Should Allowance Be Tied to Chores?
Q: My six year old doesn't receive an allowance. He's responsible for placing his dirty clothes in the hamper nightly and making his bed every morning. I don't help or tidy. He does well with accomplishing these two tasks without too many reminders.
We're open to suggestions on what kind of allowance would help give our son respect for money and the freedom to choose how to spend it.
A: Give your child an allowance so he can learn to manage money, but don't tie money to daily chores. Children make their beds because they sleep in them. Children help with the dishes because they eat food and dirty the dishes. Children put dirty clothes in the laundry because they wear them, dirty them and need them clean again.
As your son gets older, if he completes a task over and above the call of duty--gardening, washing the car, cleaning the basement--it's fine to pay him for it. When your son comes to you and says, "I've just got to have this new Lego set, can I have it, please?" respond by saying, "You've just got to have it? Well, I really need help in the garden. Five hours work will buy that Lego Pirate Ship."
How much money for allowance? Every family is different. One family gives a dollar a week per year of age. That might seem like a lot for some families. It's also important to designate just exactly what those dollars are for.
One 12-year-old, for instance, went from $5 a week to $40 a month. Seem like a huge increase? It was, but this tween was pushing for more control and wanted more money to handle himself. The $5 per week had been for candy or a special baseball card. The $40 per month had to cover movies, sports magazines and an occasional CD. The larger amount in this child's hand each month made him feel grown up--a powerful, responsible consumer.