“Is this chore for allowance?”
That’s the question of the day, lately. (Sometimes, several times a day.)
“What would Caroline Ingalls say to that?” is my usual reply. I figure chores are part of being a family, part of contributing to a household. In a single-parent household with four pets, the kids need to step it up even more.
There are exceptions. Here at Chez Mom, the answer is usually no to cash for chores unless it’s a BIG chore that goes the extra mile, i.e., cleaning up the winter’s fossilized dog poo during the muck of the spring thaw, or a massive purge of old clothes and toys to give away. I tend to cave when the big jobs are done willingly and with a smile.
But my older one pointed out that I’m hopeless about providing a regular allowance. “If it’s not for chores— which, okay, I understand—then how do I earn money regularly? No offense, Mom, but you, like, NEVER give us allowance. You never have cash. You always forget.”
She’s right. I’m lousy at the allowance thing. And I can’t remember how Mary and Laura Ingalls earned their pennies to use at the Olsen’s store for a piece of candy once in a while. My gals hanker less for candy than they do for the occasional app or Kindle book, and at 8 and almost 11, they’re not getting gigs as mother’s helpers too often.
“Mom. You didn’t answer me.”
“Give me a week. I’m thinking about it,” I say. “This is confusing stuff for grownups. What does your dad do?”
“He forgets, like you.”
I stumbled across an article about allowance over at Scholastic. The article, like others I’ve read, suggests that linking allowance to chores or grades or behavior is a bad move. The article also suggests that if parents aren’t consistent with allowance, the kids don’t get a chance to learn how to budget.
At the same time, I’m pretty sure my allowance was conditional on chores, and I don’t think it did me any long-lasting harm (although I’m not exactly a star performer at household budgeting, it’s true).
What’s your take on kids and money? How do you handle allowance with your kids?