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The Beginner’s Guide to Allowances

Jun15

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Advice Smackdown ArchivesAmalah is currently on maternity leave. In her absence, however, she’s just as tethered to the computer as ever, and will be using this space to ask you — our intrepid Advice Smackdown Commenter Crew — questions. What’s been baffling her, as a parent, you may wonder? Why, she’s so glad you asked!

Dear Internet-Wan Kenobi,

So. Chores. Allowances! What do you guys do? I am thinking it is time to start the whole allowance thing around these parts — Noah is five and a half, starting kindergarten this fall, already regularly doing some very basic chores (albeit with a LOT of reminders), and starting to generally lust after specific, pricey toys at the store. (LEGO sets. Always, always with the LEGO sets.)

Currently, we have a sticker chart that includes a couple chore-like duties (letting the dog outside, making your bed, clearing the table) along with more general behavior-type things (no tantrums, first-time listening, etc.). The stickers are, for now, the only real incentive, though we do count the stickers at the end of the week and if he hits a certain number there is an extra reward, like a small toy or seeing a movie or going out for ice cream. I sense he might be outgrowing this, and that it’s time for him to really understand just how much ACTUAL MONEY even that small toy costs. And that he’s ready to have some agency and actual ability to save up for that precious, precious LEGO set he wants so badly.

So…I’m curious. How much of an allowance do you think is appropriate for a five-and-a-half-year-old? Is there a nice magic amount that hits the sweet spot between “yes, you actually have to SAVE for awhile” and “it will take the poor child 300 years to save up for what he wants because holy CRAP, these toys are expensive”? I remember starting off with just a couple quarters a week as a child, but then again, the objects of my desire were $5 My Little Ponies, not LEGO sets that start at $15 and go well over a hundred.

And even more important, how much responsibility should come with that amount? I would like to add setting the table or something similar to his chore list, and would also like it VERY VERY MUCH if he would actually *do* the stuff we’re already asking of him *without* the daily reminders. (We already say that if a tantrum or whining accompanies the chore, like throwing a fit the first time he’s asked to clear up his toys before bed, he forfeits the sticker.)

Any and all insight would be muchly appreciated. By me and my LEGO-lusting kid.

Amalah

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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35 Responses to “The Beginner’s Guide to Allowances”

  1. Wallydraigle Jun 15 at 11:16 am Reply Reply

    My kids aren’t anywhere near this age yet, but I liked the system my parents had (20 years ago, so you may wish to adjust for inflation).
    .
    I got a dollar a week, no matter what. That probably sounds a little nutty, but they wanted me to understand that my regular chores were just part of being a member of a household. It’s not something you get paid for. But then there were other extra chores I could do for more money. I now suspect that my dad’s shirts kept “losing” buttons because he liked giving me nickels for sewing them on. I must have sewed a hundred buttons a month. That sounds so sweat shop-y. It wasn’t. I still like sewing buttons.
    .
    Anyway, I was the youngest of five, and my parents were kind of tired by the time they got to me, so they didn’t really help me with the budgeting end. But I did like the way they handled the paying end. I think it was a good mix of instilling good work ethic, preparing me for adulthood with a house of my own, and learning exactly where money comes from.

  2. Let me ask you a question, how much allowance is appropriate for you… or me?

    Here’s the answer: NONE.

    I’m glad you are coupling allowance with chores, however this makes the word “allowance” no longer have any meaning.

    Allowance means payment without any effort given. What I recommend is to put the jobs around the house up on the chart, include amount paid to each job, and then hold spaces for CHECK MARKS where he accomplished each job.

    At the end of the week, add it all up, and that’s what he should get.

    If he does not do the chore properly, he doesn’t get paid.

    Regarding how much, think about how much you would pay anyone to do any of these chores. Treat him as if he was any other person. Because when he goes into the real world, that is how everyone else will treat him.

    It’s our job not to skew reality for children as they grow older.

  3. I also want to add that I like wallydraigle’s comment that normal chores are for being a part of the household.

    Cleaning his room is HIS job, not yours.

    Only pay him for things that he doesn’t HAVE to do.

    Thanks, Wally!

  4. Zinna Jun 15 at 11:27 am Reply Reply

    Totally in the same predicament. We started trying an allowance (not chore-based $$ but weekly allowance) of $5. We figured a buck a year. It didn’t really take and WE weren’t consistent with it so we gave up.

