For the most part, many of us may be able to look back to our days of youth and recall being awarded a small allowance each week or month. For some, this allowance may have been a reward for completing a list of chores around the house and in other locations; for others, an allowance was an automatic benefit provided on a routine basis to allow the child to have a sense of independence and minor spending power.
Of course, now that we have children of our own, we generally find ourselves looking back on this system of monetary reward and questioning whether it’s right for our own kids. Should we reward our little ones with money every week? How much should we give them? And should it be based on task completion, or given with no strings attached?
There are no absolute best practices when developing a system of allowance for your kids. However, it may help to take into consideration certain ideas before simply opening up your wallet each week.
Should I Give My Kids Allowance?
Over the years, the topic of allowance has been given significant consideration by parents nationwide. And, many (although not all) have come to the conclusion that an allowance should be rewarded for tasks completed; specifically, that children should be given a set amount of money each week or month, as long as they finished their chores around the house.
And, of course, this may look like a healthy system; to be sure, it represents a reward system whereby children are compensated for doing a good job around the house. However, there are a number of negatives to examine about this scenario that may make you immediately reconsider.
For one, many parents may find it difficult to keep track of the results of the completed tasks every week; naturally, parents get busy, and may not be able to make sure that the kids cleaned their room or put away all of their toys. Here, though, the parent generally still feels an obligation to give their child the allowance, regardless of their ability to verify the results. As such, the child is getting money without being held to any standards, and the system falls apart altogether.
In addition, creating a system of rewards based on completed tasks may help your children learn about a mercantilist system, but at a certain expense; specifically, they may no longer be interested in helping out around the house without the promise of extra compensation. And, if you ever decide to add tasks onto that chore list, you can be sure that your children will ask for a raise, as well.
Instead, it may be more beneficial to adopt a system of allowance that has two distinct layers. To elaborate, begin by giving your child an allowance each week throughout the year, one that is not tied to any specific chores. That being said, this shouldn’t be seen as a free pass to shirk responsibilities; to be sure, your child should still be required to perform daily and weekly tasks around the house to help out.
Then, on other occasions, present your children with the ability to earn a bit of extra money. For example, allow them to make a few dollars by raking the leaves during the fall season, or let them shovel the driveway for a reward. This will incentivize hard work, but won’t always link it to extra money.
Finally, if you children are receiving money each week, you should also consider linking this with monetary responsibility as well, in a number of different ways. You can have them pay for their own concessions when you go to a baseball game, or even pay their way to the movies. Naturally, the monetary responsibilities can increase with age.
When Should I Start My Kids’ Allowance?
Once you have decided to offer an allowance, one question remains: when should I start my kids’ allowance? This is up to you, but it may be best to do so once your children understand the concept of money and the power it holds in society. Although at first glance it may seem slightly premature to give your toddler allowance each week, doing so can help teach him or her the importance of saving and spending.
And you don’t need to give much; instead, start with a weekly allowance of one dollar per year of age, and increase that with each birthday. In addition, make sure that some of that gets earmarked for savings so that your child can save up for something special later on.
Learning About Money
Are you unsure about the best time to start giving your child an allowance? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Instead, read through this simple guide and help your little ones learn the importance of money.