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Tips on Giving a Child an Allowance

Updated on May 26, 2018
Setting an allowance can be difficult but it is do-able.
Setting an allowance can be difficult but it is do-able. | Source

We all looked forward to it as a child. Getting an allowance was one of the greatest things of my childhood. I remember going to the store and buying whatever I wanted with my money, proudly giving the cashier the money and feeling super important.

But, when it comes to giving allowance, when is the right age to start? Honestly, I think as soon as you are able to justify allowance, start giving it. It is a great incentive for children to behave and/or do chores around the house. Here are some tips on giving allowance.

Giving Allowance for Toddlers

Giving allowance for toddlers may see like an over-the-top thing, but, especially at age 3, when they are able to understand and WANT things from the store, they should learn the value of earninig their own money if they are able to.

For chores at this age, they can't do much. Cleaning up after themselves is about it. But, at this age when they are testing their boundaries, giving an allowance for good behavior is a good idea.

Remember to establish what an allowance is and how to earn it. When my daughter was three, she got 50 cents a week for good behavior and helping where she could. She put it all in a piggy bank for savings.

Giving Allowance for Preschoolers

During the preschool age, they are able to start doing more chores like sweeping and plastic dishes. My daughter, who is 4 now, is really having a hard time with listening and doing what she is told to do. So, I have adjusted her allowance mainly to be based on how well she listens.

Along with doing what she is told, she is also expected to do age appropriate chores. If she wants to go above and beyond what is expected, she gets extra privaleges and points that she can reimburse for treats and special activities.

A chore chart doesn't have to be fancy.  As long as it gets the job done, it's fine.
A chore chart doesn't have to be fancy. As long as it gets the job done, it's fine. | Source

Keeping a Chore Chart

By this age, children should be able to identify different chores by pictures. My daughter is able to tell where her name is on a chore chart and with drawn pictures, can tell what chores she needs to do during the day. For every chore she does, she gets 10 cents and for every chore extra, for tasks that go above and beyond like wiping counters, she gets 25 cents. She gets to put her earnings in a cup above the chore chart and at the end of the week can choose to cash-out or save her money for interest (10%).

Our chore chart was easy to make and consisted of a cork board, paper, a couple Ziploc baggies, and thumbtacks.

  1. I cut out rectangles with all the names of the household members and for the chores. I also wrote out days of the week.
  2. On the left of the cork board, I thumbtacked everyone's name (using Velcro would be easier).
  3. I placed thumbtacks next to the names for the chores. I put 5 thumbtacks next to the names.
  4. Every day, I rotated the chores depending on the skill level. I gave all the harder chores to the adults and kept the simple chores to my daughter.
  5. I put the rest of the chores (unused) and the days of the week stored in a bag attached to the cork board.
  6. I hung the cork board at my daughter's level in a place that is always walked past. That way, she doesn't have an excuse not to look at it.

Giving Allowance for School-Age Kids

By now, your children should be well aware what to do for an allowance. Set the allowance for an amount that you can afford and what you think is appropriate for your children.

If your child is having difficulty in an area at school or at home, make an allowance for that. For example, if they are having a hard time with math, say if they can pass their weekly math tests with a B or better, they can get a certain amount of money.

I remember being in school and having my mom give me one dollar per A I got in school. It was a good incentive for me to get good grades and it worked! I ran her dry of her dollar bills.

When to NOT Give Your Child Their Allowance

Remember, giving your child an allowance isn't a required thing. And, like a paycheck, an allowance should be earned and not expected. Therefore, if your child doesn't follow through with the requirements to recieve their allowance, whatever that may be, be firm in not giving your child an allowance. There may be temper tantrums, fights, and anger, but hold still. It's all about teaching your child that they have responsibilities and if they don't follow through with what they are expected to do, they don't get the reward. It may be hard sometimes but it will get easier. If you are consistent with following through, your child will learn that you are serious and will likely do their chores.

The same holds true for if they didn't do the job properly. Let's say you ask your child to clean their room and they shove everything in the closet. If that's not up to your standards, you can make them redo it before you give them their money. If they sass and put up a fight, just don't give them the money.

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When you are figuring out what to give your children for allowance, don't let them help you pick. Remember, even though it is their allowance, they will probably choose the highest amount possible, fair or not.

If you give your children an allowance with certain standards, be firm with your standards. The reason for an allowance is to earn it. If they don't earn it, they don't deserve it. It's their 'job'. Just like you work to earn the money you get.


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