May 18, 2012 Posted by: Liann Walborsky
Kids plus chores equals allowance, right? Not so fast. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal took the issue to task describing two different ways to look at this age old conundrum. I must admit that I found the discussion fascinating and relevant. With two daughters, ages 8 and 12, I am always unsure of how best to dole out the money while still making certain that they remain responsible in the home and understand that this tree is not limitless.
According to the article, there are two basic ways to approach the issue. The first method views the allowance as “payment” for doing specific chores around the house. The child is responsible for, let’s say, taking out the trash and emptying the dishwasher, and is paid for these tasks on a weekly basis. This, according to some experts, teaches kids that you do work, and are compensated, as you would be in a job. The opposing view is that certain behaviors are expected as a “citizen of the house” i.e. cleaning your room, brushing your teeth, setting the table, and money can be earned for doing extra work. The thought behind this is that kids will feel good about helping out — simply because they are a productive member of society — and then can earn money for doing the kind of work a parent might pay someone else to do — such as cleaning the garage or washing the car.
The two “philosophies” view the handling of money differently. One sees it as a natural reward for work well done. The other sees the process as developing a work ethic — leading to accountability and the desire to succeed. And, what to do if the chore is not done? Again, one states that compensation should be held back, while the other does not want money used as a means to control — suggesting that the child should be woken up early the next day to complete the task.
And, what to pay these aspiring worker bees? The most common practice appears to be $1 per year. In other words, $10 per week for a ten-year old. This provides enough cash for a child to learn about budgeting and actually have the ability to save up for something.
Whatever your view about allowance and chores, all I know is that regardless of the rules and standards you put in place, things don’t always work out as neatly as you may have hoped. Sometimes chores fall through the cracks and you still end up taking your kid to the mall on a rainy day.
What do you do about allowance? Do you pay it? Believe in it? Tie it to certain tasks?
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