and the result it will have 20 years down the road is very hard to predict.

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avatar rewards ♦31 (Newbie)

I agree. Personal disposition plays a large role in how one views money.

That being said, I think it’s important to show kids how expensive/cheap things are that kids normally take for granted (electricity bills, mortgage payment, weekly groceries, school clothes, textbooks, etc.).

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avatar Alisa @ Earn My Keep

Hi, Flexo! Your article is exactly why I started doing something totally different with my daughter — I was uncomfortable paying her to do things that should be done as a member of the family, but equally uncomfortable giving her money for no effort (which is clearly not a real-world application). On top of this, I wanted to reinforce that the work adults do can be even more fulfilling than the numbers on their paychecks. So I started the Earn My Keep program, where she earns money for test-driving real careers. Each week she’s something different (like a paleontologist, a toy designer or a chef). We agree to a task that emulates what a real professional does, she completes the task to the best of her ability, and she is paid on Payday (Sunday). It’s been an amazing experience for us both! Would absolutely love your feedback on it if you have a minute — check out http://www.earnmykeep.com. And best of luck on your allowance-research. Can’t wait to read more!

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avatar cubiclegeoff ♦896 (Dime)

I see the point of not paying for basic chores (keeping your room clean, etc.), but some things that you could reasonably pay someone to do, could be an area where a child gets paid (raking leaves, mowing the lawn, etc.). Of course someone could argue that cleaning the house or room or something should make a child get an allowance since you can pay a maid to do it. Also, giving an allowance seems to feed the idea that money will always be available next week, even if you run out. So I don’t know if there’s an sure way to deal with allowances and having a child see the value of work and money and the work that is unpaid in life.

In regard to saving, I think any money received should be split, some for very long-term saving, some for long-term saving, some for short-term saving, and some to spend. The longer term savings will have a benefit when they get older and want something big, and realize that it was worth saving for. I would hope for this at least.

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avatar tbork84 ♦1,867 (Half-Dollar)

I agree in that the reasoning behind the allowance should teach the lesson that money has to be earned and is never just freely given. The extension of the lesson to include how money should be used other than spending it immediately is of even greater value.

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avatar Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

I don’t disagree with your points either Flexo but I think teaching your kids to work for money is important. I don’t have children yet either so my opinions can only be so valid. I grew up with an allowance for doing chores and it did teach me to work hard and fulfill my responsibilities. I can see how this can get misconstrued though. I am not quite sure what the best alternative is yet but you have definitely given me something to seriously think about when it comes to raising my family.

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avatar wylerassociate ♦905 (Dime)

teaching kids that they need to work to make money is important but kids should understand that as members of a family it’s important to take care of your house and possessions.

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avatar skylog ♦368 (Nickel)

i do not have children, but i think i would lean towards the allowance tied to chores approach. i feel this will at least give children some idea about the value of money.

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avatar Cejay ♦1,521 (Half-Dollar)

I have always believed that kids should get an allowance in exchange for work. Now, they are required to do their own bedrooms but anything above that is allowance money. FOr example if they take out the trash, help rake leaves or help me to work in the yard I will give them an allowance that week that compares. They get a basic 5 dollars a week for no work and then it can e increased by the work they have done. What I refuse to do is give an allowance for good grades.

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avatar gotr31 ♦224 (Cent)

I agree with Flexo, your kids need to help around the house because they live there. I give my kids an allowance but it is a very small amount and only once a month. The reason for this is mainly for the purpose of teaching money management, and I don’t buy “stuff” for them at all either, they have to buy their own toys and entertainment. They are to save 10%, give 10% and the rest they can spend on whatever they like. They used to go out and spend the few bucks they had right away. But now they save up for months and months to buy something. And we offer a few extra chores now and then to help them if they are trying to earn enough for something specific. The way they manage money in adulthood may change but at least I can say I taught them to save and give while they were kids. This year my daughter starts Jr. High and we are going to try giving her more money for her clothes, school things and activities so she can start learning how to manage money in a safe environment. While I won’t resuce her if she chooses to buy expensive jeans and does not have enough left over for expensive shoes she is dying to have. I can guide her through her mistakes and hopefully give her a much better experience than I had as a child and young adult.

