Monday 10 September 2007

Weekly Allowance

I wrote a post a while back about teaching children the value of money and how I thought this responsibility rested on the shoulders of parents. I had a lengthy discussion with my sister about this since she left me a comment which seemed to disagree with me. And I hate it when she does that!

I maintain that the value of money and how to manage it is a value passed from a parent to a child. Learning how to calculate interest on a loan is math so that sits squarely with the school.

Marc & I bought some money boxes for our children to aid our parenting goal of teaching children about money. The money boxes include separate compartments to Spend, Save & Share their money. The idea is that their weekly allowance is then divided up (at their discretion) between the 3 boxes. The money in the Spend box can be spent immediately, ie as soon as they get it or that weekend, for example. The money in the Save box can be saved up to be spent on an item that they have identified (say in a catalogue or saw in a shop) but don't have enough in the Spend box to buy immediately. The Share box is donated to charity (picked by the child - with your help) at intervals designated by the child. The children get to decide how much goes where.

The idea is that they get a weekly allowance for doing things above and beyond their normal responsibilities like brushing their teeth, taking a bath, making their bed, going to bed. These are all the types of things that they do in order to be a productive, happy member of the family. For example, I don't want to pay them to set the table because as a member of the family they must help me set and clear the table for meals.

Now, readers, I need your help. What sort of duties could a 6 and 3.5 year old do that could help them earn their weekly allowance? I'm really struggling with this. Sebastian is too young to mow the lawn. Abigail just ain't big enough to clear out the garage. We don't get enough snow for them to shovel the sidewalks. I've got to get this sorted and I don't know how to do it.....

PS I was very proud when Sebastian announced that the Share box was very important "since not every one is as lucky as I am". Now let's see if he can put his money where his mouth is!

I imagine that the discussion about worthy charities will also be interesting. Any ideas on that one?


Anonymous said...

Great post.
Our 7 and 3 year old help around the house. JJ (3) re-stocks the loo rolls over three floors as this type of activity involves simple maths (he has to make sure two are left in each bathroom) and working under his own steam. Kiera helps prepare the meals as she is a fussy eater and this helps her try different foods.
We link the personal responsbility like bath, room tidy and being helpful to stars on a chart which can gain or loose pocket money.

I will be interested to see if the "give" money migrates to the "spend" compartment !!

Best of luck

Janell said...

This will take some thinking, but I was wondering if you are still suffering with the lung infection?

Graciel said...

I have no children and therefore cannot rightly comment on this post...but, I so wish to comment on your graciousness and kindness regarding the comments you have left on MY posts. I appreciate so much the time you take to read my blog and the encouragement you give me to continue. Blessings to you and yours, and thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. I need to think about that and get back to you. I failed miserably at that with my own kids but I think it's a very smart idea and it is something you need to start when your kids are young like yours.We tried allowances on and off for years but just could never get it right. We didn't believe in paying our kids for those everyday family type jobs either but somehow our kids just seemed to grow up not helping with anything...without threats being delivered! I'm sure I can come up with some age appropriate job ideas for you since I have my daycare kids do all kinds of jobs for me. It's just that my brain is already turned off for the day...I'll get back to ya. Why do I always seem to be the only one that leaves more than a "comment" on these things?! Wait, don't answer that!

Anonymous said...

Charity about an animal "shelter" type place? I think little ones could really associate with helping animals since they all seem to love them and especially since your family has a pet so your children already know how much care they need etc.

Anonymous said...
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Sue said...

Anything that is not a regular chore that has to be done could be rewarded with extra earning. They may not be able to mow, but could pick up sticks before whoever is mowing. They may not be able to clean out the garage, but they could help. How often when you are working on a project could you use someone to run after something?
Do you have a garden or flower bed?
As long as they know what are weeds
and what are flowers they could pull weeds.
My kids always gave at Sunday School and also liked to have something to drop in the plate when it was passed in church.

stephanie said...

I am struggling with the weekly task list myself. Audrey seems to get lazier everyday and I need to get on-top of this. Creighton is always eager to help and therefore he earns for more than the others, but somehow they talk him into giving it to them. Carson, I just can't comment. Oh maybe...he loves to watch Creighton work.

So far I have: (PAID)
Picking up sticks in yard
helping clean out car
Doggy Doody

Everyday tasks:
Make Bed
Feed Dog
Set Table (Audrey)
Get trash collected on Monday Nights (Audrey)
Vacuum (Mostly Creighton, helps w/ sensory issues)
Going to add sweeping Kitchen (Audrey)

stephanie said...

BTW, I didn't disagree with you but rather said that lots of parents don't teach it because they don't have the skill themselves. And what we end up with is a bunch of financial morons. We gotta break the cycle somewhere. Not really on the value of money but more how to use it.

Janell said...

Some good ideas here, but my thinking is that you & Marc seem to be good managers, how did you learn it? I also agree with Pam's thoughts on the animal shelter contributions.

Janell said...

On the negative side of the learning curve: don't "rescue" them when they run out of money and find that one more thing they want to buy - unless you want to play the loan shark and charge exorbitant interest to help them learn not to get caught up in too much borrowing. It's a lesson more easily learned over the denial of a toy or a book (although just as memorable) than it would be on a mortgage foreclosure.

LaDawn said...

WOW, readers, great response! I will keep you up to date when we finally figure this one out.

PS Janell - mortgage foreclosure & bankruptcy is exactly what we hope to avoid!