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If you give a child an allowance ...

Ten tips for teaching kids how money makes the world go round.

By Brad Munson

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Have a Plan

Have a plan

Think through your stipend strategy before approaching your children. Why are you giving them an allowance? How much? How often? Is this simply a benefit of being a member of the family, or is there some quid pro quo, whether it’s academic performance or household duties (see “Do chores count?” for more on that)? And what expenses are your kids expected to cover with their cash — for example, video games but not fast food, DVDs but not school lunches, etc.? Have all the angles figured out before you sit down with your children, because they’re sure to ask every question you’ve anticipated (and probably a few more).

Brad Munson is a freelancer writer, father, and sex educator based in Pasadena, Calif.

Comments from readers

"My son is 10 and my daughter is 5. I give both of my kid allowance on the weekend only if. During the school day, my son and my daughter have to do their school work and check by us, after he don with his homework and get. Heck by us, of course if there is a spare time, (still early) , he can do extra allowance like helping his little sister with her school learner inappropriate way, he will be earn 25 cents. Otherwise he and his sister watch the discovery and get allowance by write one page of what he learn from the discovery tv and make a good explanation. By the weekend he and his sister do chores to earn their allowance, each chore cost 25 cents. Also, he allow rouse their money and start to paid for all their need,like clothes, food ect. 25 cents seem very little by if they willing to do it, add up a lots, my son make $3 every day for helping his sister and do report for his discovery tv. Conclusion. He had been learn to response for his money management, and lear! n independence daughter is very little so she earn her allowance by cooperative with her brother on his guidance and help around the chore on with if her brother need help. He learn to wash her very own dishes and do very well job. Her saving money is for her use to buy food. Both of my kids allow to buy one toys if they bring home a straight A report (they only pay 50% of the cost and we pay another 50% ) as a reward for their straight A progress. "
"This is great information. I've been giving my 4 and 6 year olds an allowance for a few months, but I have been holding onto it for them. I'll try giving them the cash so that they can be responsible for it. I've been giving them each $3 per week for toys and entertainment items. It is not to buy food or clothing, unless they want something that I feel is unnecessary (e.g. my daughter really wants that pink, hello kitty dress but already has plenty of dresses). My question is how much do other people give their kids this age? And do they give children of different ages the same amount?"
"So, if you do not deny them dues for not doing their chores and behaving, what messages does that send? ('I can do what I want and still get paid?) I say teach them what the workforce is like - if you don't do your job, then you get fired and you don't get paid!"
"false and true"
"This article gave me some good advice as far as how and when it is okay to give a child an allowance. Thank you!"
"I highly recommend paying kids for each 'A' on their report card. Worked on me. After getting accustomed to learning and going prepared to classes, I didn't have to be paid because these pleasures were eventually a part of my life."
"My husband and I have a chore list of 5 items. Beds made (semi clean room), on time to school, take out trash once a week, throw ball for dog, swiffer floor, homework on time. I have a 8 and 11 year old daughters, they receive $5 a week. BUT if their chores are not done they get a deduction of a dollar for every chore not done. If they miss that chore once they only lose that dollar. And I stick to it, if I default on not taking the dollar they think they can get away with it soooo, stick to it. My kids rarely miss a chore and they buy their own toys IF they truly truly want it. If they know they have to pay for it, sometimes they decide its not worth it and put it back, thats terrific! I love my girls and they are becoming so responsible,its working out so fantastic, love it! And they do more around the house, more than their 'chore list', and I don't even ask them. I am very lucky to have such great girls! They love to save up for special items, too."
"I really like the idea of giving an allowance. I would disagree with the concern over kids bargaining. I want my kids to learn how to bargain and makes deals. I don't want them getting an allowance 'Just for being a part of the family.' I think that teaches them that they are entitled to something for nothing. They should have to complete their chores. In life we earn money."
"I started giving my child an allowance at 5, and he has to do all his chores correctly, before he earns that money. I also disagree with this, 'don’t withhold allowance as punishment for bad behavior or poor grades.' An allowance is to be earned, not a given. I have withheld an allowance for sloppy work when cleaning, and explained why I was doing it. My child knows about saving his money. He on his own, has started putting money aside to pay for this toy he wants. He told me, that some money was for his toy, the other money was for his Disneyland spending. I also do believe in giving a money reward for good grades. I went to school with kids that had that deal with their parents. It certainly kept them motivated."