Giving Your Child an Allowance

Should You Give Kids an Allowance?Giving Your Child an Allowance

Is anything in the world of finance and parenting more debated than this – should you give your kid an allowance? Will it turn them into lifelong moochers or teach them valuable budgeting skills. In the Rich Mama’s humble opinion an allowance is a good tool for younger kids, when used as a way to regulate the “I want that’s…” Since children this small really do have a hard time doing jobs to earn money, an allowance can be a great way for them to learn to save up for that pack of gum or special toy.

According to some financial experts, giving your child an allowance is one of the best ways to instill solid financial skills in their young brains. Compared with a “pay as you go” policy, where you pay for what your child wants when he or she wants it, a weekly allowance can help your child better understand that money must be earned before it can be spent. This is a lesson your child certainly needs as an adult.

In addition, older kids are more influenced by their peers, especially where spending habits are concerned. Don’t forget you also have to contend with television commercials, radio ads, and other forms of media selling, selling, and selling. Managing an allowance at a young age will help your child more quickly grow accustomed to spending limits and restrictions.

What’s important if you’re going to give an allowance is to discuss what’s covered by the allowance. In other words you might not expect your kids to pay for their whole back to school wardrobe with their allowance, but if they want to go to the movies with friends, this might be an allowance item. Just make sure you and your partner sit down and discuss what you think you should be paying for versus what your kids should pay for with their allowance.  And then when you and your spouse are on the same page, then go start to negotiate with your kids.

Chores, Smores

With older kids, there are some families who have them do chores in exchange for an allowance. On the one hand this teaches the principle of now worky…no pay-ey…On the other hand moms and dads do a lot of crap around the house without any expectation of allowance, and if you’re teaching your kids that if they make their bed and get a dollar, then what happens when they’re on their own – and no one is giving them a dollar.

With older kids I favor the approach of chores that need to get done no matter what, plus a base allowance, plus an opportunity for kids to earn money doing extra jobs around the house. For instance if there is a job you would outsource, then consider paying your child for it. It could even be cooking a meal a week if it stops you from ordering takeout.


How Much is Too Much

So, how much allowance should you give your child? You can determine the amount in a variety of ways. Some parents and financial experts suggest one dollar for every year of age. Others say to set the amount based on how you expect your child to use the allowance, providing enough money to put in a savings account, give to charity, and to spend. Still others suggest giving your child an amount based on what other kids receive around the same age.

Whatever you choose, give it some thought, talk to your spouse and your child about a realistic amount, and start low rather than high. It’s always easier to increase a child’s allowance than to give him less because you started out giving too much.

As your child grows and matures, an allowance will help teach money management skills and develop responsible spending habits. Simply buying what your child needs and wants doesn’t allow the same learning opportunity. Giving an allowance may be a trial and error process for your family, but it’s one that is well worth the effort and learning curve. It will teach lifelong skills that your child will need—and thank you for—when your child becomes an adult.

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How Parents Can Help with the Emotional Challenges of Transitioning

School transitions can be pretty tough for kids – and as a mom you want to help ease them through it – but how?

Parents can help with the emotional challenges of transitioning, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to help. Here are some tips on how you can help your kids make those important transitions.

Preschool to Kindergarten

Here may be one of the first big transitions in your child’s life. The emotional challenges of this age involve separation anxiety and social readiness (or unreadiness). Here are some tips.

* Tour the school with your child over the summer before he or she begins kindergarten. Familiarizing her with the teacher, classrooms, playground, and overall layout of the school will help a lot.

* Understand her feelings, say experts. Parents may get impatient with separation anxiety and tears, but if you’re going to support your child, it’s a good idea to understand where she’s coming from. Talk about how she feels, and help her put words to the feelings (that can be hard at this age). This helps her identify the feelings which may make them less scary.

Grade School to Middle School

This can be a big one. It’s an emotional age at this point, so parents would do well to prepare themselves. Some of these tips may help.

* Understanding feelings is important at this age, too, but it’s not the same as going from preschool to grade school. Obviously, your child doesn’t need words to identify what he’s feeling. As a parent, you can help by recognizing the priority shift your child will have. His emotions are more focused on peers and the opposite sex than they were in grade school.

* Asking questions without judgment can help parents connect emotionally with their kids during transitional challenges. Try to find out what your child’s concerns, fears, and apprehensions are, as well as the things he is looking forward to and is excited about.

Middle School to High School

Kids start feeling independent and “grown up” about this time. Here are some tips on dealing with this transition.

