Understanding the relationship between hard work and money is good for kids, and allowance can be used to teach some of this lesson. Agreeing that your kids will get paid for chores need not mean, however, that they should work around the house only in exchange for material rewards. In fact, they can learn valuable lessons about more than finances if they are paid for some but not all of the chores they do.
Distinguishing between Chores
Children should understand that they are a part of a family unit in which everyone should be willing to do his or her part. Point out to your children the many tasks you perform, like food shopping, cooking meals and doing laundry. These are tasks you do out of love for family with no payment expected. Talk with your kids about the chores you expect them to approach in a similar way. These might include drying the dishes or taking out the trash. Cleaning their bedrooms and picking up after themselves in general are other chores you might want them to do without any reward from you but appreciation.
After you and your kids clarify which jobs are expected without payment, you should also decide on a list of chores they can do to make some cash for the week. This is based on the assumption that they have completed their regular chores. Extra chores may be things like mowing the lawn, washing the car, vacuuming the floors or cleaning the bathrooms.
Avoiding "Gimme Hands"
One very good reason to set up an allowance system is to avoid cultivating a sense of entitlement in your children. If they are given everything they want for making little or no effort, you may soon realize that your child have "gimme hands," which means they will have a "give me this" and "give me that" attitude. People who grow up with this attitude can have a difficult time in school, where good grades are not passed out just because someone wants them, and in the workforce.
Learning the Value of a Dollar
If you start paying your kids an allowance for doing extra chores, you may happily discover that they are not as quick to part with their cash as you might have expected. Kids can begin to learn the value of a dollar at a very early age. They can see how hard they have worked to earn the money and will often make intelligent decisions. If your child does decide to buy something luxurious, such as a music player, with allowance saved, he will probably take better care of it.
Establishing Good Saving Habits
As that example suggests, another money lesson your kids can learn through receiving allowance is the importance of saving. This is a good time to set up a savings account in your child's name at a local bank. She will be thrilled to observe her balance increase as she adds to her account. Teach your kids to save a certain percentage of any money they earn. This will instill good habits at a young age that they can carry with them throughout their lifetime.