Friday, October 17, 2014

Pros and Cons of Giving Kids an Allowance

Giving Kids an Allowance1

For the past two years, The Kids morning routine looked something like this; I nag them to make their bed, put on clothes and clean their room, in the meantime, they completely ignore me and continue with their efforts to make their room look like a bomb exploded. I periodically threaten to take away all their toys and they throw a fit with promises that they’ll clean up. Rinse and repeat. Finally, I decide that I need to get something done and that means that their room needs to be clean. The interactions that ensue aren’t pretty and the next morning it’s more of the same. Sound familiar? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Last month I decided that I’d had enough. I needed to try something new. Something that I’d thought about before but figured that at age four, The Kids were still too young. I’d also avoided it because I believed that the talking heads said that it’s not always a great idea (don’t ask me why exactly). I figured that the cure had to be better than the disease so I jumped in with two feet.

I decided to give The Kids an allowance.

Truth be told, I didn’t think a lot about the Pros (or Cons) before getting started. I figured that if it was a real disaster, a few days wouldn’t be the end of the world. Here’s what I came up with.

Pros

  1. They complete a task and are positively rewarded by their Parents,
  2. They complete a task and earn money to spend as they wish,
  3. They learn that things cost money,
  4. They learn to save up for the things that they want,
  5. They learn that when they spend their money at the House of Lazarus, it goes towards supporting people in their community,
  6. Encourages counting,
  7. I follow through with my statements,
  8. They are ready for the day at an earlier hour.

Cons

  1. They think that they have to complete a task to be positively rewarded by their Parents,
  2. They think that activities such as making their bed, putting on clothes and cleaning their room is something that should be rewarded (as an extra) and not a chore that is required of all members of the house,
  3. They want money for doing other activities around the house,
  4. I no longer get to sleep in as they’re up and ready to go for the day by 8am. 8am!

Giving Kids an Allowance2

The Results

Since the beginning of this experiment, the Pros have outweighed the Cons, by a lot! Max took a few days to get going but except for one day, they haven’t missed a beat. They look forward to earning their daily allowance and understand when they don’t earn it. They haven’t asked for money for any other chores and have been as helpful as they usually are (that’s a whole other post on it’s own). They each have a wallet in which they keep their money. They are responsible for putting it in a safe spot and remembering to bring it on our weekly shopping trip to House of Lazarus. They’ve each made two purchases with their money and still have more than half of their earnings saved. I suggested that they keep their receipts so that they remember how much they’ve spent. As time goes on and their allowance increases, I’ll start talking to them about saving a portion each week. As for the Cons, we haven’t seen any of them yet, well, except for #4.

How much can The Kids earn each day? A whole DIME! As far as they’re concerned, ten cents is the same as a million dollars and I plan on keeping it that way for as long as possible.

Do Your Kids Earn an Allowance?

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8 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Giving Kids an Allowance

  1. Jessica Terry

    I don’t give my kids an allowance (yet) but I’m thinking about doing it for the stuff I don’t expect. So my kids are all expected to clean their rooms and make their beds and help clean the table after dinner. Things like helping with laundry or cleaning bathrooms would be something I would pay them to do. But we will see
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  2. ashley p

    my oldest would get one if he did what he was supposed to do. They are expected to help out when asked, as that is what families do. He is supposed to keep his floor tidy, bed made and clothes in hamper. He normally gets $5.00 week for this, but over the summer he stopped so the $$ stopped. There is a chess club at school, and cost $80.00 to participate (it’s not run by the school, but an outside source and you get a set to keep) that he wanted to participate in. We told him we didn’t have the money, but that if he went back to doing what he was supposed to, we would pay for it, but there would be no allowance until the money had been completely earned (or loan paid off). I think that kids should be given a household “job” that is their task, and paid to do it. Adults don’t go to their “jobs” and work for free. As you said, it helps with counting, learning the value of items and money etc. Last year, at 6 yrs old he was able to buy a Nintendo DS for himself by saving his birthday and allowance money
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    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Ashley,

      I like that your son has consequences for not earning his $5. I mention it to The Kids but they’re still a bit young with the cause and effect.

      Great point about the fact that adults get paid to do their job. As The Kids get older, I think that I’ll change their “job description” and call it that. Put items that aren’t critical to the daily success of the household but that still matter (laundry, dusting, etc).

      Besos, Sarah
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  3. Rene

    I don’t yet because I think the eldest is still young (just turned 4) – although I believe it’s SUPER important to teach money matters to kids, I worry that I won’t ever start an allowance…simply because there are so many differing opinions about how to do it, and I don’t want to screw it up!! Tie it to chores, don’t tie it to chores, etc etc.
    We do talk ‘all things money’ on a regular basis so I guess I am not avoiding it altogether!

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  4. Ali P

    Yes, my kids earn an allowance. I told them I’m not a maid and they can deal with their stuff on their own. I also give them a few extra age appropriate chores to do.

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