Should You Give Your Child an Allowance?

Guest post by Jenae from I Can Teach My Child

To give an allowance or not to give an allowance — that is the question!

Giving children an allowance has been an age-old debate. Critics of allowances say that children are members of a family and therefore should do chores around the house as their way of contributing to the good of the family. Proponents of allowances argue that it teaches children responsibility. What’s a parent to do?

This “problem,” like many problems, can be solved with just a little bit of compromise.

Yes, children need to understand that, as a member of the family, they are expected to pull their weight around the house. Each child should be given chores that are simply expectations — no monetary reward should be given. Even a child as young as 2 or 3 can help set the table and make his bed in the morning.

In addition to a child’s household chores, she can also be given extra jobs around the house for which she receives a small monetary reward.

There are many benefits to giving children an allowance, even as young as preschool-age:

  • An allowance instills in a child a sense of work-ethic. If a child completes her jobs to the expectations of her parents, she will receive her allowance. If she carelessly rushes through, however, she will not receive her allowance. These situations are powerful teachers to children and help them realize that they cannot give a half-hearted effort and expect to receive a full allowance in exchange.
  • An allowance allows children an opportunity to handle money responsibly. When children are given an allowance, they are in control of how that money is spent. Essentially, the money is theirs. If they choose to blow their money on ten packs of bubble gum, they will not have the money to purchase anything else. Over time, a child receiving an allowance will learn that money has value.
  • An allowance teaches delayed gratification. If a child works for his allowance and saves his money to purchase a special toy, he is learning to delay gratification. Once he has saved enough money to purchase that toy, he will have a sense of accomplishment and the toy will be that much more meaningful than if his parents were to just have bought it on their weekly trip to supermarket. Lessons like this one cannot be taught without real-life experience!
  • An allowance teaches a child to give. Prior to giving your child an allowance, a conversation regarding giving needs to take place. Children need to be told that God expects us to give back to Him. Everything belongs to God in the first place, so giving back to Him is just a small way we show our gratitude for the blessings He has given us. How much your child gives is a decision each individual family should make.

You can get started by creating a chart for chores that are family responsibilities and a chart for tasks for which a child receives an allowance.  Once your child has completed the tasks for the week, reward her with an allowance!

Jenae is a wife, mother of two boys, and former first-grade teacher.  She loves finding creative ways to save money, spending time with her family and sharing fun activities on her website I Can Teach My Child.

What do you think? Do you give your children an allowance? Why or why not?

photo by Tony Hall

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  1. Laura says

    I started giving my daughter an allowance at 2 years 4 months – not tied to chores – because she was READY for it. Her grandfather gave her a dollar one day, and she planned to take it with her to the mall to ride those little moving cars that you have to put $1 into to make them move. I think they’re a waste of money, so I wouldn’t give her money for them. But I was so impressed that a 2-year-old was PLANNING how to spend her money.
    So we decided to start an allowance so she can learn lessons from spending/wasting/saving/giving. Basically she pays for the frivolous things we won’t buy her, and we’ll be helping her learn to save for bigger things as time goes on.

  2. says

    I loved what our Love & Logic facilitator taught us about allowances: Never pay kids to do their chores; however, you can pay them to do YOUR chores. And when they receive their allowance on the designated ‘pay day’, as you get ready to dole out the allowance, you immediately take back a small amount called TAXES. (real life, right?) Then they set aside their tithing, and divide the remaining amount into saving & spending. However, make sure the given allowance is applicable to their choices, such as, if the child hasn’t practiced their piano lesson material appropriately, they pay you back (because you’re paying for the lessons) a pre-determined amount; if they didn’t complete some of their above-and-beyond chores reasonably, and you have to redo it, you reclaim some money back, etc. Also, everything they earn has to cover THEIR expenses outside of the home, such as birthday presents for friends, admission to movies, treats at the store, new Wii game, lunch money, etc.

    Lots to think about. THanks for the great comments!

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