Contemplating doling out an allowance to your children? Parents and experts are split on the issue; however, the disadvantages of paying your child weekly are something you should certainly think about before opening up your wallet.
According to a sociologist at Lehigh University named Heather Beth Johnson, paying kids to do chores gives the message that they are entitled to an exchange rather than a part of the household where everyone contributes. In other cultures worldwide, children readily help out without expecting any payment in return. If you have young children, you’re missing the boat entirely when you give an allowance.
Allowance Undermines Family Contributions
Motivating your children to pick up their socks, keep their rooms clean, and be helpful around the house shouldn’t be done out of monetary gain. Instead, your kids should have a willing desire to help you and contribute to the state of your home.
When you put a price on it (yes, even if it’s just a quarter), you turn something they did voluntarily into something they’re rewarded for doing. Your kids will then expect to be rewarded in other situations, like at school, for example.
Instead, it would be best to teach your kids to pull for the family by doing their share of chores. When they do them only because they get paid, this essential element of family dynamics disappears.
Plus, children from the age of 18 months to about 5 or 6 are naturally inclined to help. Painful as it may be to watch your 3-year-old sweep the same spot over and over again, letting them help without payment as a reward will turn them into helpful members of the household as they age.
It Won’t Help Them Be Financially Savvy
Some parents give out allowance because they think this will teach their children about money. But if you’re not overseeing what they do with this money, you’re not giving them any lesson. Children are impulsive by nature, likely the best part of actually being a kid that we all look back on with admiration.
Still, you might think your kid could learn from a bad decision or two. Buying a cheap toy that falls apart the first time they use it after splurging on it could certainly be a deterrent to future financial pitfalls after the initial wave of buyer’s remorse washes away.
A better way to teach your child about finances is to show them how you shop at the store, balance your checkbook, or save up for a rainy day. It’s not about giving them money for doing things they should really already be doing anyway.
And if you’re intent on giving your child money rather than an allowance, choose a savings account. Start now, and it will grow exponentially over the years as they move into adulthood. By the time they are adults, they will learn savvy spending. And they won’t shirk their chores to learn this lesson!