It was the third hand held out in the day- palm up, just asking for money. Fridays are allowance days, and the kids had come to expect that they would be given their “due”, without fail. Their mother, a loving and caring woman, was at wits end. Not a single child had completed a single chore all week long, and yet, she was the “bad guy” when it came to allowance day.
It sounds all too familiar. Without meaning to, we often create a culture of expectation, a crowd of “gimmes” that are completely unwanted and unfounded. As a rise up against this “I deserve it” mindset, we have brought together some different strategies for allowance.
The first is radical, to be sure. Get rid of allowance altogether. No money will be exchanged. You are expected to help out, and for helping out, you get to live here and eat the food I have provided, and keep the clothes on your back. For older teens, this may be the answer. They are capable of earning their own income or getting an hourly job. Certainly their manager will be more demanding, and they will come home with a newfound respect for your patience and giving nature.
Second, only pay for chores done, but immediately. Rather than weekly or monthly money handed out at random time, connect the chore with the money and the money with the chore. For children under twelve, this is a great way to make it clear that people do jobs to earn money, and that they will be a part of this world. If doling out money willy-nilly is too difficult, and you need to do it at the end of the week, try going down a checklist of chores right before handing out the allowance. Say things like, “Sam, you made your bed three days this week, and did the dishes every day. That is why you earned this money.” Using vocabulary like “earned” and “worked for” will help kids keep in mind that money doesn’t come for nothing.
Create a “chore board”. Instead of paying an amount each week for “all chores” or “most chores” done, specify amounts kids will make for each chore. Making your bed? 25 cents. Walking the dog? A dollar. Whatever amount you deem fair, parcel it by task. Either put the money where it can be seen upon completion, or write the amount on a note. At the end of the week, they can collect what they did (but NOT what they didn’t do), or they can turn in their “notes” for their pay. Kids can learn responsibility and see how a harder job may make more money, or something quick is worth less time, and so worth less money.
As our kids grow and mature, it is important we spend the time and energy necessary to help them understand money and the value of money. For more information about what ages can understand different values, follow this link: http://www.parents.com/parenting/money/family-finances/teaching-kids-about-money-an-age-by-age-guide/?page=2.
Still having trouble with your kids feeling entitled? Get them in an activity that can help. Martial arts teaches respect and discipline, which helps kids complete their chores. If you live in the DC Metro, Bethesda, Potomac, or Chevy Chase Maryland area, check out http://gammaacademy.com/ GAMMA Academy Martial Arts and register for a free trial at http://DMVKarate.com/
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