Monday, 25 October 2010

Together or not together - that is the question!

Chores and allowance.

Together or not together - that is the question!

Every family has to decide for themselves what they feel is best, but since this is my blog, I get to share my opinion, which is, of course, the right one! ;)

Our children receive an allowance as a priviledge of being part of our family and because we want to teach them how to manage their money. You can teach your kids all you want about how to handle money, but it sure makes a lot more sense to give them a hands on opportunity to learn - reality is a great teacher! And if you give them the opportunity to learn to handle their money when they're young and dealing with small amounts, when you're still around to give them guidance, they will be much better prepared to handle the larger amounts that will come when they're older.

For us, allowance is a tool to teach them stewardship. We want to teach them to be good stewards of the money that God has blessed them with. We want to teach them attributes like how to be thrifty, trustworthy, shrewd, faithful, effective and generous.

It's also comes in very handy when you're at the store and they're asking for stuff (toys, candy, etc), I can simply tell them - "Sure, if you pay for it with your own money!". The amount you decide to give your kids will be determined by a number of factors, including how much you can afford to give, how old they are, what they are expected to be able to purchase with the money and how willing you are for them to learn things the hard way! We currently give Emma and Sophia $2/week and Olivia $1/week.

We have these My Giving Banks that are divided into three sections - bank, store and church. Each week they put 1/4 of their money in the church section, 1/4 of their money in the bank section and the rest they can put in the store section.

There are also these cute Money Saving Pigs that actually have four sections - they include an "invest" section as well. That is a really nice option! There are some great tips about how to teach your children about saving, spending, donating and investing on

However you do it, teaching your children to distribute their money like this is absolutely essential - unless you don't want them to donate, save or invest their money - then feel free to just let them spend it! And, just like anything we teach our children, how our children see us managing our money will influence them a lot more than anything we may say. Make sure to walk the talk!

Now on to the chores....

They do chores because they are part of our family and we all pitch in to help contribute to the running of the household. Teaching them to do chores obviously helps prepare them to run their own households - something both genders need to know how to do. More than likely, they will live on their own for awhile before marrying, and even if they don't - their future spouses will appreciate them having this practical knowledge and putting it into action. It also teaches them responsibility, cooperation, determination, consistency and how to work hard. It also prevents them from developing an attitude of entitlement - where everyone else exists to serve them.

We have decided not to link the two together and here are some of our reasons why....

First of all, we don't feel like it contributes to either of those goals, especially not the second one. I don't want them to feel like contributing to our household is optional, or dependent on how much money they will get for the task. I don't want them expecting to get paid for every little thing I ask them to do. And, looking way down the road here - when they get older and start to earn their own money, I don't want them to not bother with the households tasks because they don't need their allowance money anymore.

Secondly, though they need to learn that work = money, they will have countless opportunities to learn that soon enough. They need to learn that some work you do for no pay, simply because it's the responsible thing to do. Nobody pays me for unloading the dishwasher, so why should I pay them to do it for me? And certainly no one's going to pay them to make their bed or clean their rooms when they move out. But their future spouses will certainly appreciate it if they do, just like we appreciate it now.

Third, we can still give them the opportunity to earn extra money by having them do extra chores - going above and beyond the normal expectations. Cleaning windows, cleaning out cabinets, repainting the shed, etc, are all good examples of wage earning opportunities.

Fourth, keeping track of what chores they have and have not completed, and tallying up what they are owed just sounds like a make-work project to me, and I don't know about you, but I certainly don't need any of those!

Allowance can be used as a teaching tool where chores are concerned. For example, if a child is consistently not performing their chores, I can decide to use their allowance to pay their sibling to do the work for them. If it's cleaning their room - odds are good they don't want their sibling cleaning it, nevermind having to pay them to do it! This is getting them used to reality as well. I can decide to wash my car, or I can decide to go to a car wash and pay them to do it for me. Same idea here - natural consequences. The job needs to get done, if you don't do it, you need to pay someone to do it for you.

Alternatively, you can use other incentives to get chores down - whatever works for you!

So, that's my 2 cents. What's yours?


Chelsea Rae said...

I totally agree. The two will be completely separate in our house as well, for mostly the same reasons.

My best friend's family did the neatest thing for chores. They all had their daily/weekly chores than no one got paid for but every Saturday morning her mom would write a bunch of chores on their white board each with how much the chore would pay. I think we will do something very similar to that. It's also a great way to bribe kids into doing the chores you don't want to. ;)

LaughingLady said...

I like your approach. We always struggle with whether the two will be linked, but then we struggle with HOW they will be linked! I like that you have very specific educational reasons for giving an allowance and for expecting chores to get done. Maybe that's the FOCAL POINT we've been missing.

Miriam said...

I agree as well. My parents sometimes had chore charts for us, but not so that we EARNED our allowance - it was so that our allowance could be docked if we DIDN'T complete our chores, or if we were complaining and whining about having to do them. I've just started giving John an allowance, and we've been telling them that their chores need to be done because they're part of this family and live in this house, and they need to help look after things. Allowance and chores are completely unrelated at this point, although I wouldn't hesitate to start docking it down the road if there was too much shirking or whining going on.


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