Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 04:47 pm

Something many parents do, is connect the children’s chores with their allowance … bad move!

But they think that their children are automatically motivated by money, as they are themselves. So Mom holds Sarah’s allowance over her head to get her to finish her work. Some even hold it over their kids’ heads to just ‘be good’ or to do their homework.

This might work in the beginning and for some children more than others, but what happens one day when your child tells you the she has enough money and walks away, declining to complete her chores, do her homework, or be nice to her brother?

Although many will disagree with me, it is my professional opinion that connecting a child’s allowance to his or her regular family chores is wrong

In fact, giving an allowance to young children altogether is a mistake.

My main reason is that we want our children to do their chores and contribute to family life because they should, not because they are paid to do it. If the child equates doing chores with getting money, and they don’t care about the money, they may well not care about the chores either.

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If you do decide to give an allowance, I suggest you give it for the sake of giving it and not as a bribe to get your needs met. It just gives younger children the wrong idea about money and family responsibilities.

One family I know suffered a financial hardship. Dad was laid off his job and it was years before he was able to work again. As a result, the parents had to stop the children’s allowance in order to pay for critical needs. The children didn’t understand and became confused and fearful about money, chores and Dad’s lack of work.

Teens and pocket money

Your teenagers may be in a better position to ‘earn’ an allowance once they begin to understand the value of money, saving and spending. Somewhere around the age of 15, the parent is likely to begin teaching his or her teenager life skills. That’s where paying an allowance may be appropriate. Teenagers will begin thinking about paying for some items on their own, and it gets them started on the road of earning an income and budgeting.

When it comes to larger chores

Besides an allowance, I do support paying a child for harder labour; tasks they complete above and beyond their regular daily or weekly chores. Cleaning out the garage or attic, mowing the lawn, or weeding a garden bed are great examples of harder tasks for which you can pay them extra.

When my own children were young, I would prepare a list of larger chores that, if completed, were a big help to their parents. I would assign a monetary value to each one and let them pick from this regularly updated list.