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Is an Allowance Bribery?

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Ideally, we all wish our kids would do some chores around the house on their own accord, right? But that doesn't always happen.

woman handing child money

Single Mom Seeking: So, we've been doing an informal survey of moms about chores, and here's what we've learned:

Some of you don't believe in allowance because, you say, being part of a family means being responsible. You teach your kids to chip in and help out every day just because.

Some of you DO dole out extra cash when your kids help out: folding laundry, washing dishes, packing their lunches. It's not a regular allowance, per se, but an informal way of saying "thank you."

Still, some of you give a weekly allowance to your kids because you say this is a great way to teach money skills early on. When your kids need "extra" things, you remind them about their allowance and say this is a great way to learn about budgeting.

One of our favorite allowance ideas so far comes from a single mom who goes by KB Hot Mama. Here's why she set up three piggy banks for her son:

The first piggy bank is for his allowance: "He's allowed to spend a portion of his allowance on whatever he wants. He's made some bad decisions, and he's learned from them. What could be better than that?"

The second piggy bank goes straight into his savings bank. Enough said.

And the third piggy bank? After saving up, he gives to a charity of his choice.

"He has used the charitable giving bank every year to buy a Christmas gift for a child at a local shelter for abused women and their children. It's been an excellent learning opportunity."

Do you believe in giving allowance? What works for you? We'd love to hear from you!



next: Hey Pediatrician, No Candy for My Kid!
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Selfish Mom January 26, 2010, 10:24 AM

Allowance is only bribery if you set it up that way. My kids get an allowance for being part of the family. If they don’t do their chores, they get a punishment. One has nothing to do with the other.

griffmama January 26, 2010, 10:36 AM

How I handle allowance is this: I give my children a certain dollar amount each pay day and they decide how they would like to handle that money. Be it save, spend, donate ~ whatever.

I do ask them for help around the house at times and most times they are happy to ablige. If not at that time, they help on their own when they have time. But their allowance is not tied into helping around the house.

The result? They do “chores” around the house, they donate to charity, they save and they spend ~ all on their own.

Deanna January 26, 2010, 10:41 AM

I use allowance as a money learning skill for my daughter. She’s 11 now and has a good chunk in her bank account. Whatever she would like to save for with her allowance she has to match that total next and put it in the bank. So if she wants to spend $30 on a DS game then she needs to save $30 next and put it in the bank. Her allowance is based on following our rules and being kind to her family, as well as tidying up little things like her room. We don’t have a set of chores per say but we do expect her not to roll her eyes when we ask for help around the house. Willingly helping out and being kind earns her allowance. We dock her 50 cents up to a dollar every time she is rude and ignores our rules. She’s a wonderful kid who has never been in any real trouble. So perhaps this works for her.

We also give her money for ever A she receives. Whatever the grade that is the amount of dollars she will receive for every A (Grade 3 = $3.00 a week) Sounds silly, but this year she got 8 A’s and was so proud of herself and was even happier when she got $48.00 for doing fantastic on her report card. She thrives to do better every report card.

She seemed to young to really understand and grasp the importance of doing well in school so this was a little incentive to get her going. For years she has been a straight A student and for years I have been proud to give her a bit of cash for it.

Allowance seems to allow children to think wisely about where and what they will spend their money on. If things aren’t always handed to them and they have to earn it then it gives them better money sense. Not to mention it helps you to save for their future by getting them to bank a percentage. All in all my daughter is proud of herself when her monthly bank statement comes.

Monica January 26, 2010, 11:01 AM

Kids need money just like adults. Allowance is me giving them what they can’t get otherwise because they can’t get a real job to fill their “needs.” What they do around the house is part of their obligation as members of the family. No one pays ME to do laundry, that’s for sure. I’m not going to pay them to pick up their own stuff or clean in common areas. The catch 22 is that often the thing that may get their attention the most is taking away money if they don’t do what they are supposed to and I do my best not to go there. Instead, for my kids, love is in the form of the Nintendo DS and DSi so it’s easy to take those to work with me when things aren’t as they should be and they just have to wait until I get home to MAYBE get them back.

chris January 27, 2010, 9:40 AM

I don’t give my kids allowances for doing their “expected” chores…keep their rooms straight, keeping the play area straight, take out trash or empty the dishwasher but I have setup a system where I wrote out “extra” chores they can do to earn money. Those chores includes cleaning the bathroom, bathing the dog, replacing firewood, vacuuming etc. This way I let the kids decide if they want to make money or not. Both my kids really enjoying earning the money and don’t complain about doing chores to get it. Granted, they don’t alway clean up to my standards but that okay because I still feel they are both learning good cleaning skills and hopefully will get better as they continue to do them.

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 4:59 PM

Great information! Good reading. There’s a point to offer about t-shirts.

Casey Deavila January 25, 2011, 10:01 PM

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