Giving kids allowance? Yay or Nay? There’s so many different thoughts on this subject: Do you pay a regular allowance to your kid, only give them money when needed, or have them do special chores to earn money?
When my husband and I got together, I had two daughters, ages 13 and 3; and he had a son age 4. He previously would just give his son money or toys whenever. My daughters (the older one, because what is a 3 year old going to do with money….lol) would get money when needed. I would decide if behavior had been going well, and give them money to buy a toy.
So, you can imagine us trying to come up with a compromise that we would all be happy with.
Kids Allowance Negotiations
My husband suggested that we give a set allowance each week for doing their household chores. This included making their bed, cleaning their rooms, and setting the dinner table/cleaning up after dinner.
I disagree with this approach, because if the child doesn’t really care about money, then they can say they’re not going to help set the table or make their bed because they don’t need money right now.
Handing kids money for no reason, like “every Friday you get this little chunk of money” doesn’t work. I don’t get handed money for no reason; nor do I get handed money for cooking dinner, doing laundry, or cleaning the house. In my opinion, that leads children to feel entitled.
The Compromise on Allowance
We came to an agreement of having a Chore List. Dave Ramsey has a good article here, and he calls it Commission Allowance. I don’t necessarily follow everything Dave Ramsey says, but I do agree with this system. As a matter of fact, we were doing this long before I knew he was.
What Our Kids Allowance Plan Looks Like
Our kids are all expected to do what we call their “normal household chores”. They should make their beds every day, straighten up their rooms, help set the dinner table, and help clear the dinner table. Sometimes, there are other household things they are asked to do as a member of this household to keep it running. We explained to them that we, as the parents, do not get paid for normal household things, and they will not. That making your bed and putting your clothes away are things you have to do to keep your house running.
Inside the pantry door is a piece of paper that has extra jobs listed with an amount you would be paid to complete it. Now, are these items really household things that an adult who owned the house would normally do? Yes. However, this was the best compromise we could come up with for our kids to earn money, but still learn about household responsibilities.
Age Appropriate Chores
When the kids were younger, there were easier chores on the list: dusting, taking out all trash cans in the house, or dusting the baseboards. As they got older, we would add to the list. Eventually, harder tasks were add like: mowing, cleaning up dog poop, vacuuming, sweeping the garage, cleaning the blinds, etc. Each household would really have different items on the list as to what normally needs done, or what the parents don’t want to do. LOL! I don’t want to clean up dog poop, so that is a higher ticket item; especially, if it hasn’t been done in at least a week. That commission actually gets negotiated before it’s started between the child and a parent depending on how big of a job it would be that day.
How Our Kids Allowance Has Worked
The way we do our kid’s allowance has worked very well over the years, and I believe has taught them that you have to work to earn money. We have one kid who quite often does a commission chore, because that child likes to save money. Other kids in this house, may do the occasional chore because there’s something they want to buy and they don’t have saved money to spend.
I know there are many different thoughts on this subject, because in writing this article I did some research; and, even in our household, there was a lot of discussions on how to make it fair. Each household needs to use the system that they think will work best for their family. When we were deciding how to handle our kids allowance, it was nice to read all the different pros and cons.
Hopefully, this article will help your family come to a decision on what works best for you. This system has worked wonderfully for our family. I’m just hoping that our kids will learn that you don’t just get handed money, and that they learn to handle their money wisely. I’m hoping as they become adults, they will be able to budget their money wisely.