* Help them solve their own problems. At this point, calling the school for every complaint may not help your child. The transition may be smoother if you can offer some problem solving skills and strategies to help your child help herself. This is an opportunity to help your child come up with a plan to help solve the issues at hand.

* Go to orientation if it’s offered. If it’s not, tour the school. Find teachers and advisors who can talk to your student about her fears and concerns, which will help alleviate some of those concerns. Many times, kids fear high school for reasons that really aren’t realistic.

High School to College

Sending your child off to college is a big step! How can parents help their increasingly-independent child with this transition? Here are some tips.

* Validate your child’s feelings about this big change. It may be tempting to blow off their problems – they don’t have “real problems” grown-ups may think – but remember your college-aged kids don’t have the life experience and frame of reference that you do. Being patient with their concerns can help make their transition smoother. Let them vent!

* Keep in touch with care packages and special gifts at key times (like final exams or his birthday). This helps support them more than you may know!


Middle School: Tips for Helping Your Child Adjust

It’s back to school time – can you believe it  – and now that you’ve finished shopping, it’s time to start thinking about how to help your kid have a stellar year.  Lots of times we focus on our kindergartener, but really middle school can be a trying time. This is that age when children start to change from little kids to adults, and they have something of a battle going on inside them. Peers start to mean more, and parents may feel they are losing their influence. But there are some things you can do to help make it easier. Here are some tips for helping your child adjust to middle school.

Talk to Your Child

Have you tried asking your child some questions about his or her concerns about starting middle school? Try having a conversation where you don’t judge or show big reactions, and see if you can discern some of the things she’s concerned about. Try to phrase things positively, putting yourself in the position of helper not critic.

Remember Where Your Child’s Mind Is

You may be thinking only of academic performance and how this new stage will affect it, but did you stop to think about what your child is thinking about most? Do you remember what you were thinking about the most when you were in middle school?

Most kids this age are thinking about their friends, their looks, and boys/girls (whatever the opposite sex is). In other words, they are really much more focused on the social scene and what others think about them than they are about grades. This doesn’t mean you should let grades slide; it just helps you understand why their mindset seems to be changing. It is!

Tour the School

Just like for younger kids getting ready to start Kindergarten, your middle school student will be attending a new place with new teachers and classrooms. He will have lots of teachers – a different one for each subject – rather than one teacher all day.

So take your child for a tour of the school before the first day to help him get oriented. It can be overwhelming to change classes for the first time, trying to find the right classroom, the cafeteria, and so forth. You can help take some of the edge off by touring the school first.

Don’t Change Everything

This is a time of big upheaval for your child. Try to keep some of those comforting family routines and rituals in place as the middle school years roll around. Your child may not act like she values these traditions, but they can really help keep her secure and grounded in the middle of all the change.

Tweet: Middle school muddle? Help your child adjust to this significant transition with these practical tips. LINK

Your Questions About Tacky Christmas Lights

Lisa asks…

Are multicolored Christmas lights tacky?

I saw in this one article that multicolored Christmas lights aren’t tasteful when you put them on the exterior of your house. They said white lights are more sophisticated looking. What do you think?

richmama answers:

WHAT? Definitely not. White lights are so boring. We put multi colored up on our house and they look great. I like color. We put them on our tree too. Who wants all white?

David asks…

With 2 wars going on is it tacky to put christmas lights on the home?

Is it tacky to put christmas lights on my home with 2 wars going on? Should we really be celebrating/wasting energy while our brave young men and women are overseas fighting ?
For all the Gold Star parents, spouses and children is it not disrespecting them to be “celebrating” There is a gold star family on my block and don’t want to hurt them even more by them seeing a party in my front yard

richmama answers:

All the more reason to celebrate the Prince of Peace.

EDIT: People lose family members, including their children, every day, for various tragic reasons. Life does not stop for them, and they do not expect it to stop for anyone else. As long as you don’t lose sight of what you’re really celebrating, you should definitely continue. That’s what they would want, and that’s what they do overseas.

Mary asks…

Is 60,000 christmas lights tacky for a home?

richmama answers:

I think NOT. Its gloriously beautiful!

Ruth asks…

Whole house christmas lights? Fun or tacky?

I know some homes flip out with Christmas lights, firing up enough lamps to power a small city. To each their own I guess, but do you like this in your neighborhood?? It seems so tacky too me. I wonder how much energy is wasted in December, just from everyones christmas light displays???

(yea yea, I know…bah humbug!) lol

richmama answers:

Tacky and contributes to global warming

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