My son and I sat down for a serious discussion a few weeks back. He wanted to start getting a weekly allowance. I happily agreed but explained that he’d have to do jobs around the house to earn it. I rattled off a few ideas and he excitedly agreed and was a busy little bee that afternoon.
A few weeks later the novelty wore off and I was faced with a tough choice – should I keep giving him his allowance and spend countless minutes nagging him to do his chores or should I simply withhold his allowance because they haven’t been done?
I never wanted to be a parent who was too tough on her children but to me, his relationship with money is being set now and will affect him for the rest of his life. I am in a unique position to teach him to value money, even the random 5c pieces he sometimes finds on the floor.
I had no awareness of money when I was young. We didn’t have any apparently but I didn’t notice. We were never offered an allowance and the chores we did around the house were done for nothing. We lived there too so we had to contribute.
I eventually decided to stop paying him his allowance but I decided not to make it a punishment. I calmly explained that he hadn’t helped out around the house so he wouldn’t be getting it this week but as soon as he started to help out again I would pay him his allowance. I left him to digest the news and with no nagging required he quietly tidied his room and picked up the papers that had fallen out of our recycle bin.
We eventually decided to start up again properly. I downloaded an app that tracks his chore, the dollar value of them and how much he needs to save towards a goal. There are a few apps to choose from but PayPig is my favourite. Firstly kids love pigs and secondly it allows children to remain focused on just why they are doing chores. So Philip’s jobs in his app are – feed the cat $2, tidy his room $5, polish the furniture in the lounge room and set the table for dinner and help clean up $5.