One thing that parents do is connect chores with allowance…. bad move! But they think that their kids 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. Truth be told, it might work in the beginning and for some kids 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, 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 chores is wrong. In fact, giving an allowance to younger children all together is a mistake. My main reason is that we want our children doing their chores and contributing to the family because they should, not because they are going to get paid to do it. If the child equates getting money in exchange for doing chores and they don’t care about the money, they may not care about the chores either.
If you do decide to give an allowance, I suggest you give it for the sake of giving it and not holding it hostage to get your needs met. It just sets up younger children with the wrong idea about money and getting paid. One family I know suffered a financial hardship. Dad was laid off from his job and spent years recovering before he was able to acquire employment again. As a result, the parents had to stop the payment of the 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.
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 come in handy. The teenager is likely to begin thinking about paying for some items on their own and it gets them started down the road of earning an income.
Different from an allowance, I do support paying a child for hard labor; tasks they complete that are above and beyond the expectations of daily or weekly chores. Cleaning out a garage, mowing a lawn, or weeding a garden are great examples of tasks you can pay them to complete that are worthy hard labor. When my own children were young, I would prepare a list of larger sized 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.