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avatar lynn ♦155 (Cent)

You may not have children now and I hope you change your thoughts when you do. Our children helped because they were part of a family that needed to work together. What money we earned was put to use supporting the family. it seemed only fair. There was no allowance. There was, however money to be earned if they painted the pool fence or other such task.

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avatar Suzanne@GrowingRichKids

Flexo, you raise exactly the points that so many parents grapple with when they start to think about how to teach their kids about money. Where we’re ending up (and we’re just about to introduce it) is the following:

1) Our two boys (9 and 6) are expected to do chores around the house (emptying dishwasher, laying the table, bringing in & putting away groceries, make own beds) as they are part of the family team. There is no option to opt out of these – they are mandatory and not paid for.

2) We are giving them a weekly allowance which they can use – as they see fit – to cover things they would normally ask us to buy. We’re starting off with snacks outside the home (ice cream, Popsicles, etc), drinks outside the home (we provide water and drink water when eating out), arcade games, video games, subscriptions to online sites. This way, they are going to have to make trade offs and prioritize what they really want to spend their money on. We are no longer responsible for these items. (It’s still our money but we’re giving them the control of it to practice money management.)

3) We’re giving them the opportunity to earn additional money (cut the grass, fold laundry, clean the car). This lets them learn about the link between work and money.

We’ll see how it works. So far, they’ve had allowances since they started Kindergarten and they told me recently that they’ve learned you have to be careful to save and watch what you spend your money on so that you have enough to buy what they really want.

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avatar Kilae

When I was growing up, I got an allowance, but it wasn’t tied to chores. Chores were just expected as a member of the family. When I started high school, my parents upped my allowance and tied it to my grades: straight As meant 100% of my allowance, all Bs would mean 80% and so on. I was still expected to do chores around the house as a member of the family, but my parents figured school was my job and that’s what my allowance should be based on.
The allowance was meant to cover any food that didn’t come from our kitchen (unless my parents decided to go out to eat), clothes, non-school books, and any other items like video games that I wanted that my parents weren’t going to buy me. To my mother’s chagrin, that pretty much meant I ended up saving everything and pretty much didn’t buy clothes for four years. :D
I think it worked pretty well as a system of teaching me about money and spending, though I did go through a phase in college where I had a credit card and spent way more than I should have – though I could still pay it off every month, so not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Another system I read about (but currently can’t find the link for) was a couple that gave their child 10% of their household income. While it sounds ludicrous, with that 10% the child had to pay an itemized bill that was 10% of the household bills: a 10% share of the mortgage, a 10% share of the utilities, a 10% share of the grocery bill, a 10% of the long-term savings and college savings, and so on. When all was said and done, the kid had around $15 left per month as play money – not a ludicrous amount, and it showed the child exactly what the parents’ money was being used on and why budgets were important.

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avatar Suzanne@GrowingRichKids

An additional thought: whether you decide on a tied-to-chores allowance or not, the biggest surprise for most parents is how easy it is to forget to give the allowance or lose track of payments, loans, etc. An online allowance tracker or virtual family bank can really help with this and there are a lot of them out there.

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avatar Monica

We have four boys, ranging in age from 5-19 years old, and they all do chores without pay. We have a daily chore chart and they have Saturdays chore free. The 5 year old just cleans his room, but the older boys do their laundry, dishes, the bathrooms, etc. We feel that they contribute to the family by doing these tasks (since they make a large part of the mess!) and learn valuable life skills in the process. We do take them on family outings, and give them money for extra activities as needed, but they don’t get an allowance.

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avatar Ceecee ♦796 (Dime)

We got money when we needed it to buy something. And holiday gift money, which we’d save for purchasing things. Every kid who grew up in our household had a job by age 15 at the latest. We wanted our own money to spend. If we had been given a big allowance, that might not have been the case.

