It seemed that as soon as my son entered elementary school, I was constantly being asked about my views on allowances for children. For some reason, kindergarten seems to be the time when allowance decisions get made and parents must decide what to do in their families. Other moms at school, friends of mine with younger children, even my neighbors were curious about whether or not I would be giving my son an allowance. To set the record straight and let everyone know the basis behind my decision, I decided to write it all out and let the world know why I don't give my son an allowance.
The number one reason that I decided to not give my son a weekly allowance is to keep him from believing that he is entitled. I certainly do not receive a weekly paycheck for no reason at all, and I don't believe that children should either. Some argue that the only way for children to learn about budgeting and saving is through getting an allowance. I would counter that the child should be able to earn their own money and then learn about how to spread their newfound wealth around.
I believe in hard work and want to instill that same drive and work ethic in my little guy. That being said, every family member has jobs that they do to keep our home and family running smoothly. My son learned from a very early age that everyone is expected to pitch in. He feels a sense of satisfaction from completing his chores and does not do them begrudgingly, simply to earn an allowance.
Every day my son is responsible for picking up his room, making his bed and emptying the dishwasher. Twice a day he feeds our 4 cats, and is also expected to put any of his toys away that may have been played with throughout the house.
One of the chores that he has always enjoyed is loading and unloading the dishwasher. I am incredibly glad that he actually looks forward to these tasks because they are not my favorite! Hand-washing dishes might be too challenging for younger hands. Consider investing in a dishwasher, if you don't have one already. We keep a stool close by in the kitchen so he can easily reach deep into the sink or to put away a cup or plate on a higher shelf.
I do think it is important to note that he does have options if he would like to earn extra money. Say he has his eye on a new book set, or he would like to give to the charity drive at school, or he would simply like to sock away a few dollars in his savings account...we have set up this program to allow him to earn as much or as little as he so chooses. Tasks and chores that are above and beyond his normal, run of the mill chores, are eligible to allow him to earn a wage after satisfactorily completing them. There are times that I may offer an earning task, such as washing the car on a sunny day. Other times he may notice that something needs tending to and ask if it can be an earning task.
Some examples of earning tasks that my son has completed are:
Choosing whether or not to give your child an allowance is a personal choice. It is my hope that sharing my situation will help another parent when they are deciding what to do for their own child. This system has benefited us both exponentially. My son has been given a sense of control over his ability to earn money and contribute the family, and I get some extra help around the house. Sure, some weeks my wallet feels a little lighter than others, but I am proud of this system that we have created.