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