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avatar Pam at MoneyTrail

I have chatted with many families over the past few years about the subject of kids and money. Many of these families give a traditional allowance, many opt for a Save Spend Share approach and many do not pay an allowance at all. I think the key to raising a financially literate child is the involvement of the parents and the ability of the child to practice managing their own money. If money is given to the child with no discussion or without a positive role model, the opportunity for learning has been lost. Along those same lines, if a child never has the ability to make decisions with his money, good or bad, he will never develop money management skills. Kids can learn as much from their mistakes as they can from their successes. It is better for them to practice while they are young and the consequences are minor, than when they go off to college and get their first credit card.

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦2,442 (Dollar)

Re-reading this I have one quibble: A father doesn’t “babysit” his own children. No one says that a mother is “babysitting” if she stays home from her job to be with a child.
Not attacking you personally, Flexo. It’s just a turn of phrase that I wish we could erase from the vocabulary as regards parenting. I’ve heard guys in stores or at movie theaters say, “I’m babysitting so my wife can have a day off.” While I do salute you all for making sure your wives gets some time to themselves, you are NOT babysitting. You are taking some responsibility for caring for your own children.

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avatar Carl Lassegue

I was always given an allowance growing and expected to fulfill household chores. If I wanted more money, there were other stuff I could do like wash the cars or help cut the grass. I think this helped me understand the value of money. I was always envious of my friends who got money from their parents whenever they wanted but now that I look at them I see why my parents raised me the way they did.

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avatar Cejay ♦1,521 (Half-Dollar)

We always gave an allowance for doing chores. There was some chores that you were expected to do such as make your own bed, clean your own room and take your clothes upstairs and put away but things like helping to keep the grass mowed, painting and other less complicated chores were available if the kids wanted to earn money. But if they did none of these the were still given money for movies or going out occasionally. It seemed to work since the kids are decent productive members of society today.

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avatar Kaye

We agreed with all points on both sides of the argument. So we when a compromizing route. There are certain tasks that our children perform because they are members of the family and should participate in maintaining our home. There are other chores that our son is paid for (our daughter too once she gets older). These are things that I typically do, but they are capable of and it would really help me out for him to do. If he does them, he gets paid. If he chooses not to do them, I do them, but he gets $0 that week. He’s pretty motivated to do them because he likes to collect money. =) One day these chores will become his “regular” chores and harder chores will get paid. It will be evolutionary. This is how we pull it off right now: http://mrsnespysworld.blogspot.com/2011/11/our-chore-system.html

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avatar Lindah

My parents told us exactly what you stated: We were members of the household and it was our duty to care for it simply because we lived there. Money wasn’t given as a reward for doing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom and our bedrooms, weeding and mowing the lawn, sweeping the curbs, cleaning the gutters, washing clothes or washing cars. My laundry has been my responsibility since I was 11 years old. I even did my grandmother’s laundry along with mine. All of these were seen as general household chores. We were given money but it wasn’t called an allowance. My parents bought us items all year around and we didn’t have to wait until birthdays or Christmas to receive things. In fact, my grandmother and father didn’t buy Christmas presents. My mom did that and, when she lost her job and could no longer afford to do so, the presents stopped. She informed me and my brother of this and, somehow, we didn’t care. In high school, when I got a car, I often used the money given me for gas and other after school activities instead of bothering my parents unless it was some big fee like a trip or class fees. In fact, I usually charged passengers gas money so that I was able to keep my car moving and the oil changed, etc. and keep money in my own pocket.

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avatar Azra, ReadyForZero

Wow, what a hot comments section you’ve got going here! I was on an allowance system, as was my brother. Though we did get rewarded for good grades. While we were both hardworking kids, that extra incentive to take that B+ to an A did help motivate us quite a bit. This is another controversial topic: to reward kids for good grades. I have mixed feelings about it and it really varies from situation to situation, but in the end I think it’s a good idea.

