As a mother to four children I can easily understand that the decision about a kids allowance is difficult. Should kids get an allowance? On the one hand, kids chores should be done no matter if there is money tied to doing them or not. Chores are a responsibility and part of being a family. Everyone has things that they must do for the household, no matter if they get paid or not. I totally agree with that point of view. However, I recently changed my mind and here is why: there is logic to giving allowances.
Out of my four children, two are still at home with me (my 12 year old daughter Shelby and my 8 year old son Ben). I recently started giving the kids allowance ($5 each per week) because it accomplished several things, all of which are beneficial:
- It makes them eager to do their chores: they now understand if they don’t do the work, they don’t get paid or they lose money from their pay. This is a good basic concept for Ben to learn early! Because he has a learning disability, sometimes it takes longer for things to really take hold for him.
- It makes saying “No” a LOT easier: “Mom can I buy a book from the book fair?” “Can I get some candy from the store?” “Can I get a new toy?” – I can freely say NO to all those requests unless the child wants to pay for the items themselves with their allowance! This has saved me a lot of money!
- It lightens my chore load : they do some of the things around my house that I had previously done all myself.
- It holds them responsible: “Mom can I go outside to play?” Only if you have done your chores.
- They learn how to keep house: If they learn these skills now, they are more likely to take care of their home when they eventually move out on their own.
- They are learning to save: Ben saved his money until he has enough for the Lego Batman 2 Wii game (he also made sure to use a coupon!) and Shelby saved her money to go buy some new clothes at the mall (she did not spend one cent of her money once we were there – she decided the clothes were too expensive and not worth it!). When they ask for a large ticket item, I tell them to start saving their money. If it is important to them, they save for it!
In addition to chores and an allowance, I have recently started a “Kids Cook” night. One night every week, the kiddos are in charge of cooking dinner and making dessert. Since I plan my menu in advance, they decide on a few dishes and desserts they would like to make that month and I put them on the menu. Again, this lightens my load and teaches them life skills and responsibility.