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Parents often ask me about whether they should give their teens an allowance. Some feel that children should do their chores because it’s the right thing to do, and they should not be paid for it. Others think giving them an allowance is a good way to teach how to save money. As with many t...

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Should Kids Get an Allowance?

Posted by: Livia McCoy on Aug 26, 2014 in Livia McCoy, Allowance


Livia McCoy
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Parents often ask me about whether they should give their teens an allowance. Some feel that children should do their chores because it’s the right thing to do, and they should not be paid for it. Others think giving them an allowance is a good way to teach how to save money. As with many topics, there is a middle ground—where children can learn to contribute to family life without being paid for it and also learn about the value of money.

It might be a good idea to have a list of chores that everyone in the family is responsible for doing without expecting money. This could include making their own bed, putting their dirty clothes in the laundry room, and putting away the things that belong to them. Other chores could be offered as ways to earn money (vacuuming the den, dusting, washing windows, or working in the yard). You could use an app like Allowance Manager  to keep up with how much each child has earned. Some chores can be available to your children if they want to do them, and others can be required chores. You and your children can decide who does what to make it fair to everyone in the family.

There are a few key points to think about when making the decision about whether to pay your children for working around the house. First, consider that earning an allowance is one way to teach them about saving money. Kids should not be handed money for every game or electronic gadget they want. They should have to work for it.  A second thing to consider is that children should not be paid unless they do their chores well. They need to know that the quality of their work matters. Finally, make sure to set up a schedule of expectations for what needs to be done and when it should be completed. You will need to be clear when payday is and be consistent about giving them the pay they earned.

In my 30 years of teaching adolescents, I have noticed that the students who have the best work ethic at school are the ones whose parents required them to help out at home. Having a strong work ethic is connected to success in school and later in life.

You might also enjoy reading Summer Chores Teach Kids Responsibility  and Should Parents Pay their Children for Good Grades?

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