Teaching your children how to give, save and spend money all starts with an allowance. But when it comes to kids’ allowances, at what age should you start giving? And how much?
By Jessica Smartt, Contributing Writer
Have you implemented an allowance system for your kids? Do you ever wonder how much kids should get? Is anything too much … or too little? And when should you start?
I have asked myself that question frequently as my kids are now 7 and 5. I guess I always assumed we would do an allowance system, but I didn’t know how at what age we would begin.
Honestly, my motivation for starting was simple.
- I wanted my kids to have money to give.
- I wanted my kids to understand (forgive my old people talk) the value of a dollar.
When are kids are ready for an allowance?
I have heard of people implementing allowance at ages 3 or 4, but I feel that my children wouldn’t have understood much at that age. How do you know if your kids are ready?
I knew my kids were ready, because they were expressing interest in those things I listed above:
- They wanted to give money to people in need.
- They wanted STUFF. And they had no clue how much it cost.
Many people want their small children to have money to put the offering plate. We never did that regularly, but I think at the earlier ages, simply giving them a coin or a dollar prior to church is all that they need.
How much allowance should you give your kids?
When you know your child is ready for allowance, then how much?
Ah, that’s the question. After mulling over this question, I have a very simple answer:
The smallest possible amount.
For the younger ages (lower elementary), that means – brace yourselves – $1 a week. Could you go even less?! Maybe! If you’re implementing allowance for the first time, here are a few tips:
- Vary the denominations. Use dollar bills sometimes, and coins sometimes.
- Consider allowing them to decide for themselves how much to give away instead of mandating an amount. Remember, God loves a cheerful giver. They may surprise you with their generosity.
- Check out a partitioned piggy bank, or at least a separate place for them to put some of their “saving” portion.
- Don’t necessarily tie the allowance to chores that have to be done. (“No allowance unless all your chores are done!!”) This was something I have tweaked since I began allowance. We give our kids chores, but their allowance is theirs, whether or not every single chore has been completed every single day. To be honest, this gives me as a mom a break. Sometimes life gets crazy and chores don’t get done. When I give them their allowance, I say something cheesy like, “I’m glad you’re in our family. Thank you for helping to do your chores. Here’s your allowance!” They get a kick of out of it.
- If you want to take the work / reward concept a step farther, consider adding a simple chore-for-money jar. Again, I’m a big believer in simple. All the chores are $.50; draw one out of the glass and do it.
For more ideas about kids, chores, and money, check out this chore system for young kids–that works!