do you give your kids an allowance?

I don’t give my kids an allowance. I have in the past but it was tied directly to chores and after a certain number of weeks passed (and a corresponding amount of $$ gathered) the kids stopped doing chores because they “didn’t need any money.” That just reinforced my feeling that one should not earn money for doing chores. You should do chores because it is your responsibility as a member of this house. You should do chores because it teaches you how to take care of your things now and in the future. You should do chores because you want to live in a nice, clean environment.

My oldest is upset about this no allowance – to tears even. You might expect that, after all she is 13 and living an age of great entitlement (just ask her). But when one of my children is sincerely upset about something I try to give them a sounding board. So I am taking her request seriously. I’m doing a bit of research and soul searching – while also trying mightily not to beat her senseless for telling me that she shouldn’t have to do chores because that’s my job as her mother. (that’s a whole different post – unfortunately a subject that’s come up with this ungrateful child before.)

Everything I’m reading agrees that allowance should not be tied to chores. Rather allowance should be given because a family “takes care of each other.” And by giving a regular allowance – instead of just giving them a $20 as they walk out the door with their friends – you’re teaching a valuable lesson in saving and budgeting. I am warming to the idea. However, I still feel there’s a hidden lesson that kids given an allowance in that scenario are literally getting something for nothing and oh, are they going to be in for a harsh awakening someday.

I also like the idea of giving my children money and setting up an expectation for saving and donating a portion of their savings each year. That donation could be to church or a charity of their choosing (with some approval/guidance of course). I earn money and don’t just run around buying flip-flops and movie tickets. Sure, I spend some of it on running shoes but I also save lots of it so I can take my kids on fun adventures and each week I’m dropping money in the church basket. Those are important lessons to learn alongside the budgeting.

I’m playing with the idea of giving them an allowance with a specified set of expectations:
– keep your room clean
– clear your dishes from the table
– put away your laundry and bring dirty laundry down to the laundry room
– one additional chore each week
– annual donation

Will they still get their allowance if their room is a pigsty? Yes, not holding up their end of the bargain will be punished by the removal of privileges. And as my husband noted, if you’re grounded you can’t really do anything fun with your money which is another incentive to keep up with responsibilities.

My only question now is – is it fair to hold them all to the same standard? I am leaning towards the idea that each age deserves a different set of expectations, and correspondingly a different allowance. I also have to figure out when we pay them. I think I like the idea of a monthly allowance as a good way to teach budgeting.

Any other parents out there have some advice before I start this?

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4 thoughts on “do you give your kids an allowance?

  1. We’re all over the map on this one. And perhaps doing everything wrong. Amara is highly motivated by money, I don’t know if that make a difference. She is also not a ‘spender’. She saves and counts and saves and counts.

    1. She has a magnetic chore chart. The magnets say:
    Make your bed
    Set the table
    Clean your room
    Help with indoor chores
    Do homework
    Empty the inside garbage cans
    And she wrote “hug mom and dad” on an extra magnet.

    She is expected to make her bed and set the table everyday. She doesn’t need to clean her room everyday, or empty the garbages every day and some days there’s no homework to do.

    2. She gets allowance every week. Some goes into a ‘spending’ piggy bank and some into a ‘saving for university piggy bank’. Each Sunday she is also asked to take some coins from her ‘spending’ bank to church.

    The chore chart and allowance are only loosely related because like I said every chore isn’t necessarily done every day. However, Hubs really wants her to be responsible for putting on the appropriate magnets every day. He thinks we should take some allowance away for every day she misses. Me? It’s something I would totally forget too. So if I notice that she forgot her magnets after she’s in bed I usually do them for her. Because really? She’s an awesome helper 95% of the time.

  2. We don’t do allowance yet but the discussion came up at dinner. My friend has base stuff you have to do as part of the family and then incentives extra “chores” they can do to earn money thought it was a near concept

    1. We tried that for a few months and my kids stopped doing the extra chores when they decided I wasn’t paying enough for them. I just think tying chores directly to money ends up failing.

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