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avatar Rich@MoneyWisePastor

My wife and I have five kids (ages 5-15) whom we pay every two weeks in exchange for the work they do around the house. They each have a list of things they’re expected to do, and they get paid a certain amount for each job they do. In addition, there are other things we expect them to help out with “just because.” We’ve tried different approaches over the years, so don’t be afraid if you change your mind from time to time. This is what works for us at this stage in our lives and we feel good about the work our kids are doing, and the money they receive, which they divide into giving, saving, and spending.

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avatar Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

I got allowance on and off while growing up. Sometimes it would come in the form of rewards (like earning my first pet – a guinea pig) or being responsible (when I was old enough to babysit, I got $2/hour to watch my brother and he got $1/hour to listen and if there was any incidents neither of us would get paid). I think allowance teaches kids what money is and helps them make financial decisions, better practice now and make mistakes then make the mistakes with real financial issues.

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avatar Kaye

I think the idea that you got paid for listening unless there were incidents. That cracks me up and is a brilliant idea! =)

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avatar Felix

When a father stays home to babysit? Unless the neighbors are dropping off other children, caring for your own children is called parenting.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,371 (Platinum)

Got it, thanks!

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avatar Mike Holman

I really don’t have a clue what to do about allowances. I’m not too worried about it though, since I just don’t think it makes that big a difference whichever method we end up doing.

For the record – I use the term “babysitting” when looking after my kids. It’s usually in the context of looking after them when I don’t want to.

For example – If we are at the park on a nice day and having fun, that is “spending quality time with the kids”. If we are stuck inside because of the weather and they are constantly fighting – that is called “babysitting”. ;)

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,371 (Platinum)

Mike,

I think that’s a great differentiation. I had no idea people would be offended with the term “babysitting,” but I do understand it. Not having kids, I didn’t mean to belittle the work parents do, men or women.

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avatar Ian

My parents were always very clear that my allowance had nothing to do with chores. Like you said, chores are something you have to do. With a wage attached to them, you might think you have the option of foregoing a week’s allowance in exchange for not doing your chores.

Instead, my parents imposed a strict budget on me. Money wasn’t just “available”. I got a fixed amount each week. I had to give 10% to the church (my parents were religious), put 10% into a gifts fund (so I could buy my own Christmas presents), put 15% into savings, and then the remaining 65% was spending. For the bulk of my childhood, this meant a dime went in the offering plate, a dime went in the gifts cup, a dime and nickel went in the savings cup, and every two weeks I spent $1.30 on candy.

I think this was a great way to teach the value of money. It required me to plan ahead, and think about what I wanted and how much it would cost. When my parents bumped the weekly allowance up from $1 to $5 when I was about 12, I was able to buy myself a stereo within months, because I knew how to save. And I’ve always known how to budget.

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avatar mike

I have two boys(12 and 9). The 12 yr old gets $5 wk, 9 $4 wk, every four weeks if they haven’t been disciplined they get a 50% bonus. On the 4th week the 12 yr old would get $5 wk plus $10 for the bonus, 9 yr old $16 total. The allowance isn’t tied into chores, they have to do those regardless of money. If they get disciplined they lose some or all of the allowance and all the bonus. They then have to wait until the next bonus cycle to collect the bonus. The things they are expected to do and would cause them to lose their allowance is not being hassled to get up in the morning and get ready for school, hanging up their coats and shoes, putting away their lunch kit, coming for dinner when called, stopping video games when told. We we getting tired of the small minor nagging we were doing and the “fine” system has for the most part stopped this. They can use their allowance money for whatever they want. Video games come out of their allowance, if we’re at a museum and they want a souvenir it is out of their allowance. If they want candy at the ski hill it’s out of their allowance. It comes down to anything that they usually bug us to buy they can buy out of their allowance. Combined with xmas and birthdays it’s not uncommon for them to collect $100-$200. The 12 yr old just got into warhammer and used his money for this, he also lost his lunch kit twice. First time we covered, the second he paid out of his allowance. I like the allowance as it makes them spend their own money but they are old enough to get the connection. I think they started around 8 yrs old, if they were younger it wouldn’t have worked.

