There comes a time in every child’s life when they should be given the opportunity to earn an allowance. An allowance is a right of passage into tween and teen-hood that helps children learn the responsibilities that are associated with money as well as the chance to gain an appreciation for how much things cost and all that they are given in their lives! Giving children an allowance should be something that is done with strings attached and consequence or else children risk becoming self absorbed, ungrateful and spoiled!
While many people feel that allowance is warranted when children do chores like making their bed, putting away laundry or vacuuming pause should be taken to consider the message. By doing this children are taught that they will get paid to do the things that really only amount to being self sufficient. Children should do certain chores like those without allowance and because they are expected to be a valuable member of the household and contribute in the ways that they can. Similarly, paying them for doing well school is only compensating them for something that is their responsibility. It would be like paying them to use the bathroom or take a shower. Allowance should be given for things that perhaps go above and beyond the normal and daily routine of life. This will encourage children to pitch in and help their parents and all the while raise their awareness of how much work goes into living.
For instance, if your daughter decides on a whim to cut the grass even though this is not their job this should factor in to their allowance. This rewards them for willingness and earnest effort that is beyond the call of duty. Some things though should be daily chores and not necessarily carry an extra monetary value. The best way to work allowance is to let children know the most that they can expect each week. If that amount is $10 which is more than reasonable for children under 16; then when payday comes parents should discuss with them what was accomplished, what could have been better, and reduce the amount accordingly. If little Susie didn’t do her homework every night as agreed upon or forgot to perform her after dinner duty of clearing the table then perhaps a few dollars should be taken away. This is just like if mom or dad decided to skip out on work for a few days they would not earn the same paycheck they would had they showed up every day.
Why Give Children an Allowance?
Giving children allowance also helps to teach them about responsibility with money. There is one kid in every home who will willingly spend every last dime they have on the dumbest toy at the dollar store just to spend it. When they have no more money and want a non necessity they should be told they have to save for it. Eventually it will click that by saving their money they can purchase what they want or continue to save for that new mini-laptop they have been coveting. If parents just hand over everything to children who are already getting allowance as a way to make friends or show love they are letting them down in the responsibility department. Some kids may learn this lesson in a matter of weeks and others may learn it in years or never; but either way their money personality can have a big impact on their success later in life.
Another reason kids should be given an allowance is because it does show that they are respected and appreciated themselves. It also enables them to have some sort of control in their life. Monetary autonomy is a gift and even as adults many people are in situations where they have to ask permission or explain their every purchase. By making money and control synonymous you are setting your child up for an unhealthy attachment to the green stuff and perhaps an unhealthy marital relationship down the road. By giving children allowance and relying on them to make their own decision about that money even if you disagree you are proving that not only do you reap what you sow in life but that they are smart and capable enough to handle something as important as money. For this reason, a parent should always stay out of the way their child spends their allowance.
As far as appreciation goes, allowance definitely can boost that. Children at such a young age are inundated with so much stuff that clutters their rooms and yards that they really have no idea how much things cost or what goes in to getting all that junk. They aren’t given the opportunity to understand what they really might need or want and are almost forced to be unappreciative. For parents of older children that is the chief complaint; that their children are ungrateful. But as a parent you must realize all that you have done to facilitate that. This of course doesn’t mean that a child should be reminded at every corner how much something cost but they should be able to learn concepts that revolve around waste, needs versus wants and excess! Giving children allowance is something that shouldn’t be denied and should be done with a sense of faith in your child’s good sense as well as with the open air of providing an opportunity to teach them something useful about life!