We all have our ideas and basic rules we like to work with when it comes to pocket money for kids, but in the end it comes down to giving your children a little money for helping around the house. Or in some cases, giving them a bit of money as a BIG incentive to help around the house! Apart from rewards, it’s about teaching your child how to handle their money from a young age – it’s good to start teaching them the value of money, and that they have to work to get it!
What Age Should You Start?
The age you decide to start giving your children more responsibilities and hence the ability to earn pocket money is a personal one. I feel they need to understand the use of money as well as the regularity with which they need to do these jobs. In my experience between 6 and 8 is about the right time to start. To help younger children appreciated the use of money, start with a money box and make a big deal out of giving them the occasional piece of silver to ‘bank’ into the piggy.
Also making a habit of putting any money they receive for birthdays or Christmas into their bank account gets them used to the idea of saving money – even if it is only in there for a few days. Taking your child to the bank teller and seeing their bank account balance grow – sets them in a great pattern for the rest of their lives.
What Chores Should They Do?
Jobs you can get your children to do need to be age appropriate and they need to be able to complete them, for the most part, unassisted otherwise you might as well be doing them yourself. Taking the rubbish out, tidying the living room, putting away clothes, vacuuming, dishes, and laundry are all suitable jobs for children to help with and then as they get older they can do the more difficult ones. I also know a large family who has the children all upwards of 8 years cook a meal once a week. With so many people in the family it means the work load is spread around and the children all get some skills in cooking. Mum still helps the younger ones but they still do a lot of the work.
Younger children can start with keeping their room tidy. Older children (high school) can branch out into the laundry.
Part of their daily jobs that do not deserve pocket money include:
- Making their own beds
- Keeping their rooms tidy
- Getting ready for school on time
- Putting dirty clothing in the laundry
- Rinsing lunch boxes at the end of the day
It is important to let children know that housework isn’t just for Mum to do. That it is a shared family responsibility.
Charts are a great way to keep track of how often your child is doing their jobs and also for them to see at a glance what needs doing every day. Make a chart for the week and laminate it, glue a magnet on the back and put it on the fridge, that way you can use a white board marker and tick the jobs each day and be able to reuse the same chart.
Depending on the age of the child, you will need to decide an amount. You also need to take into consideration how much you can afford to pay them. My 11-year-old gets $5 a week for doing the dinner dishes, sweeping the floors and tidying the living area every day. My eight-year-old gets $3 a week for making sure the bathroom vanity is tidy, taking out the rubbish and tidying the toy room every day. This is the difference I chose because of an age difference as well as the difference in the difficulty of the jobs they do. They also get other miscellaneous jobs some days that they are required to do when asked. My 4-year-olds are not quite old enough to understand the idea of getting money each week for doing jobs, so they do as they are asked for now. The other rule in our house is that they need to do their jobs every evening without being asked and if they don’t do them often enough they will not get paid for the week.
I know one other family who does not get paid pocket money and are simply required to do these things to help the running of a happy home. Their parents will buy them things or give them money if they need it within reason but believe they are part of the family and should help.
This works smoothly in our house for the most part, but it can be a bit rough to start with. Give it a go and adjust things to suit your needs. Every family is different and has different ideas so do what works for you.
For the techno savvy child, how about only giving the Wifi password out once all the chores are done!
Guide for How Much to Give
We asked YOU how much you think children deserve to receive on our Facebook Page – this is what you said:
0 – 5 Years No money. Place a few coins into their money box to get them used to saving for a rainy day.
5 – 6 Years $2 Week
6 – 8 Years $4 Week
8 – 10 Years $5 Week
10 – 12 Years $10 Week
12 – 14 Years $15 Week
15 + Nothing – they can look for a part time job.
Sticking to Your Guns:
Pocket money is given for ‘extra help’ around the house. Remember – no help – no money. This teaches your child that they need to work to receive money. Otherwise it defeats the whole purpose. So be strong, stick to your guidelines – and when they put their hand out at the end of the week – give them only what is due!!!!!
Fines are a great way to try and dissuade your children from bad behaviour. Fines could be for things like:
- Being Late
- Leaving lights on
- Not doing your normal daily chores (ie making bed)
- Not doing homework
- Getting detention at school
What do you think is an appropriate amount of pocket money to give a child?