It can be hard to decide to give your children an allowance. It seems like there are a million parents writing articles explaining that you will ruin your children if you give them an allowance. Well, they aren’t completely wrong.
There are definitely ways parents can ruin their children with allowances. To help you avoid these parenting pitfalls, I’ve identified where parents usually go wrong and how you can skip those mistakes.
1. Handing Out Money Arbitrarily
Some parents don’t have a set method to disbursing allowances for their children. Whether it is an irregular amount (whatever’s in mom’s purse) or at random intervals, this is an allowance no-no.
Without set rules regarding allowances, children may feel:
- Betrayed by parents
- Unable to save for things
- Frustrated by lack of regularity
- Money-related anxiety
With my family, Monday morning marks when we hand out allowances for the week. It starts the week off on a good note for my children and they enjoy the security of a regular allowance.
As for how much we give our children, we base the amount on the children’s ages. For every year of life, they receive $1. Since we start allowances at 5 years old, that would be $5 every Monday morning. It is a simple rule that allows for growth but the children won’t feel it is arbitrary.
2. Paying Children For Chores
Parents have been trying to incentivize chores for decades. Many parents have turned to paying their children to do their chores. However, this isn’t recommended for a number of reasons.
Children shouldn’t be paid to be part of the family.
Holding back the allowance when chores are poorly done creates a negative power balance.
Paying for basic responsibilities sets children up with false expectations for the future.
Instead, if you want to pay your children for chores, make the chores you do pay for outside their normal responsibility. So while you won’t pay your children for doing the dishes or laundry, you might pay them to cut up firewood or scrub the kitchen floors.
3. Giving More Money After Allowance Runs Out
A big parenting mistake when it comes to allowances is giving your children more money after their allowance runs out for the week. Children who get into the habit of expecting a monetary bailout have a hard time learning to be money smart. If you don’t want to become a walking, talking piggy bank, hold firm and don’t give your children more money after they spend all their allowance.
This rule can be applied to family trips as well, with a twist. When my family takes trips, each child is given a set amount depending on where we are going. On our trip to Disneyland, my children had $50 each to spend as they pleased but were warned they wouldn’t get more. My daughter tried to test this rule when she realized the Tinkerbell plush doll she desperately wanted cost more than she had left. It wasn’t easy telling her no, but she learned a valuable lesson in saving money that day.
There are many pitfalls for parents to navigate when it comes to giving your children an allowance but you don’t have to fall victim to them.