I feel that it is important for my children to learn financial responsibility. However, I don't feel that they should be paid to do their part in the household. I am a single parent, living on such a limited income that I really can't afford to give them an allowance. So, where is the happy medium?
My children have never received an allowance and quite frankly, they've never really had a need for an allowance. After all, every need and want has always been catered to. Beginninng early on, a trip to the grocery store results in treats of candy, snacks, or small toys. Lord forbid the ice cream truck drive by without my kids lining up for a treat. We often visited local museums, aquariums or the zoo and what is a trip to any of those places without visiting the gift shop. Then there are the countless trips to an arcade, indoor amusement park, go-cart track, indoor bounce houses, etc. etc. Let's not forget about shows such as Disney on Ice and Dora. Then of course, amusement parks, water parks.......not to mention a trip to the toy store after a difficult medical procedure, test, or illness. Ahhhh....and ALL of the holidays, Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas, "just because your my kid day" (I'm sure there is one, lol), just to name a few. You see where I'm going with this! Sometimes they receive a few dollars here and there for different reasons, from their grandma. Maybe it's their birthday, or for a job well done in school, a get well soon wish or even "just because".
There was a time when I would be accused of "taking" their money. As young children, they seem to not get the concept of being out somewhere and seeing something they want and chosing to pay me back for something they want to buy with the money they have at home. Sometimes, they would lose their money and this too, was of course, my fault. To remedy this problem, years ago...I purchased my older three kids a checkbook from Learning Resources. They each had a ziplock bag with their name on it. This was their "bank account". All of their money went into their bank account. Each time they received money, no matter how big or small the amount...they would have to fill out a deposit slip and deposit it into their bank account and log the balance in their check register. When we were out somewhere and they saw something they wanted to use their money for, they would have to write a check. I would purchase the item and they would keep the reciept and log it in their check register. I would then take the amount out of their bank account. This taught them the concept of having to pay for something and I was no longer accused of stealing their money. We used this system for quite some time, but I think Cardinal was the only one old enough to gain anything from it. She has in turn become very responsible with her money and she is very careful with what she spends money on. She thinks twice before wasting every penny she gets, unlike Hawk or Eagle who rush to the Dollar Store to spend every penny just as soon as they get it and it's usually spent on candy. After all, what do they care...they get everything else they want anyways, so why save their money for anything. Cardinal rarely buys herself anything, but occasionally she does splurge and buy herself something. She takes so much pride in saving her money and beginning about 3 years ago, she began purchasing all of her siblings a gift for Christmas. This past Christmas, she not only bought nice gifts for her siblings, but she also bought for her grandparents and all of her cousins. She got so much more joy out of giving than she ever could buying herself anything.
For about the past year, my children have been begging for an allowance. Lately, I've pondered and looked into the different online programs that are out there and I've read all of the different ways that other parents handle chores and giving allowances, etc. So many parents seem to pay their children for doing chores and contributing to their household...I personally, just can not justify that! I want my children to respect our family unit and that we need to work together as a family to make our house a nice, comfortable place to live. I want them to stop expecting someone to do everything for them. I want them to learn to be independent and be willing to help others without expecting something in return. I don't want to instill the "instant gratification" factor in them!
I do want them to learn that in life, we do have responsiblities, both at home and in our job. I want them to work for things that they want and I want them to experience a reward when their hard work pays off.
I have started off the new year with lots of re-organinzing in our house. I started with organinzing the house (not yet complete, but sooooo close to being done). Then I came up with a new chore system...and that has led to the question of "allowance". When I did our chore system, there were certain chores that I was willing to "pay" for. Things such as:
- cleaning the yard
- mowing the grass/ pulling weeds or shoveling snow
- cleaning/washing the van
- giving the dogs a bath
- cleaning the animal cages