To give or not to give children allowance has been a hot topic for most parents. It’s the decision to know what age is appropriate to give allowance.
For years, my husband and I talked it over and would give the kids five dollars here and there. Now that my children are much older — 12, 11, and eight — it’s time to teach them just exactly how much things cost.
I have always thought children should not be rewarded for doing daily chores because those chores benefit everyone in our household. The daily chores range from finding the remotes for the electronics in the living room to making sure to put dirty clothes in the laundry room. Since my children were little and they wanted to follow Mommy and do what she did, they have helped me put the wet clothes in the dryer or put the dirty clothes in the washer. They are capable of doing their own laundry if they need to, but actually doing it is another story.
Once we made the decision to give our children allowance, after looking over our budget, we decided to give all three of them $20 every two weeks. We took into consideration what that $20 should include: Their clothes should be hung up and put away properly. Their rooms must be clean and all homework done. Backpacks are ready and lunches packed for the next day. (My children attend a school that does not currently have a cafeteria, so ensuring their lunches are ready for the next day is a big chore.)
The Value of a Dollar
Another motivation for us to start giving allowance was due to the kids constantly asking for things at the store despite our warnings of “do not ask for anything” in the car. When they were younger, it was not such a big deal — a doll, a board game . . . simple items — but now it seems iTunes gift cards for new apps, v-bucks for Fortnite, or day outs for my oldest with her boyfriend.
We decided it is beneficial to charge them for certain things. Although I struggled with feeling like an awful parent for charging my children for rent or Wi-Fi, after talking it over with my husband, we realized that if our kids don’t learn this now, when will be the right time to teach them the responsibility of saving and seeing their money grow?
We had a discussion with them about giving them allowance, and they understood what was happening and what that meant to them. We will always be able to help them financially no matter what, but we wanted them to learn that no one is just going to hand them money for nothing; it needs to be earned. Although it might seem like too major of a life lesson for children to learn, I believe this concept will grow with them.
My oldest is learning that tickets to the movies are not so cheap, but that some movie times are cheaper than others. My son is learning patience through the act of saving to purchase all those v-bucks. My youngest has learned that glue for her slime-making is a little expensive, and that she will wait until it goes on sale.
A Lesson to Grow On
We have successfully had our children on allowance for five months now, and we have had bumps in the road.
We recently had an attempted break-in. It happened to occur at the same time our children were given allowance. We made the choice that while we worked through the trauma of the break-in, we should not have them pay their “bills.” But they had come to the agreement that they wanted to pay them. The justification for this was due, in my oldest words: “The bills don’t stop because something bad happened.”
That was a big eye opener for me, that my kids could understand that — despite this break-in — they were being responsible and taking it upon themselves to ensure their responsibilities took precedence. I was so proud to learn that I thought I was teaching them a lesson, but again they were the ones teaching me.