Should I give an allowance to my child? If so, how much?

This is a very common question asked by parents. They want to know how much, when to start and how to give it.

Some parents refuse to give allowances as they believe that children should learn the value of money first, understand what it takes to earn an allowance, and try to get it. Others use arbitrary rules. One of the most common ones is to give a dollar a week for each year of age. For example, a 5-year old will get $ 5 a month. Some parents may give $ 5 a week.

Another question that is asked is: Should the kids ALWAYS get an allowance, once it is given?

Again, it depends. If a child has behaved normally during a week, then yes, they must get their allowance. Sometimes, parents use a disaster-event (child breaking something precious or does something he/she is not supposed to do) to communicate the concept of “consequences” and the allowance for that week/month is forfeited. It is important that the child understands the reason behind the forfeiture. Alternatively, the parent can keep it aside and return it back to the child once the child has started behaving in the proper manner. It is upto the parents how they use these teachable moments.

Another question that is asked: Should I pay my child for chores?

This is a difficult question which has life-long implications. A child should do chores regardless of whether an allowance is paid or not. Rewarding them for chores that they should be doing anyway sets a bad precedent. In future, if the parent wants the child to do something, the parent should be prepared to hear “how much is it worth to you?” from the child. It is better to reward the child for the extra chores he does after he does them, so that the child is not doing it for the money. 

Money and its relationship to happiness is a very delicate subject. A child should not related money with being happy and vice versa. Society may throw such images to the child as he grows up and becomes an adult, but the child should be taught that having money is not a pre-requisite for being happy.

What do you think? How would you respond to these questions?

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 Uncategorized

4 Comments to Should I give an allowance to my child? If so, how much?

  1. Thanks for visiting my site. I find the issue of children and money very important today. You raise a lot of valid points about allowance and chores. I think kids today (not to sound old!) have the expectation that if they do something they deserve money or a prize. When I played bingo with 4th graders they wanted to know what the prize would be. When I said the experience (the fun of the game) was the prize, they all looked at me strangely. Same thing with the movies, it costs a lot to go to the movies (which should be the “prize”) yet then many children want $20 worth of snacks as well. This is common in our culture today. At report card time many children are rewarded for good grades. Yet, shouldn’t the desire to do well and be proud be enough. I fear the money/work ethic question is where the new generation will have great difficulty.

  2. Lisa Sam on January 30th, 2010
  3. this is a good question. when i was a kid i did not receive allowance but had to do some chores. my 9 yr old girl gets allowance her mom sets up with her. Just this very weekend she had $10 for doing good things and chores, but the issue was not the pay but how fast she could spend it. my wife and I had to tell her why are you pouting ? just because you couldn’t spend it. This is a very bad habit just because you have it doesn’t mean you have to spend it. I do not think she3 understood

  4. johnny davi on February 8th, 2010
  5. This is a good topic. I actually had the chance to contribute to a whole book on the topic (visit my site to get it, it is free!)
    I was given money when I was young on a regular basis, mainly for good school work and extra when I did extra stuff. What I like about money coming in on a regular basis is that it is a good way for kids to start learning to manage their money, know what to save, understand what to live on, etc. At the same time, I think it has to be attached to some form of an effort. I think money should not just be given for the sake of giving.

  6. Florence Bernard on March 11th, 2010
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