    Now that our son is 6, we started again. We got him his own wallet (with his name on it) and we kept the allowance at $5. We’re TRYING to instill that if he doesn’t have the wallet with him, he can’t buy whatever it is he wants. Also, he has a piggy bank so any change he gets goes directly in the piggy bank and that money is his “savings.”

    It’s a small start and we’re still working out the kinks. It’s especially hard when he doesn’t have his wallet with him. It’s hard to tell him he should have it with him all the time because I don’t think it’s realistic. We just try and remind him that we’re going shopping and that he should bring his wallet. It’s also hard b/c then there’s his younger 3-yr old brother who also wants stuff but obviously too young (imo) for allowance or a wallet. Oy.

  5. Suzanne Jun 15 at 11:29 am Reply Reply

    I’ve heard of, and am quite a fan of the “reverse allowance” method.

    I haven’t gotten a chance to try it out on my own, but the basic gist is supposed to be that you don’t get money for “doing” chores, you are assumed to have to do them anyway. If someone else has to do your chores for you, your allowance gets subtracted accordingly.

    This eliminates the choice factor. (I don’t need money this week, so I won’t make my bed and no one will be upset) and turns it more into a “If I don’t make my bed, mom will be upset, AND I won’t get my dollar.”

    The difference might seem subtle, but I still like this better than the pay-for-work-done idea.

  6. Katie Lee Jun 15 at 11:47 am Reply Reply

    My allowance was also not tied to chores for the same reason Wallydraigle cited: chores were not a job, but part of our family life. We were always allowed to do extra work for extra money only once all the regular chores were done. I remember my allowance being 5-ish dollars at that age, which still seems reasonable to me: if he wants a 15 dollar LEGO set, and you pay him on the same day every week, it would only really take him 15 days to save up the money. That’s really not that long for an item of that value. I was only a little older than he was when I had to save something like 24 dollars for one of those glorious large-size stuffed Troll dolls, and I did it really easily despite being a kid who never ever saved her spare change. My mom would chip in sometimes if i had done a good job with saving AND my chores/behavior, so maybe if he gets to say, 12 dollars and he’s had a good week with the stickers, you could chip in the rest and cite his good behavior as the reason. I think it’s hard not to associate the chores with money but that might be a fair compromise… like getting a bonus or something.

  7. Megan Jun 15 at 11:58 am Reply Reply

    I started at 5$ a month as a kid of 5 or so, eventually reaching 20-25 until I got a job. I was a hoarder – mom would hit me up for easy cash. What I would have hated, but could have really learned from was a taxing system. I’ve seen families deduct “taxes” from allowances using the savings for family activities or as “insurance” for broken things. That could have been helpful for when I finally got a real paycheck and had to think of savings, health care, etc. you know, all the fun deductions that decide your take home.

  8. Hadley Jun 15 at 12:15 pm Reply Reply

    No children here, but my parents did the haphazard approach for a long time with me and my brother. Over the past few years, I’ve done the Dave Ramsey program and his idea of comissions is really good for motivating children to do their chores and make their money. Additionally–it teaches them to (1) give, (2) save, and (3) spend. With the haphazard approach my parents did, I saved only and my brother spent only. Both of those are not good balances. You can find lots of info on his approach online.

  9. Heather Jun 15 at 12:20 pm Reply Reply

    I always got an allowance, but it wasn’t tied to chores.  As a member of a family, it was assumed I would help out with certain things every week and my parents didn’t pay me to do them. Sometimes I would have the opportunity to “earn” money by doing something extra, but my general allowance came to me regardless.  I don’t remember how much it was, but I think for my children, I will do $1/year/month.  So my 5 year-old will get $5/month.  That may increase as they get older, before they get a job (since just going to the movies once would cost a 12 year old the entire amount!).  I will encourage my child to put some money into savings, but also encourage him to spend appropriately.  But, it will be their money to spend as wanted…

  10. Lorinda Jun 15 at 12:22 pm Reply Reply

    We give our kids, starting around 3 years old, 50 cents per year of age at the beginning of each week. They have to save half for a safety net in college and the other half they can spend on anything they want. My oldest (7) has purchased a few wii games with his own money and was over the moon. The youngest (3), just likes putting the coins in the piggy banks. We use dollar coins and quarters because 1) they fit in the banks more easily and 2) they look like “treasure.”

