If my kids are being really well-behaved, have done their homework and not made me yell too much, I give them $2 on a Friday to splurge at the school tuckshop.
For two bucks they can get a bag of seaweed snacks, a frozen fruit popsicle or an “energy ball” and a bag of popcorn. Long gone are days of the Paddle Pop at lunchtime.
Last week, my eight-year-old called his younger brother an “idiot” so he missed out. The younger brother, who, truth be told, was being a bit of a twat, missed out too on account of his idiotic behaviour.
This week they’ve done okay so they’ll probably get that shining gold coin to spend up big.
I always thought I was being generous, in fact I even wondered whether I was being extravagant giving them a gold coin every week but it turns out my lot are at the lower end of the pocket money spectrum when it comes to Australian kids.
A survey has shown that Aussie kids are given $1.8 billion annually in pocket money. The Cartoon Network’s annual “New Generations” study has found that parents are giving their children on average $556 a year.
A separate survey showed that children’s pocket money changes according to where they live – with kids on the Sunshine Coast getting around $40 a week.
That’s over $2000 a year, and makes for a hell of a lot of mixed lollies.
Who we pay and the amount seems to mirror society.
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Frustratingly, studies have shown that boys get more pocket money than girls ($48.00 versus $45.00) – and for those who pay pocket money based on chores, the study showed that boys get more outdoor chores while girls get more indoor ones.
We also pay more depending on where we live and again not surprisingly our own salary.
A Commonwealth Bank report on pocket money earlier this year found that 82 per cent of those that give their kids pocket money said their children were expected to complete chores.
But it’s a controversial method. Clinical psychologist Terri Sheldon told The Gold Coast Bulletin that while pocket money was a good thing, it should not be tied to chores.
“Chores are not really about being paid for them – they’re really about contributing to the family,” she said.
But others go with the “whatever works” theory and if it works for you to pay your kids to do their homework and make their bed (and not make you yell too much), then get out the cheque book.
The benefits of giving children pocket money are vast, from helping children feel independent to teaching them the value of money, to giving children a sense of financial literacy for the future.