More Thoughts on Allowance and Kids

By Mike

I have received several comments with regards to my previous posts about giving an allowance to my children. I presume this is a very touchy topic since it links to 2 major things in our lives: money and our children. While we want the best for our children, we also want to use our money wisely and teach them to do the same. What is the best way of teaching money management to your kids? I have no clue! However, I still have more thoughts on allowance for children:

#1 Never use the allowance to punish your kids

I don’t think that using the “you won’t get your allowance if you don’t behave” would be a proper way to do it. If you want to give money to your kids, establish simple rules leaning towards recognition instead of using money to punish them. It has been proven that encouraging good behaviours is a better way of teaching than by threatening. However, I don’t think you should be giving money away for everything either!

#2 Do not cover for them

If you set a specific amount as an allowance, this should always be it. If the purpose was to give your children the sense of responsibility towards money, you must not cover for them if they are missing a few bucks to buy the video game of their dreams. Who would give me additional money to buy a BMW? Nobody”¦ this is why I don’t drive one!

#3 Make allowance realize your kids’ dreams

All right, your son won’t be able to gather enough money from his allowance to go to Disney World. However, I think it is a great thing to show him how quickly he could gather a few bucks and have a great time buying toys at the dollar store. I am not in favour of seeing my kid spending all his money on frivolous toys, but he also needs to reward himself once in a while. If not, saving money will feel like the biggest chore of all ;-)

#4 Promote values such as generosity, responsibility and independence with his allowance

If you want to show your kids that giving is a good thing in life, start with his allowance. I have noticed that many of you are telling their children to either put money aside or give it to charity. And you know what? I think it is a marvellous idea! I really see money as an amplifier. Just as you can do really bad things with money, you can also use it to achieve great things. Giving to charity is one of them.

Chores or not to chores?

After all the comments regarding the incremental value of being part of the family and to not get paid for doing chores (as it is part of what family members do), I am still divided. While I want to make sure my children understand that they won’t be paid for every single little thing, I also want to show them that money doesn’t grow on trees.

I remember when I was 8, I actually tried to charge my parents because I shovelled a bit of snow around our door. My father looked at me:

“You seriously want to get paid for this?” he asked me with a stern look.

“Of course! It was not part of my chores and I did it anyways. This means I should get more money” I replied filled with confidence and pride (I considered myself quite industrious at that time to charge for extra chores!).

“All right, here’s a quarter” he flipped it towards my direction and I was left with a stupid quarter for a good hour of work (or so it seemed to me back then!).

This quick money lesson was enough to show me that I might get paid to do some chores, but it was to encourage me and provide me with an allowance. It was not meant for me to become a cleaning machine to earn more money.

I guess this is the kind of lesson I want to teach my kids!

Author: Mike.

Image source: the ritters

2 Responses (including trackbacks) to “More Thoughts on Allowance and Kids”

  1. Ron Says:

    Great story about shoveling snow — I did something similar with my 9 year old (now 10), and told him that there were two lessons:
    1. Always know in advance if you’re going to get paid and how much.
    2. Helping out around the house isn’t always going to result in payment.

  2. Victorino Says:

    We should teach our children that money isn’t bad as long as we don’t use it badly. Money can be a power and a tool that’s needs responsibility. If we can guide our children to proper handling of money, we can teach them to become responsible and known how to value things the right way.