The Ins and Outs of Allowances.


Money makes the world go ‘round.

Money is the source of all evil.
Money is a primary source of arguments in marriages.
Yes, money matters and we need to teach our kids how to handle their nickels, dimes, loonies and toonies. Is an allowance the answer and if so how should it be handled?
Today we’re going to take a look at the question of allowances for our children. How much? When? For what?

But before we get to talk money, I want to invite you to tune into for a live interview on Friday evening (May 17) at 6pm pacific time with Stephanie Staples of Your Life Unlimited. It will also be archived. I look forward to speaking to you directly.

Mom, Can I Have Five Dollars?

Mom, I need money for lunch.” “Dad can you buy me a chocolate bar?” Ever feel like you spend all day with your hand in your pocket doling out money for one thing and another? 
And, to make it worse, the kids seem to think there’s an unending supply. How are they ever going to learn about responsible money management?
That’s the role of an allowance. Allowances teach kids how to handle money, which is an essential skill in today’s world. Children should start receiving an allowance from a young age.
Paul Lermitte, author of Allowances, Dollars and Sense suggests that Sunday evening be allowance time. He points out that if we give it to them Friday evening or Saturday morning they will spend it on the weekend. Giving it to them Sunday means they have to make it last the week if they want to have cash to spend the following weekend. Many families divide allowances into three sections. Money to save, money to charity or church and money to spend. The money to spend is theirs. If they choose, they can blow it. Let’s say that during the week they go out and spend their money on junk food. Saturday they want to go to a movie. 
But, the money has all been spent and they won’t get another allowance until tomorrow. A responsible parent will allow them to miss the movie. A loan will not help them learn how to handle money. An occasional loan, as long as it’s truly a loan, is fine but if you find yourself constantly doling out money and having to keep track of the money owed, one of two things is happening. Your child needs some help learning how to manage her cash or you need to reconsider the size of her allowance.
A great advantage for you is that an allowance can get you out of many fights about money. Once your child has an allowance, he doesn’t need to bug you every time he wants some cash and if he runs out, that’s his problem and he’ll have to wait until the next allowance day.
In every group I have ever addressed the question about chores arises. Should an allowance be tied into chores?
My answer is no. When we pay kids for regular tasks needed in order to run a household, we teach them that they should expect to be remunerated for anything they do (what’s in it for me?). They also have an absolute right to decide not to do any chores and simply not take the money. If they get a job at a fast food place or start babysitting for example, they will learn they can make better money elsewhere. And because we’ve told them that we are paying them for the work they do, they can certainly decide to go where the money is better.
Children should receive a portion of your disposable income simply by being family members and in order to learn money management. It is not their job as kids to earn money, it’s their job to grow up and go to school.
Chores teach kids that it takes work to run a household; they learn how to do the work so that when they are out on their own they will be capable and they learn that they have a role in the running of the household and are needed for the contribution they make to family.
Okay, so I have you convinced. Now, how much should they receive?
Sit down and make a list of what they will use the money for. A good way to figure that out is to pay attention for a week and note every time you give your child money and/or when you buy things for them. Now, what of those things would you like them to handle on their own?
Consider, treats, toys, recreation, school lunches, cell phone bills, transit etc. It may take a few tries to get it right and certainly the older the child, the more responsibility you can give them for handling their own needs. tashma

I am also a big fan of a clothing allowance once a child is about fourteen. Boy, does that end a lot of fights! And when you do that, the kids think underwear and socks are great gifts. For big purchases like coats, sporting equipment or snow boots you can work out a percentage that they pay.
And if your child has an amazing growth spurt over the summer and suddenly has no school clothing a growth bonus is in order.
The trick is to have the kids involved in determining a budget and if they want a raise in allowance, they need to bring the numbers to you.
Managing money is a life-long skill and the more experience and knowledge they develop when they are children, the easier the financial responsibilities of adulthood.

How Can I Find Kathy?
Do you want to arrange a parenting event and save money on the travel expenses? It’s simple. I will let you know my travel plans and you can take advantage of the fact that I will be in your town and keen to work with you and the parents or professionals in your life.
I am going to be in Calgary in early June and in Red Deer Alberta in mid July and can easily adapt my schedule to fit your needs.
I will also be traveling along the Pacific Northwest in Washington and Oregon in June.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Bringing Parenting Today to your event.
Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters. And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:

P.U.R.E. Parenting.
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.

A New E-Book
Why is it that Jeremy and Olivia who are siblings are so different? Every child is unique and usually shows their particular temperament right from birth. What’s a parent to do?
Watch for a new e-book due out in July called Vive la Difference; Raising Children with Different Temperaments.
You’ll find out in this newsletter the minute it is available

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