  11. Jen Jun 15 at 12:47 pm Reply Reply

    We bought one of those “responsibility charts” (the one we have is by Melissa and Doug). It has magnets – about 20 to choose from – that have different jobs on them. Then there are other magnets that you use to mark when the child has done that job on a given day. Both of our kids (7 1/2 and 5) get five cents per magnet, and we pay up every Sunday and then clear the chart to start over for the next week. Things that they should do just because they are in the family (picking up their dirty clothes is a prime example) aren’t included on our chart (even though there are magnets for things like that). I really like that the chart we have has generic “Help Dad” and “Help Mom” magnets, which lets us think of any sort of job that we’d like a little cheap labor to help us out with. I like that it’s totally up to the child and his motivation as to how much allowance he ends up earning. I think our 7 year old’s record is somewhere around $2.50 for the week.

  12. Jessie Jun 15 at 1:17 pm Reply Reply

    Like Wallydraigle, I received a weekly allowance no matter what and I was expected to do chores every day as a part of the family – no matter what. I think when I was a little older than Noah I received $2.00 a week. Then again that was 30 years ago…I’ve heard a lot of parents give a dollar per week for every year of age (age 5 = $5.00/week). That might be a little steep, I don’t know. I did receive extra money for really big jobs – the kind of jobs you might hire someone to do, and the kind of jobs that Noah is too little for. Finally, I was always expected to save 1/2 of my money (in a savings account) and 1/2 I could spend however I liked. Maybe that sounds extreme? But I am a really good money manager – and housekeeper! Just sayin’…

  13. Sarah Jun 15 at 1:17 pm Reply Reply

    Have you heard of the Jar system? I think you do four jars – one long-term save, on short-term saving, one spend, and one give/charity… My son isn’t old enough to do allowance yet, but I’m thinking of going this route. Along with an incentive (matched funds?) for long-term saving.

    It seems like the short term savings would be a good way to save up for lego sets…

    There is a good summery here: http://www.tipsonlifeandlove.com/parenting/the-four-jar-allowance-system-for-kids

  14. duchessbelle Jun 15 at 1:20 pm Reply Reply

    I never got an allowance (tiny violin) but I like what my aunt did with my cousins. They got some easily splittable amount ($2/week in elementary school, $10/week upon middle school) and they each had two banks. Half of everything (allowance, birthday money, Christmas etc) went automatically into savings and could not be touched and were put towards something big. They told the kids that when they got their licenses they’d match whatever was in savings towards a car and by the time they both hit 17 they each had thousands of dollars. So, they were able to have the saving for a short term goal because crap is expensive and longer term savings benefit

  15. Amy Jun 15 at 1:26 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t believe in giving kids money for chores. I don’t get money for doing the 10,000 things I do in our home to keep it running – I do those things because it’s part of being a family – we all must do things to help our family function.

    “But Mommy, I don’t LIKE to clean up!” Oh yeah, well Mommy doesn’t LIKE to clean toilets…

    I take them to the nearby university to do language studies so they can earn money for toys and stuff. With 8 grandparents, they always seem to have some money in their piggy banks. We drop our loose change into the piggy banks, too, occasionally.

    When they get a little older (right now they’re 4 and 5) and they start wanting more stuff, we might let them think of “jobs” (beyond chores) they can do (perhaps for the neighbors?) to earn money, but it hasn’t been an issue yet.

    If they want stuff, I e-mail the Amazon link to the grandparents for birthday/Christmas gift suggestions.

  16. professormama Jun 15 at 1:40 pm Reply Reply

    Our son is just finishing kindergarten (he’s just turned 6). He’s been getting $5 each week as long as he clean his room and generally does his chores (clearing his plate after meals & putting his dirty clothing in the laundry bin etc.) If he doesn’t clean his room by then end of the weekend, no allowance. I think this has happened only once or twice.  He can also earn money for additional chores, if he’s clean the litter box he gets $2, so if he’s trying to save up for something expensive he’ll do this job quite a bit, if he’s not saving for something, he never does it. He can get paid a dollar or two for helping his grandparents with weeding, or for vacuuming at home. 
    Toys ARE expensive, and we have thought a lot about how long is reasonable to save up for something like a bigger lego set, before you know the whole thing seems pointless and crazy. Also, we live in an expensive city, so if he wants to buy an ice cream it can cost almost $5 (we buy him ice cream too, but he is allowed to spend his money on things like that if he wants).
    What has been really great, is that he really understand money now, we’ve been doing this for a year, and the child saved and saved including some money his grandparents gave him for his birthday, until he had enough to buy this crazy giant Lego Egyptian Pyramid set (the thing is like $120.00).
    He counted out the money from his bank, put it in his wallet and we went to the store, and he looked at the lego set really carefully, and decided that he’d rather not spend all that money on that one thing (even though it is cool!) and he bought 2 Bionicles and 2 Bakugan instead, and took home $80 to put back in his bank.  He is planning on saving up the amount he spent to “maybe buy the pyramid later”.  KIds really do think differently when it’s THIER money, and they have an understanding of it’s value based on earning it.  We’ve also spent a stupid amount of time in the toy store helping our son do the math to compare toys based on price. AND, we always talk about the difference between “saving” and “saving to spend” so he has an envelope in his bank that is strictly saving, not for spending, and he puts a portion of his money in there. 

