Vacation time is over. I am tan and relaxed. Time to get back to blogging and pondering how in the world I am turning 40 this month. Wow.
I had someone ask me about allowances and my take on it. What a great blog topic. It is so individual for each family and I have certainly wavered back and forth on the subject but here is what goes down at our household:
First, I think there are certain things kids need to do without being paid simply for being part of a family: They should keep their room tidy. They should take turns doing the dishes and do daily chores. They should participate in family yard work day. All this, gratis. No compensation other than the privilege to be living with the greatest family on earth and to be fed and clothed.
Now, kids do need to earn money. They need to learn how to manage money and how to respect each and every dollar. They also need to learn how to work hard for what money they do get.
They have options there. They can go out and find work via babysitting, yard work, hitting up grandpa for work or finding some creative way to bring in the cash. They can also ask me for cash jobs. These are jobs that are outside their usual required chores and come with a certain assigned dollar. They can take them or leave them. It's up to them if they want to earn the money but money is not handed out for free around here. Life doesn't work that way and they need to learn it early. As parents, we cloth and feed them and pay their way if it is a family activity. If they want to do something with a friend or go spend some cash frivolously at the neighborhood store, that needs to come out of their own pocket. If they want some toy aside from birthday's or Christmas, they need to learn how to save for that item.
Some of my kids love to do the extra jobs and earn the money. Some don't. The older ones figured out side jobs early on to earn some cash. They tutor, teach piano and guitar, babysit and do yard work. The younger ones are eager to follow in their footsteps. These jobs pay better than mom.
So far, my children have learned, for the most part, how to be responsible with money. Most of them are very good savers as they appreciate every dollar they have earned. They are not quick to blow it since they won't get an automatic handout at the beginning of the week.
For our home, this works great and in hindsight, I wouldn't change a thing. It creates motivation to earn and to look for opportunities to work. In the real world, no one is going to pay you just because you make your bed. I would be rich if that was the case. I don't think it is ever too early to learn real life lessons.