Allowances? . . or Work? . . or Both?
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Allowances? . . or Work? . . or Both?

The question of allowances is often raised by parents and children alike. While it is a personal decision, the concept of giving an allowance and having work income seems to work best. Parental goals, when paying an allowance, should be to:
  1. Shift some spending decisions from parents to the child.
  2. Eliminate or dramatically reduce the need for the child to have to ask for money.
  3. Provide a method, under proper supervision, for learning about accumulating money and also wise spending techniques.
Establish a base allowance for each child. If the child wants more money, then, create a list of jobs and other duties which the child can perform, at will if, they want to earn additional money. For each item on the list there should be a set amount of compensation and a complete description of the work to be done, so there is no question about when a task is properly completed. Children will form good work habits and job skills by keeping their own weekly and monthly records. List the dates jobs are assigned and completed, extra jobs available to increase earnings, savings, etc. Also, children can keep track of progress towards reaching their savings goal.

Birth to age eight

1) Assign basic household chores. Even 4 year olds can make his or her bed and pick up playthings. Have a list of" little jobs" that small hands can do to earn a dime or quarter. Provide a piggy bank for savings and little sheets for easy record keeping.
2) Don't buy toys on demand. Help them to look forward to birthdays and holidays for special items.
3) Let the child learn about actions and consequences. Having possessions brings responsibilities.

Ages 8 to 12

4) Allow your child to begin making more decisions on their own. Encourage comparison shopping for instance.
5) Give a specific allowance and stick to it - or none at all. That's right! Some parents have found the best way to teach children to value money is to have them earn it.
6) Don't pay youngsters for doing regular chores. If you do, there may come a time when she or he might refuse you because money isn't needed.

Ages 13 and Older

7) Be consistent. Continue to have daily household chores. No child should be too busy to pick up after her or himself and also help out around the house.
8) Help your child forget his or herself. A great family activity is donating time and/or funds to a worthy cause.

Parents, educators, others interested, may receive by return mail the Institute of Consumer Financial Education's Reading List.  It contains  books, videos and course workbooks for  all ages PLUS there are also several guidebooks for parents and teachers too. 

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