  17. Melissa Jun 15 at 1:43 pm Reply Reply

    Hey there…

    My input is very similar to what I’m reading already here. We give our 5 (almost 6 year old), $2.50 a week (50 cents per year) – no matter what. Our philosophy is that as a member of our family, the expectation is that he will help keep our household running. He does things like take his dishes to the sink, help fold laundry and put his own away, feed our dogs (not all the time, but often) and keep his toys picked up.

    We got this really cool piggy bank which has separate slots for saving, spending, donating and investing and he splits his money up into the different slots. http://www.amazon.com/Money-Savvy-Generation-BLUE-Pig/dp/B0002HRWBQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1308159618&sr=8-3

    BTW: Amalah I like your idea of scoreboard. I think it would be helpful for us to implement “bonuses” for 7 days of no tantrums and such. He does receive consequences for that behavior, but, timeouts in his room don’t seem to prevent the tantrums, so maybe switching tactics will work better….

  18. eva Jun 15 at 1:47 pm Reply Reply

    I’m here to 3rd the “allowance is to learn to save and budget, chores are cause you live here” camp. But really, my almost 6 year old daughter gets $1 a week so I can say, no I’m not buying that, but you can save up for it if you’d like. She can also earn money doing extra chores, and she’s saved up for multiple $10+ items. 

  19. Susannah Jun 15 at 1:55 pm Reply Reply

    From the time I was 5 or 6 up until I was 16 and got a part time job after school, my sister and I would get our age in dollars weekly. So when I was fifteen, I got $15 a week. But additionally, as an incentive to either save our money or be mindful of what we spent it on, if we were able to account for where our last week’s allowance went (beyond just saying “I spent it”), dad would throw in another few dollars. I never did well with that part but my sister could save like a champ!

    I do think that to get our allowance we had to do some general chores, just keep our rooms fairly clean, make our beds, help clean the kitchen after dinner, etc. Things like that. And I’m sure that if we didn’t do them we wouldn’t have gotten our allowance but we just always did them so I don’t know… I think I remember a few instances where my sister and I would have had a big fight or something and neither of us got our allowance that week but I’m pretty sure we agreed to not let that happen again. I liked sparkly things too much and I’m sure she was saving for something very expensive and responsible and it probably threw her off schedule. Everyone does it differently but that’s what we did!

  20. Katy Jun 15 at 2:03 pm Reply Reply

    There are some really great books out there on training your children to become good savers, understand the value of a dollar, etc. One I’ve heard good things about is “Debt Proof Your Kids” by Mary Hunt. I read her “Debt Proof Living” a few years ago and it was pretty helpful, so I imagine the kids’ version is probably good, too!

  21. Taima Jun 15 at 2:32 pm Reply Reply

    When I was Noah’s age, I got five dollars a week for doing my chores/getting good grades/not giving too much lip.

    Here’s what my mother did since five bucks even back then wasn’t honestly enough for much of anything. She would hold onto the money to save for me until I had saved up enough for a big toy that I wanted.

    She’d also do matching with me if a toy was waaay expensive and was something I really wanted. My birthday is in October and since Christmas is just two months later, I had a long span to go without a chance to get presents from anyway. 

    As I got older, my allowance got upped. My older brother thought he should get more, so my mother agreed to give him more, but she doesn’t buy him anything extra. He has to buy his own fast food, he has to buy his own movie tickets, he has to buy his own everything, but he gets a ton more than I do.

    I do pay for my own “funsie-wunsie” things, like trips out of town to go shopping. But my mother buys my bus tickets to and from school, pays my phone bill, pays my Internet bill, and gives me a set amount of money for lunch every week. If I want extra money, I can do some extra chores for her.

