A little more than a month ago, we started to give the girls an allowance. It was around the time that I was starting to feel uncomfortably pregnant, and needing a little more help around the house. Though the girls have generally been good with helping around the house, completing chores and assisting with the little things that needed finishing, we decided to begin the process of giving them an allowance.
Should you give your kids an allowance? That’s a personal question – and the answer is yes, or no, depending on what works for your family.
We chose yes, recently. Not only would it help me to get those extra things done around the house that I just didn’t feel like doing (emptying the dishwasher for the second time that day, or clearing out the recycling from the deck box) it helped to teach them to use their bank cards, depositing a portion of their allowance into their bank accounts, and learning the value of money, earning it (and losing it for failing to do certain chores), teaching them accountability at a young age, something that’s important to us, as parents.
When it comes to a number for the allowance, that’s a completely personal thing. We went back and forth, decided on ten dollars a week, to be paid on Saturday (as Saturday mornings are generally when we do a cleaning/organizing of the house) with the option to earn additional money for ‘extra’ chores, like vaccuuming and other things that Jamie, I, or a cleaner, would complete around the house.
This week, Violet (4) unloaded the dishwasher a couple of extra times, and used the vaccuum to clean the sand left from summer playground trips, around the shoes in the entryway, earning her an extra $6. She proceeded to lose two dollars for lying.
Olivia, on the other hand, was asked to vaccuum the kitchen and dining area floor, for an extra $2, something she failed to do quickly enough, when I started about ten minutes after I asked her one time. This week, we gave her a deadline to clean under bed, and reminded her with a note on the chalkboard that we were going to take five dollars off of her allowance, if it wasn’t finished by the deadline of the end of the week.
She didn’t finish it. She moved everything from under her bed, to the side of the bed that you can’t notice unless you walk over to the side of her room not seen by the door – so five dollars was removed. At the end of the week, Olivia was left with five dollars, and Violet, fourteen dollars – with an important lesson learned about deadlines, getting tasks accomplished on time, and having less money to spend on the trip to Claire’s that they requested, to spend their allowance.
Last week, Olivia was the higher earner, a productive week where she was incredibly helpful, able to buy one of the things on her ‘want list’ while making a trip to Gummi Boutique.
Tip: Having the board posted helps to keep the kids accountable (and motivated) through the week
For the most part, the kids have become more receptive to doing chores, even the regular chores that aren’t giving them add-ons to their allowance money. They’re quicker to listen the first time Jamie or I say something, knowing that the number on the chalkboard is going to dwindle and they’ve begun to see the association between dollars earned and the task associated, learning a basic, value for time spent state of mind.
It’s been a good month, the house has stayed tidy – for the most part the rooms have remained cleaned – and we’ve learned that yes, a four year (with a chair) can absolutely unload the dishwasher, unassisted, when motivated properly.
Allowances around here have been a win.