Allowances for Kids: A How-to-GuideDevan McGuinness
When I was younger we had a chore schedule that we all had to get done, with one day off a week. It helped keep the household running and helped teach me the things that I needed when I was older.
We had kitchen cleaning duty, dinner making once a week, a laundry schedule, and we had to keep our bedrooms clean. Obviously I kind of hated it as a kid, but now that I am running my own household, I can appreciate how much it taught me and will be planning to start a similar schedule with my kids.
My oldest is now 6 years old and there has been a lot of discussion between my husband and I over when and if to start an allowance schedule with the kids. It’s a good way to teach them about money, finances, and working hard for things that you want.
Click through for your how-to-guide on allowances for kids:
What age to you start?: Many experts agree that the best time to start giving an allowance is when your child can get a grasp on the purpose of money. If they can understand that in order to bring things home from the store, we must pay for it with money. Having some discussions with your kids about money, cost and working hard for money can give you some insight on when they are ready for an allowance. Many kids can grasp this around the same time they start school.
School grades or house chores?: There are some debates on what you should center your chores around— either good grades in school or house chores. Some believe that focusing it around school work is similar to adults getting paid for going to work and that house chores are a necessary part of life and part of living in a house together so should not be financially rewarded. Others feel that getting good grades in school shouldn’t be a focus for money. It all depends on what you want to do, I don’t think one way is necessarily better than the other. Either way you will be encouraging your child to learn that hard work is important in order to get what you want.
How much to give: I don’t remember what my allowance was when I was growing up, but there is a handy allowance calculator you can go to and determine what is the best for your child. The standard seems to be $1 for every age your child is (ie: 6-year old gets $6/week; 8-year old gets $8/week). Many experts believe that it’s good to encourage your child to not spend the entire thing and to help them set up a bank account/savings account or savings bond.
How to encourage along: There are a lot of ways to encourage your child to keep up with their chores and ways to make it easier to them keep track of their progress — kids like that. If you’re going the route of house chores, putting a list of chores in a bucket and having your child draw out a chore for the day can be a way to keep it more interesting for them. Having chore charts with stickers when they’ve completed or a goal board counting down how much they have left to contribute until they can purchase what they’re after are all good ways to keep them motivated while they are younger.
Chores are a good way to help teach kids about financial responsibility, give them the tools for important life skills and will teach the benefits of working hard and the rewards when you do.
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Photo credit: adapted from kenteegardin/Flickr