Do you give your kids an allowance or not? I have been in both camps at one point in time, so I will share with you what I have learned in each one.
To Give an Allowance…
My kids were 8, 6 and 2 at the time and we wanted to teach them good spending and saving habits. We set chores like helping with the dishes, taking out the trash, and picking up their toys. They got $.50 per year per week, and we had them save 10% automatically. They learned that they didn’t have to do as great of a job on anything and they still got paid. When we would follow up on the job, and not pay them if the job was not done correctly, anarchy began in my house.
Now, I am not saying that will happen to everyone. Our parenting skills still needed some help, to be honest. But, it was a hard road to cross.
When we paid them according to jobs done, it did get better. For example, when they washed the breakfast dishes, it was worth $1.00. Folding a load of towels was worth $.50 and so on. They followed through and did the jobs they wanted, earned the money they wanted. And, then they quit helping out. They had the money they needed for their games, toys, legos, or whatever and didn’t need anything else.
Chore chart after chore chart came and went, and the system didn’t work for us. My kids would only do chores when they needed money, and wanted to know why they should work if they didn’t. (yeah, parenting skills still lacking to answer this question properly)
So, we turned to the other camp. AGAINST.
…or Not to Give an Allowance
We decided that enough was enough. The kids are part of our family and use dishes, towels, clothes and have pets. So, they needed to help out. For FREE. Because they are part of the family and that is what makes a household run. Everyone pitching in and doing their part. Well, that was fine and dandy, but if we didn’t make our bed one morning, then they wouldn’t either. Setting a bad example was not going to work at all for us.
First we had to learn to lay out our expectations. The kids couldn’t read our minds, so we had to be specific. “Make your bed like this,” or “sweep the whole kitchen floor, including under the table.” Once they understood what we wanted, it was much easier to get them to do the chores. Of course, we had to own up to the fact that we still had to follow through with our requests. That took a whole lot longer, as it required a lot of discipline on our part.
Now, we have the kids doing the chores around the house like we need, and they understand that we will make them come back and do the job right. Allowance is no longer an issue for us, and I no longer feel like I am being held “hostage” over getting the dishes done and $5 a week. Our parenting skills are by no means perfect, but as we grow and learn, so do our kids. And peace reigns once more in the Harris house!
How do you do allowance and chores in your house?