How many parents pay their kids an allowance these days?  Hmmmm? 

Well, I’ve sharpened my perspective on an allowance. I absolutely do not believe that children should receive an allowance just for being those cute little wonderful beings we created. I do however believe that children should be given the opportunity to earn a “work pay” for chores they do around the house. The way to raise money savvy, responsible adults is to teach them when they’re small. Money literacy does not come by accident — it comes by intention.

For my own thirteen year old, we designed a work week with one main chore a day for five days a week. She’s expected to do something every day but if our schedules get too hectic she can double up on another day, however all chores must be done before Friday’s payday. My daughter really bought into this for the first couple of weeks then began slacking. When she came for her work pay, it was not the agreed upon total.  (A good rule of thumb: the weekly total should match their age, hence a ten year old would earn $10 per week).  When my daughter looked in the envelope, she had a questioning look. I explained to her that if she did not do her work she did not get paid. Just like in the real world when you don’t go to work, you get docked (you can save the sick time discussion for another time).  This message rang clear and she regrouped the following week and committed to getting her chores done.

Children should understand there are things they are expected to do as a contributing member in the household and there are chores they can do to earn their work pay. I suggest sitting down and mapping it all out together. If they buy into what you are trying to establish they will be more likely to participate. Teach children to earn, save, donate and think through their purchasing decisions. By the time they are adults working real jobs, they will have the foundation to be respectful of the money they earn. Children who want to make a large purchase could be given the opportunity to earn extra money by doing additional chores.

Too many parents are parenting through guilt and the outcome is a generation of children who feel entitled, and their unquenchable thirst for more “stuff” fuels them, yet leaves them empty inside. When children have to contribute in some way to the purchase of their desired item, they are more likely to appreciate, respect, and enjoy it.

More next time on: Teach children to earn, save, donate and think through their purchasing decisions.