Friday, March 25, 2011

Should kids get an allowance?

Love and Logic says Yes!  But, oddly enough, they do NOT suggest tying an allowance to chores.  Why?  Because chores are something everyone in the family does to contribute to the family.  They are part of being needed and valued by the family.  Chores teach responsibility.

So, how do you handle  allowance?
  1. Give a set amount once a week on the same day every week.
  2. Tie the amount to age and predetermined needs. 
  3. Let your children "overhear" you talking to another adult about how you had to save several weeks (or months) for something or how you can't buy something specific because your saving for something more important later.  (I'm not going to buy a fast food lunch everyday now because I am saving for a new blender and if I take my lunch I can have a new blender in 3 weeks)
  4.  Do not give advances.  If a child runs out of money or spend it unwisely, simply lead with empathy and then reply, "That's okay don't worry, we give allowance on Saturday morning.  You'll get more then. " 
  5. A child may choose to use their allowance to pay someone else to do their chores.  If  a child does not do their chores, you can deduct from their allowance the amount you had to use to pay someone else to do it.
  6. It is okay, for you to pay a child to do chores you don't want to do that are above and beyond their own chores.
  7. What if they save their money and want to spend it on something you think is ill advised?  Don't rob them of this valuable lesson.  Be prepared in advance to give empathy. 
Hint for teens:  Give an allowance on Sunday.  This means that if they have weekend needs, they will have to save it through the week to be able to use it on the following weekend.  If they have spent it and don't have money for weekend plans with their friends refer to #4 above.

5 comments:

  1. Did the author of the Allowance write up mean to say, "As long as we're not talking about the value of money but rather soemthing you think they will grow bored with or that will break...don't rob them of this valuable lesson. Be prepared in advance to give empathy."

    In other words, yes we can teach them about value by stopping them from buying something way over priced? But bore-dom and cheap things that will break are ok for them to buy and learn the lesson?

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  2. Thank you Anonymous! The author, me :), appreciates that my sentence structure in #7 needed improvement as did the clarity of what I meant. I have changed it in this new post.

    However, there are two ways to approach the issue. Yes, parents should indeed teach children the value of comparison pricing. So the parent could say yes to the purchase but with a proviso that comparisons be done first. This also models delayed gratification.

    However, sometimes experiencing consequences while the cost of the lesson is relatively small (the younger the better)is a great way for children to learn.

    Also, I want to be clear, we were talking about the child's "own" money here not a purchase they were begging the parent to make for them.

    Having said the above, I invite you to experiment with these ideas with the understanding that every parent has to figure out what works for them.

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  3. Thanks for the clarification...

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  4. any recommendations on what age to start an allowance and how much to pay? Our oldest turns 6 next week and wasn't sure if this is a good age to start?

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  5. Children may be old enough for an allowance as soon as they are asking a parent to buy things for them. They may not yet understand the full value of money but the conversations you have together around whether they have enough to buy something will help that grow. It becomes a teaching tool. 6 is a great age. Remember that letting them make mistakes and learn from the consequences of doing so will often be hard on you and them.
    One child bought a toy that was cheap and flimsy. It broke soon after purchase. The wise parent gave empathy and even asked, "What are you going to do about that?" The child asked to return it but had not saved a receipt. Mom and Dad helped him plan his talk with the manager in advance.The store manager offered to replace the item but could not give a refund without a receipt. Many lessons were learned that day.

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