Many parents give their children allowances for completing chores or just so they can have pocket change. It is my belief that while allowances teach children to earn and manage their own money, there are other ways to instill responsibility and accountability amongst children that do not involve a weekly stipend.
I simply do not believe in paying children to clean up their own mess. Teaching them to do their own laundry, wash dishes and take out the trash will go a long way in stressing the importance of cooperation and collaboration. These are life long skills individuals need in order to be successful throughout their lives and careers.
For parents still interested in rewarding their children, consider using play money instead of real money as part of a rewards program. Utilizing a point system of some sort, give your children play money and inform that if they reach a certain amount, they can redeem the play money for a prize.
The prize could range anywhere from a Happy Meal to some other sort of trinket that does not cost a fortune. This way you are not spending $5.00 per week or more in allowances, which adds up quickly over the course of a month and can be substantial within a year. Just get creative and minimize your expenditures.
My children do not get allowances. They have the privilege of living in our home and eating until their hearts are content. Frankly, I cannot afford to give them a weekly allowance at this time and have never made it a practice to give them money each week. However, when they perform well in school they get to choose their rewards. Last week, they received progress reports and both of them asked for a big bag of their favorite snack chips. So for less than $4.00 I was able to express how proud I was, as well as, motivate them to continue excelling in school.
I never wanted my children to feel like I owed them anything or send the message that anytime they did something around the house they were entitled to payment. So I made a decision early on that allowances would not be a mainstay in our household. Not being able to sustain the practice is also another concern. I cannot imagine the shock many children must have experienced when millions of parents were laid off during the wake of the most recent recession and their allowances went away.
Whatever decision you make, take steps to teach your children how to manage their money. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your children feel adequate or appreciated. Remember you go to work, you pay the bills and you take care of them. The least they could do is clean their rooms and take out the trash.