Your kids are getting older.
There's laundry to put away.
Toys to clean up.
Shoes, coats and backpacks to be hung and organized.
Rooms to be cleaned up.
Bathrooms to be spotless.
It's time for CHORES.
It can't be on just you all the time: The kids need to help out -- it's only fair.
My oldest son is begging us to receive an allowance. Some of the kids in his class get one, so he has been coming home asking us for things to do, but then saying, "I'll do them for $5."
We weren't into that kind of "money making." My husband and I grew up without an allowance, so we're both on the same page in thinking it's not necessary to give one to the boys. For us, it's the best way to be. I want my sons to know they need to do things around the house and not get benefits for just doing them.
The other day, my son Alexander organized his room, made the beds and put away his laundry. I was completely impressed and thanked him immensely. He looked at me dead-on and said, "I just wanted to help out." There was nothing else expected, and I want them to continue this way. I know all my sons won't be like Alex and genuinely love to clean and organize (it's kind of freaky, I know), but I feel like it's part of being in a family -- everyone has to chip in.
I don't want my sons to constantly think that if they do things around the house to help mom and dad, payment is the end to the means. That's not right. And my sons are negotiators, so I can even see them saying to me, "Oh, really? $5? Let's go with $10."
Um, yeah... no.
We started giving allowance as an incentive to taking more personal responsibility but also to teach the girls about money. There is no real way to teach the ways in which money functions in our lives without giving them their own. So, we started out with giving them $1/week per year of age. At 5, they got $5/week. Then they had to divide it into four sections. Thirty percent spend: spend on a treat or small thing during the week. Thirty percent save: pick a single thing they wanted as a goal and save every week toward that toy, gizmo, whatever. Thirty percent invest: Money gets moved into their bank account every six months and can't be touched until they're 18. Ten percent charity: Pick a charity, or a few, and give the money to the cause at the end of the year. They've picked animal-related causes so far.
In the beginning, we paid them in coins. I know that sounds crazy, but it taught them how to count coins, divide and learn fractions and percentages.
They didn't do chores for allowance -- those are things they are expected to do as members of the family and house. But, they did have to do stuff they really didn't want to do that we needed them to do: Pack their backpacks and pick out their outfits the night before, practice piano/violin three days a week, etc.
It really is amazing to see how much more they understand the value of money now that they have to spend their own. If they bought a toy that was cheap and broke the next day, too bad. If they wanted an ice cream with two toppings on Monday, then that was it for the week. They really learned to wait for things to go on sale or get a smaller amount of something so they could get something else later on -- or even to look for coupons and promo codes online. I've created nutty shoppers. And they love, love, love the charity part. They take it really seriously.
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