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.

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!