In today's crazy economic times, it seems like we parents are very aware of teaching our children all about money. How to earn it, how to save it, and how to spend it. I feel very torn on so many issues surrounding kids and money:
Is allowance a good idea?
When should they have to spend their own money?
Should they only be allowed to save it?
Is it totally up to them how to use it?
From the top: ALLOWANCE
Our children do not receive allowance. Not a dime a day, not a quarter a week.. nothing. I know many families love their allowance system and it works so well for them - but I cannot imagine it for us. It just seems as though children SHOULD clean their rooms and help with house chores because that's what families do; they help each other. I don't want their motivation to be $$... so far so good. Everyone is expected to chip in and help and it goes smoothly. (well, minus Samuel who is hit or miss with clean-up time)
Having said that, recently we were staying at my mom and step dad's house. Papa went outside to do some yard work and the kids and I followed because they really needed to burn off some energy. Carter chose, all by himself, to help his papa pick up sticks and such in the yard rather than play like Madison. When we went inside a couple of hours later, Papa gave Carter $3 for his hard work. Carter's eyes totally lit up! He was SO proud of his earnings! I couldn't help but be so happy for him.. he had learned that hard work equals earning money. That's a good life lesson! (I was also proud of Papa's strength to not also give Madison and Sam $3 just to make it "fair" when only Carter had helped.)
Clayton followed that weekend up by giving each kid $1 each for helping pick up trash (that someones dogs had drug up in our yard.. can't imagine whose those would have been..) and they were all just giddy!
Then comes the dilemma. Will they always expect outside work or "extra" work to be paid jobs? Will their only motivation be money driven? This is not what I want for them... yet I do like them learning how to earn money.
Then, the second question. What happens with the money they earn?
Many parents cite "learning money management skills" as the main reason to give allowances to children on a regular basis. To help teach them about the 'real' world on a kid level.
If that's the goal, it seems to me that the children should have to use their own money to buy things they NEED.. not to save it all to buy fun stuff and things they want. If we gave allowance, I would expect my kids to chip in on things like school supplies.. or small items they could purchase. This would definitely teach them how far a dollar doesn't go. If they had anything left, then they could possibly treat themselves with something. Isn't that how the real world is? Wouldn't that be a realistic way to teach money management?
What do you think? Do you think it's okay to give allowance for daily chores or do you also worry this sends the wrong message about why everyone helps clean house? What do you expect your kids to do with any money they earn?
I'm torn... help me figure this issue out!