    I really love the price matching, because it takes a long time to save for anything, and when I was a kid I would have felt like I did a ton of work for very little pay off.

  22. BMom Jun 15 at 2:52 pm Reply Reply

    I’m a fan of the “allowance to learn about money” and “chores are part of being a family” school and not tying them together too. Nathan Dugan has some good stuff at his sharesavespend website, as well as some good books!

  23. karen Jun 15 at 2:58 pm Reply Reply

    Money management is a great topic and I need to figure out my strategy too, but after reading the question and all comments in a row, I was struck by the slight absurdity of how privileged we all sound, contemplating how to best allocate moo-lah to our offspring. How many people in the world would love to have our problem? :) :)

  24. Dani Jun 15 at 3:04 pm Reply Reply

    We have this bizarre reward system built on aquarium rocks. My son is a hoarder of rocks so while you did stickers, we do rocks. We only give rocks for positive behavior and once given they are never taken away. (With truly atrocious behavior, they have been put in “storage” but are returned when good behavior returns). This system works amazingly well for us.
    The catch is, that he spends his rocks like money. It’s 5 rocks for a movie, 3 for a wii game, 10 for a party at a friends house, 10 for any special trip (zoo, museum, park etc). We still do these things spontaneously as well but if he requests it then he pays for it. We also do it for library books. He can get two library books out but each additional book is 1 rock.
    In addition, when he wants a toy. He can save up and each rock is worth a dollar. So if he really wants something badly, he will ask us for things to help out with or be extra special awesome to his sister in order to get more rocks.
    I really like this method because I don’t feel like I’m just handing him cash and he’s getting the idea that all of these things we do are related to his behavior and good behavior gets you more things. He’s also getting the idea that a big lego set means a LOT of good behavior and that he has to save them up.
    By the way, he’s 5 and a half. Hope this helps!

  25. Christy Jun 15 at 3:05 pm Reply Reply

    So, we have a kind of different system here – we have what we call a “red coin jar”. Basically our daughter – 4.5 – gets red marbles to go in her jar for going “above and beyond” in different ways. We have a “store”, aka basket in the corner of our room. We buy items she’d like and put them in the store and assign a number of red coins to them – and she saves up for the items.

    I like this system because it does teach her the basic idea that she needs to save up for things, but doesn’t make it completely impossible for her to reach her goal. Some things are tricky for her – she probably could earn 4-5 red coins in a good week, and we have store items priced at 18 red coins – but it’s still manageable for her and she doesn’t lose interest.

    Also, if there’s something she sees at the store that she really wants and we agree that it’s something that would be good for her to have, we buy it and put it in the store. She still has to earn it but it’s there.

    When she’s a bit older we’ll probably move to actual money and get her into the idea of saving; charity; etc. For now though, this works and is giving her the basics.

  26. Sally Jun 15 at 3:27 pm Reply Reply

    My boy loves legos too, and we’ve found that doing a matching-funds sort of program for earning legos works well. That allows us to count each sticker as a dollar or a quarter or whatever seems reasonable, but still buy the $50 set without a huge wait. He also has the option of getting the $25 to spend on something else. We only match funds for legos, books and books on CD. If he wants something more frivolous like an action figure or a nerf gun, then we don’t match.
    We also did a chart for piano practicing where each day was 25 cents, but if he filled in the WHOLE week without skipping a day then he got $5 instead of $1.75. The extra value for a whole week inspired him to practice every day, without skipping a single day, for more than two months.

  27. Heather Jun 16 at 7:31 am Reply Reply

    I don’t have kids yet at all, but I would like to share my parents’ approach to allowance. Like so many commenters above, my base allowance was simply there, my spending money as a family member, and I was expected to help out with routine chores as needed (dishes, putting away my clean clothes, etc.). I also had the option of earning additional money for chores that were not part of the daily routine; when I was about 12 I earned close to $30 for taking down all the ceiling tiles from the drop ceiling, painting them, and putting them back.

    One twist was that from the earliest days of my allowance (4-5 years old), I had a “bank” for savings. To start I had one dollar per week, provided in quarters. I was expected to put one quater in the plate in Sunday School and at least one quater in savings. My dad made up a passbook and recorded my deposits, withdrawals, and monthly interest. My savings was for semi-long term items as we took a lot of road-trips during my childhood and this way I had my savings to spend on souvenirs and mom and dad didn’t have to deal with my demands for junk in the same way; they just had to help me budget so I didn’t spend it all in the 18 rest areas/visitor centers we passed through before reaching our destination!

