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Should Children Earn Their Allowance?

By Independent Bank March 5 2020 Savings Tips

A few things to consider

Jolly girl preparing a salad with her mother in the kitchen

Should an allowance for kids be awarded in exchange for completing chores? Opinions differ. Some experts believe that having kids earn their allowance helps teach them that money does not come without work. Others feel that rewarding kids with money for doing chores obscures the message that everyone in the household has the responsibility of contributing.

It's really up to you to decide how you feel about chores in exchange for allowance for kids. Keep reading for a closer look at both sides of this issue, along with some suggestions and tips to making allowance a meaningful teaching tool in your children's lives.

Allowance as a Corollary to Income

Parents who choose to give allowance for kids in return for completing chores look at allowance as a corollary to income. This approach does mirror the job-income relationship that adults experience later in life. Your kids learn that if they want money, they need to work for that money. They learn that they do not get things handed to them just for sitting around and having fun. In this case, chores and allowance are one teaching tool.

Allowance as a Separate Teaching Tool

Parents who choose not to give kids allowance in exchange for chores often feel that doing so may make their kids feel that all housework and daily responsibilities are rewarded monetarily. As an adult, nobody pays you for washing your clothes or doing dishes — so why would you pay your children for completing these tasks?

These parents are not typically against giving an allowance, in general. Many do give their kids an allowance, but they look at that allowance as a separate teaching tool from chores. Assigning chores teaches kids responsibility, and giving them an allowance to spend helps teach them to manage money. Chores and allowance, in this case, are two separate teaching tools.

An In-Between Approach

Maybe you've reviewed the points above, and like many parents, you can see both sides. You want your child to learn that they need to work for their earnings, but you also want them to understand that everyone is responsible for basic tasks like cleaning. Here's the good news: you can take an in-between approach.

Give your children a specific base allowance each week, regardless of whether they perform their chores or not. Spend plenty of time coaching them on how to spend this allowance. For instance, you can teach them to save a certain percentage, donate another percentage, and spend a certain percentage each week. Let them make cash purchases in stores and count the change they get in return.

Also allow your child to earn more money by completing "extra" tasks at home. For instance, you could reward them with an extra $5 if they help you vacuum out the car, paint the fence, weed the flower beds, and so forth. Make a list of tasks they can complete for extra allowance at any point. This setup teaches them that if they want to make more, they need to work more.

Allowance can be an excellent teaching tool. Having money to spend and save helps teach kids financial responsibility. The only question is whether or not you want the allowance to also teach the concept that money only comes from work. And even if you innately feel that separating allowance from chores is the best approach, you can still teach that lesson with the "in-between" approach described above.

All in all, it's up to you to decide what's best for your kids.

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