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avatar gigi

Interesting post and different from the ones I have read that recommend allowance for chores. I came from an immigrant family that did not believe in allowances but did believe in chores. My classmates didn’t believe I was washing dishes and using a stove at seven but that was life in a household where both parents worked full-time! My brother and I wanted for nothing but at some point it felt greedy to ask parents for money without a purpose so both of us started part-time jobs when quite young. Now that I’m an adult professional with two young children of my own, I don’t plan on giving out allowances equal to chores. Like others posts, I feel that chores are a responsibility of being a member of our household however, I may think about paying for “extras” my husband and I are loathe to do like window washing and mowing the lawn. Either way I have enjoyed reading the post and responses.

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avatar Evelyn Saungikar

I use a combination of approaches. Our son gets a small ‘allowance’ and has some minor responsibilities around the house, but he is not being ‘paid’ for the chores. Rather, if he doesn’t do the chores, he has to pay me to do them, and of course, my rate is much higher than his. So, clearing the table and loading the dishwasher every day, making his bed every day – if I do them it’s $2 per occasion.

Self care is not rewarded – you brush your teeth because they’re your teeth. You put away your clothes because they’re your clothes. You clean up your mess because it’s your mess. You do your homework because it’s your homework.

He’s allowed to ‘bid’ on other jobs which can get higher pay, but they have to be done without reminders and to a required standard. These include vacuuming, washing the car, yardwork. These are paid jobs, he can be ‘fired’ for not doing them or doing them poorly. If he is interested in trying, I will teach him how to do the job, and hang around the first few times in case of questions, but after that, he’s on his own.

Also, in the case of large purchases where he needs more money, I expect a ‘business case’ to be written, for example, for a new gaming console. What is the benefit? What is the cost? What is he going to contribute? What do I get for my contribution? I figure, being able to write a business case is a good skill to have in the future.

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avatar Siobhan Landis

My take on allowances has been: before allowance, my kids would come to me constantly asking me to buy them this that or the other (twice-monthly scholastic book orders, for example). So, at some point I figured out roughly how much I was spending on this sort of thing, and started giving them a monthly allowance – which they had to use for discretionary purchases. The “Mommy can I have…” requests gradually dwindled (my response was always “do you want to pay for it with your money?”) and have largely disappeared, and my kids have learned about budgeting and saving for big-ticket items.

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avatar Melissa@LittleHouseInTheValley

We use a mixed approach. Our kids have basic chores to do around the house, but then they can do additional chores (voluntarily) for free.

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avatar Jeff

If you don’t have kids you have no business writing this article.

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avatar Sara

Reward in term of money is not encouraging, but if parents want to entertain their children in return of some work done by them, then, AFTER completion of that task they could go together for picnic to some hilly areas, go out for dinner/ice creams, can buy them games etc whilst pocket money should be given per week/month but there should be check by the parents on how their children spend, without coming into their children’s knowledge.

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avatar Tracy

As the mother of four children, the way I see it, belonging to a family brings both responsibility as well as privilege. Responsibility means contributing to the upkeep of the family and family home. This is in the form of regular chores but can also include any other help needed in a particular circumstance. Privilege means sharing in positives of what the family has, including a small amount of pocket money to manage and spend as one sees fit. This is in the form of a small monthly allowance. Chores/helping in the house are not directly tied to allowance. If a child fails to pull his own weight, one of the many possible consequences could be a loss of allowance. But my children are not paid for their chores and if they lose allowance for some other reason, they will still be expected to do their chores. They are expected to manage their allowance in such a way that they have the pocket money they need when they want a treat or want to save up for something. I do not want to fall into the habit of simply handing out money when the kids want something, nor do I have any interest in debating all of their wants and whether or not I will give them money for them. They are learning to manage their money so that they have it when they need it and also to think twice before spending their money, asking themselves if this is really the way they want to spend their money.

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