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Should you give your child an allowance?

"Giving children an allowance can help them learn how to manage money and evaluate discretionary spending," said Carol Young, Kansas State University Research and Extension family financial management specialist.

The amount of an allowance can vary with age, a child's maturity and family's financial position," said Young, who answered frequently- asked questions about allowances:

Should parents tie responsibilities such as requiring a child to clean his or her room, set the table or fold laundry to an allowance?

"Maybe ... maybe not," said Young "Placing too many restrictions on the allowance can turn a learning opportunity into a family argument, resentment - or both. Saying that doesn't mean that children shouldn't participate in routine household chores and learn to be responsible for their own stuff, such as cleaning their room or doing their homework.

"It takes work and organization to maintain a household. Just being a member of the family has an expectation of sharing in that maintenance effort." Should you pay children for chores?

"Providing opportunities beyond daily chores to earn extra money - weeding the garden or raking the lawn, for example - ties buying power to effort," she said.

An allowance is basically discretionary income that can - and will - allow children to make money management mistakes. But, buying an overrated toy that soon disappoints often will cause a child to pause before spending in the future, Young said.

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