I know that right now you are like, “What the heck is she talking about?” Stick with me though, because I promise there is a point and this is not just a caffeine induced rambling. The topic of the day boys and girls is allowance for children. Do you offer up a weekly fee to get your kids to help around the house, or do you simply expect your children to help for free?
Growing up, I always had a list of chores to do. Ever since I can remember, it was always my job to clean the kitchen after dinner. Heck, I still do it every time I go to my mom’s for dinner. I also had to feed the animals each day and then on the weekends, my dad would present me with a list of things to do as well. When I was 13, my parents moved to a farm with 15 acres and there was a lot more work to do. From helping to string barbed wire fence, to feeding a whole lot more animals, I always had chores and I never received an allowance for doing them.
So, as a mother, when my children reached the age of 3-4, I started to instill the habit of chores on them. No, I did make them mow the lawn or scrub the floor with a toothbrush. Give me a break, I at least gave them a scrub brush to use. No, at that age, they did little things like pick up dirty clothes, help me throw clothes into the washer, pick up there toys and easy things like that. As a result, when they started getting older, they would actually ask to be able to help more around the house. In fact, at one point they would fight over who got to clean the bathroom (gasp I know)!
I never treated them like my own personal maids, but they knew that there were things that I expected from them, mostly just to clean up the messes that they created. Allowance never crossed my mind. I was never given it and the messes that they were cleaning up were all things they had done on their own. I wasn’t making them clean up my stuff.
One day not to long ago, my 10 year old who had heard from friends at school about allowance asked me if I was going to start giving it to him. I looked at him and said “So you want me to pay you to clean up your own pee?” He looked at me like I had just ripped a big one in a room full of people and then he said “Well, when you put it that way, I guess not.” That my friends was the beginning and the end of my family’s discussion on allowance.
Let me clarify, that I do not think it is wrong to give your kids allowance, just as I don’t think you are an evil slave driver if you actually make them clean without handing over cash. That being said, I do allow my children to earn money for things that they do occasionally that go above and beyond normal chores. If they want something, we talk about it and I may or may not buy it for them. We use other times throughout the year to teach the importance of managing money (like my coupon clipping), but we use chores to teach responsibility.
Have a funny allowance story to tell or just want to weigh in about how it works in your house? Feel free to leave your mark below! Want to hear from the other side of things? Stop by Rhea’s blog to read how she deals with allowance for children.