Every parent has gone through this issue. Do you pay your kids for doing chores and household work? I never got an allowance growing up. We were very poor and could barely make ends meet. Paying us kids was the last thing on the list. My dad (I did not live with him) would pay me for getting a good report card. That was the only time I was paid for doing anything. My husband and I always said we wouldn’t pay our children to clean up things that they messed up. That hasn’t changed. But, what did change was my focus on financial for my children.
We decided that teaching our children financial responsibility was very important. In order to accomplish that, they have to have a little bit of their own money. My children are still very young (9, 7, and 4). They each have different responsibilities and duties in order to earn their allowance. Each job must be completed with a good attitude as well. I want to train them to have good character as well as financial responsibility. They go hand-in-hand.
My oldest son has a little more to do than his little brothers. Since he is bigger, he can handle more heavy duty chores. Here is a list of things he is responsible for:
- Emptying the dishwasher in the morning
- Vacuuming once a week
- Taking the trash to the outdoor trash can
- Washing, drying, and putting away his own laundry
My middle son has more to do than my youngest. He is a little guy but very tough so I give him harder jobs to do. Here is a list of things he is responsible for:
- Helping to clear the table after dinner
- Collecting trash from the smaller trash cans throughout the house
- Feeding the dog
- Putting away his own laundry (he is getting lessons on washing his laundry)
- Sweeping the entryway
My youngest son is only four years old. He actually loves cleaning. He is the one who takes initiative and does things without being told. I do give him a list for himself. Here are a few things he is responsible for:
- Making the beds (he just pulls up the covers and tidies the stuffed animals)
- Taking out the dog and letting her back in
- Putting away his own laundry
- Cleaning up the toy room (mostly keeping the floor clear)
- Putting shoes away
As you can see, these duties don’t really go beyond anything out of the ordinary. As they become older, they will have more jobs to do. They will also earn more money. The allowance gives them something to look forward to for helping me around the house. I have a hard time getting it all done (I have a chronic condition that limits my abilities). They are a huge help and I like to reward them for a job well done.
The way we teach them how to be smart with their money is splitting their money three ways. The first goes to tithing or giving. We tithe at our church and we teach them that giving to a Godly purpose is most important in life. When they give, they are helping others who may be less fortunate or do not know God. It is our responsibility, as Christians, to help those in need.
The second part of their money goes into savings. Teaching our children to save for the future is so important. I don’t expect them to save for their first house or car just yet. But, I do expect them to save a little of their money for something they may want. It gives them a goal for their money. It also gives them a little cushion for when they do want something big. They will have the money available. They will also have money for gift purchasing during the holidays. They love to buy gifts for other people. This will give them a little help in that department.
The third part of their allowance is for spending. They can go get something they really want. Since their allowance isn’t very much, the most they could get is an ice cream cone from McDonalds. But, if we are out and about, they can ask me to pull over and they can purchase it for themselves. I don’t splurge on junk food very often so if they have some cash they can get a bag of chips or a special snack at the store and I won’t mind.
I know a lot of people really hate the idea of giving children an allowance. I mean, why pay them for being part of a family? But, the more we thought about it and the more we prayed about it, I felt led to teach them finances by giving them a small allowance. I grew up very poor and my parents were very irresponsible with money. We always pawned stuff to pay bills or buy food. We lived in 14 different homes by the time I was 13 years old. I don’t want my children to live like that. If we start teaching them at a young age, they will carry it through their whole lives.
Rainbow Resource Center has tons of financial resources for your family. Check out their website for more information.