The Bookworm responds to my previous post about Mass offerings and rewards for behavior, with an interesting post about how her family handles pocket money and allowances: The Road to Financial Independence. I’ve been mulling over the various aspects of the question about children and money again as a result of what she said.
We’ve been back and forth on the issue of allowance vs being paid for chores. There seem to be merits in both positions: learning that money needs to be earned and learning that chores are expected as a matter of course from all family members. I think I lean a bit more toward your system of expecting chores with no reimbursement and giving an allowance but allowing some paid chores that are over and above the expected.
if I recall correctly, my parents sort of did both in a haphazard fashion and were not consistent for all of my childhood. It’s rather fuzzy exactly how it worked, now that I try to reconstruct it. What I remember most for longest was a checkbook, not held by a bank but by my mom, in which we logged the money we’d earned by doing chores. When we wanted to make a purchase we “withdrew” the money and entered in the amount. However, doing chores was not optional but required which did cause frequent battles as my mom was not always that good at enforcing them. Some weeks she was more on top of things than others and I think that was a huge part of the problem. Unfortunately, I tend to be just like her in the consistency department. I’ll get on a roll for a while and then fall of where housekeeping is concerned. (Sorry, mom, I love you; but you know you’ve always said housekeeping is not your forte.)
I like the bookworm’s system of actually opening a real bank account for each child and her having a debit card and making deposits and withdrawals and learning to read bank statements, understand interest etc. Not sure what age banks here let kids do that. I’ll have to check into it.
Even before I read the bookworm’s post, I’ve been thinking more about the idea I posted on and while I like it very much, I’m hesitant to actually implement it as yet. Right now Bella is so very helpful and obedient with only verbal praise as a reward. I’m reluctant to begin giving her a coin in place of praise when praise is sufficient. I do love how she enjoys being helpful: bringing books and toys to Sophie, sometimes with no prompting from me even; fetching and carrying for me; wiping up spills and sweeping the floor; picking up toys with a bit of prompting. The other day she was offering my sister options for breakfast: “There’s rice and yogurt and cheese, Tree”
Moreover, Bella’s not all that interested in money yet except that she occasionally carries around coins she finds on the floor or the desk. On Sundays she drops our envelope into the collection basket and does enjoy that task; but there’s no need to find something for her to put in as bearing did with her children. I suppose I’ll wait for an opportunity to present itself naturally as in the bookworm’s example of her oldest daughter wanting coins for coin-op machines.
I do love seeing how other families handle these questions as I’m still trying to decide what will work best for us. It’s hard to know ahead of time, of course, but I’m filing all these ideas away (here on the blog, of course) for my own future reference.