  28. Brenda Jun 16 at 11:25 am Reply Reply

    My five year old son gets a $3 weekly allowance: one dollar to spend, one dollar to save and one dollar to give. What this really means is that he saves up $2 a week most weeks for what he wants (like a DS game). Added in to the periodic grand-parental $5 gifts that arrive, that allows him to periodically buy the more expensive things he wants.

    I like the idea of having money for short term goals, long term goals and charity. (In our case it’s a church, which makes it easy for a kid to donate.) Those are the money habits I want to teach my children. I have not tied allowance to chores, but every once in a while offer him extra money to do a chore outside his usual responsibilities.

  29. professormama Jun 16 at 12:59 pm Reply Reply

    I have to just comment again, because I’m off work- so I can!  Lots of comments on allowance being for learning about money and “chores are just part family etc.”. I didn’t mention in my already too long comment, that we separate the “jobs” our kids do, so there are the things you do because you are a part of the family, like clean up after yourself etc. and then things that are “work/a job” like a big-clean up and organizing of the kid’s room at then end of the week, cleaning the litter, washing dishes etc. These are things that are above and beyond what we expect in terms of day to day and genuinely helpful to us. It has helped explain that money is EARNED, not given out for just being here. My husband and I both work, so we can pay the bills, and the bank machine isn’t just giving out money, and paying the kids for specific jobs has helped them understand that.  Th idea of an allowance with no clear focus on where the money comes from (and why!) is a luxury.  My son actually understands the reason for currency as a result of all the questions he’s asked, because you know, he doesn’t want to get paid in the nutritious vegetables I feed him for dinner, and I don’t want to give him money to play with his toys. But getting the litter box cleaned for $2 is totally worth it!

  30. annabelvita Jun 16 at 2:47 pm Reply Reply

    We always got ten times our age – so at five I’d have got 50 pence a week. But we only really bought sweeties from the corner shop with it! Legos must have been presents.

  31. Jenn Jun 17 at 10:30 am Reply Reply

    I give my kids (10 and 6) their age – $1 per week. This may sound like a lot, but I have found it works. They actually have to save up for things they want, like Legos or DS games, and they understand that if they spend $5 on pokemon cards and candy, it will take them another week just to get back to where they were. We also offer them the option at restaurants to either get a soda (we don’t allow any soda at home, just at restaurants as a treat) or they can get water and I will give them a dollar. I think this helps them understand that EVERYTHING costs money, and everything is a tradeoff. They get their money each week regardless of chores. I did originally tie their allowance to their chores and was told several times “no thanks, I’m good, I have enough money this week”. Oh HELL no. Treating their allowance like payment for a job implies that they have the option to quit their job, or take a week of PTO. Chores are something we do in my house because we are part of the family. Allowance is a separate tool to teach them the value of money.

  32. Jennifer Jun 17 at 3:58 pm Reply Reply

    There’s a good summary of studies on kids who got unconditional allowances vs. tied to chores here: http://money.bundle.com/article/allowances-welfare-for-kids
    Basically, the overall idea of the article is that unconditional allowances foster an entitlement mentality and undermine learning the value of work.  I think this may be extreme, but going with a mixture of the two seems fair. Even though our son is 5, he doesn’t have an allowance yet.  We plan to start when he starts kindergarten as a sort of entry in to big boy/school age benefits and responsibilities (like homework and such).  He has simple chores, and we will often give him change for completing other jobs.  

  33. Nysha Jun 18 at 4:05 pm Reply Reply

    My advice is to keep it simple or you won’t stick with the program. Since you’re already using a sticker chart, I would figure out how much I felt was reasonable for him to have a week, divide by however many stickers it’s possible for him to get each week, and at the end of the week he gets paid for each sticker.

    I had 5 kids (now 18-25) and some were motivated to do their chores because of their allowance and some could not have cared less. We started chore charts when the oldest 3 were in Kindergarten & 1st grade. The chores had to be done without reminders or tantrums and right the first time to get a sticker, but they had to be done even after they lost the sticker. So there was no “I don’t need the money, so I’m not going to do the chore” attitude.

  34. Rebecca Jane Jun 21 at 3:26 am Reply Reply

    I had mixed success with allowances with my children. My oldest responded well and took on the extra responsibilities we asked for and was rewarded with pocket money. Our younger one on the other hand, even when a year or two older than we started with our eldest just refused to do anything and allowances just weren’t an incentive he was interested in

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