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Pay Me Mom! How to Handle Your Child's Allowance

Pay Me Mom! How to Handle Your Child's Allowance

Pay Me Mom! How to Handle Your Child's Allowance

What’s the going rate for allowance these days? And should it be tied to chores? If you're curious about how other families handle allowance, you're not alone. Circle of Moms members have discussed the subject at length, and here we're share some of the most common points of view.

How Much?

"The going rate for allowance these days is $1 per age per week," Rhonda C. shares. Many moms agree with that rule of thumb, with the caveat that the family's financial situation also needs to be taken into consideration. As Michelle M. explains: “Allowance should also be proportional to your family income. If a dollar per year of age/wk is too much, I like the idea of doing that per month.”

When to Start?

Many moms recommend instituting an allowance around the start of grade school. Rachel F. relays: “I started paying my daughter $5 a week when she started kindergarten…She then saves her money and buys her own [Nintendo] DS games or other things she wants. It has been a good way for her to understand that things aren't free and has helped her learn to save!”

Allowance and Chores

Circle of Moms members also suggest several different ways of tying (or separating) allowance and chores.

1. Assign Each Chore a Dollar Amount: One option is to assign each chore a dollar amount, as Tammy R. does: “My son gets an allowance only when he does his chores. Each chore pays a certain amount of money for the week.” Brandi W. uses a similar system: "I only pay 50 cents a chore, but it adds up to a good amount by the end of the week... on average $5 per child."

2. Separate Paid Chores and "Family Chores": Other moms, including April H., suggest dividing chores into two groups. "Make a list of 2 types of chores--ones that they do as part of the family/household, and ones that they can do for $. Cleaning their rooms, clearing the table, feeding the pets and helping with dishes, those go in the first group. Extras would be like dusting furniture, washing windows, scooping poop in the yard/litterbox, weeding plants."

Kathleen C. agrees: "My kids are responsible for certain things like rooms and getting dressed and picking up after themselves. That's part of being a member of the family. They don't get 'paid' for that. Allowance is for extra chores."

3. Keep Allowance Entirely Separate From Chores: Another alternative is to keep chores separate from allowance entirely. Laura B. explains: “We don't attach allowance to work at this time because we feel that she needs to understand that successful families must work together, each doing their part to help each other out. That being said, we do on occasion give her a little extra reward when she goes above and beyond her tasks.”


What's your family's allowance system?

Image Source: khrawlings via Flickr/Creative Commons

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TracyColeman63077 TracyColeman63077 5 years
I disagree with paying children for chores. I don't get paid to wash clothes, keep the house clean, keep up the yard, fix dinner ect. it is just expected of "mom" to do all these things. My children are part of the family and should do their chores regardless. I pay for their piano lessons and karate lessons if they don't want to do their chores then they don't get the extra activities like lessons or going to the movies or the pool ect.
MandiStark5844 MandiStark5844 5 years
My daughter earns a 'commission' for SOME work that she does around the house... to teach her that life lesson that you have to do something to get something in return. This is the only way that she gets money. We learned this from Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and love it. There are some 'chores' that she has that are just part of being a part of our family, however, $5 per week if she does the 3 different 'jobs': Feeding the dogs, cleaning dishes after meals and helping sort laundry... teaching her to earn her money and learn to save at the same time. She is 6 and is probably better with her money than we are! I recommend Financial Peace University for everyone!!!
AlisonKennedy89631 AlisonKennedy89631 5 years
There are a lot of good comments here... We give our children, ages 6 and 11, $5 allowance per week for doing their chores and contributing to the household. Trust me when I tell you, they work hard for it. They have daily chores (ie, make bed, set table, wipe down table, etc) and then they have weekly chores (clean their bathroom and rooms, empty all the trash cans in the house, dust, etc.) We do not "pay" our children to contribute to our household, per se, as we are teaching them hard work is part of life. However, we do believe in rewarding a good attitude and due diligence...because we want to instill those character traits. So if they choose to do their tasks in this manner. we reward them with $5. If they whine and complain or do their half-heartedly, they must go back and repeat the chores...and they get docked pay. One way or the other, the chores are going to get done. But they get to decide how they are going to approach their work. They then get to use their money for whatever they want to buy, ie, a snack at the pool, saving up for a toy, etc. I like the fact that my children are learning the value of a $ this way; it is amazing to see how they "think twice" about wanting something when it is THEIR money paying for it instead of yours...
AricaWhetstone AricaWhetstone 5 years
I'm on a very tight budget and cannot afford to give my daughters an allowance. Thankfully, I'm blessed with 2 children who actually enjoy helping me with the chores and I almost never have to ask them to. When I can afford it, they get a toy or candy as a reward. They know mommy doesn't have much money and that I do my best. My mom has given me the notion "Needs before wants." I make sure my daughters have what the NEED before they get something they WANT.
MarnieJones MarnieJones 5 years
My 14 yr old gets $10 a week, my 9 yr old gets $5 a week. And this is just standard, no matter what they do. I expect them to pick up after themselves and clean their room.
ReginaPeraltaMcCarthy ReginaPeraltaMcCarthy 5 years
I firmly believe that chores are to be done as part of the family. Everything in this world is becoming so materialistic that it is almost ridiculous. If you feel like your children have been doing a good job and they ask for something that is a little different. Howerver you should always stay in your means. I know that my children are totally okay with this. They have also learned a lot of values. They do not take the things that we give them for granted.
ReginaPeraltaMcCarthy ReginaPeraltaMcCarthy 5 years
I believe there is no going rate. Household chores should be done because you are a part of the family and it is part of teaching you children. If they do what they are told and you feel like giving them money when they want to do something then that is fine.++
GillianIreland GillianIreland 5 years
I've always heard not to associate allowance with chores. However, perhaps a small amount for extra stuff would be okay. The book "Punished by Rewards" by Alfie Kohn is a great book. It says NEVER to pay for good grades, and that any time you provide a material reward it inherently decreases the child's interest in that very activity. I think that paying for good behavior (which should be expected anyway) is a slippery slope indeed. BF Skinner, although he had some good points, basically screwed up a lot of things in our society and we have been stuck in this "token economy" stuff for too long. Even schools are bribing people for good behavior. I know from experience that they really may not have a lot of choices, but intrinsic rewards are the best. I'm reading "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my kids, and I point out that the kids in the book work from dawn to dark and are happy to do so.
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