I remember there was a time when we were growing up as kids our mom gave us an allowance. As a kid, I thought it was pretty cool. But I also remember as a kid, not wanting to do chores. If I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t mind not getting my allowance. Thinking back, it did seem a little confusing because eventually my mom would just tell me I didn’t have a choice, I was going to do it anyway. After a while we stopped getting an allowance. After having my own kids, I can see why she did away with the allowance thing.
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with giving kids an allowance. There are some things kids can learn from getting an allowance. How to save money, how to spend money, etc. But not all families are the same. Not all kids are the same. Some kids learn differently than others. Some kids may benefit from an allowance while others may not. We tried it once with our kids but like my own mom, we stopped doing it. The reasons below are why we did. Keep in mind these reasons are because of what was happening in our own household.
No one is going to pay them to clean their house when they move out
This was the main reason we thought of when we first decided on whether or not to give them an allowance. They are going to have to learn how to be motivated to do their own chores. They aren’t going to be paid for taking care of their own house. I want them to know that not all work is only valuable when being paid. Work can be valuable even when there’s no monetary gain.
Sharing in family responsibility
They are part of our family. Our home belongs to our family. I feel like they should have some of the responsibility because as a family, we work together. It shouldn’t be about “what’s in it for them”. We don’t have them do anything that isn’t age appropriate and there aren’t that many things that go above and beyond of taking care of their own stuff.
Chores being something to avoid because they care more about their time than money
This one was the biggest reason we decided we weren’t going to do an allowance. At first it was cool. But after a while they decided their time wasn’t worth it. They would rather go outside or do whatever it was they wanted to do. This is the part where it started to become confusing for our kids. I got to the point where I said, “Too bad, you are going to do it anyway”. By that time, the lesson started to become lost and we didn’t want to feel like we had to bribe our kids to do something.
Learning about responsibility
Most of the things our kids are expected to do are things like cleaning their rooms, picking their stuff up etc. They should learn to be responsible for their own things and to respect the rest of the house. It also teaches them how to be appreciative of what others do. I might spend the day doing laundry and mopping the kitchen floor. I don’t want to have to clean up all their socks they left around the house. While they should learn to show their appreciation to us, we in turn show our appreciation to them.
I want housework to become a habit and not just something they have to do (even though it is)
Housework and chores aren’t going to go away. It’s always going to need to be done and no one is going to do it for them their whole lives. No one likes to do these things. I mean, there’s the rare few that do enjoy cleaning – just not in our house. We started them early on certain tasks. As they got older, it didn’t seem much like work to them anymore. When they were young, we always made it a point to let them know that they were helping. And we did make so it was just that. As time went on, they were doing the things on their own and it wasn’t a big deal.
Then something strange happened….
Eventually they started asking to do things. Asking to help with things. My daughter will offer to start clothes or load the dish washer. She will offer to sweep and mop the floor knowing I was busy with something else. My boys will take the trash out, take the dog out, pick stuff up that doesn’t belong to them. My youngest likes to go out and check the mail. Although I could always use the exercise and walk down our long driveway myself. My older two enjoy helping with dinner and our oldest son was so excited this year. He’s finally heavy enough to drive our lawnmower. He was ecstatic he is now mowing the lawn himself.
Now if only I can get them in the habit of getting their clothes into the hamper….
There are other ways to learn about money
Just because we don’t give our kids an allowance doesn’t mean they never have their own money. They have money every once in a while. Sometimes when they are hanging out with a friend and want to go shopping, we might give them a little money. One time one of our son’s went with a friend to a water park. We gave him a little spending money for that. They also receive money for birthdays or other gifts. They don’t have their own money that often but it’s often enough that they can learn about the responsibility of having money. Our kids go shopping with us, we show them how we budget and that sort of thing too. Even my youngest knows how to find a sale.
They have tons of privileges anyway
Without receiving an allowance, our kids have a ton of privileges as it is. And they also know those privileges can be revoked at any time for reasons not limited to taking care of their responsibilities. They have tablets, Chromebooks, video games and consoles, they have phones (at least two of them do), etc. Both our boys also play soccer and that costs money. Our daughter is in band, our older son is also going to be in band next year. We always try to do our best to let them do the things they want to do. Or have the things they want although they also know and respect that we can’t always do everything.
In my opinion, I think they can live without an allowance.