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Should I Give My Child an Allowance?

Giving a child an allowance may help teach her about how money works.
Parents may give children an allowance in exchange for doing chores.
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  • Written By: Crowtation
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 18 March 2014
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Deciding whether to give a child an allowance is truly a decision best left to his parents. There are a variety of factors to consider when making this decision, such as how much to give, whether to give it in exchange for doing chores around the house, and how old a child should be before he starts receiving an allowance. Those who support giving children an allowance say it will teach them how to handle money, including saving, which will help them as adults. People who disagree with the idea say children should not be paid for doing household chores and that simply having money doesn't mean children will learn to properly manage it.

The benefits of giving children an allowance are numerous, and there are many lessons they can learn once they are in charge of their own money. Learning responsibility and how to stay within a set budget are two things children can learn from having money. A monthly allowance allows children to see the importance of making smart purchases and learning how to fit everything they buy into their monthly budget. Children can also learn about saving — primarily that, if they save their money for a few months, they can purchase much better things than if they spend all the money they are given as soon as they get it.

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An argument can also be made for why children should not receive an allowance. One common reason is that children will not be responsible and will buy things their parents consider to be a waste of money. Even when receiving an allowance, children sometimes will see an item they want and realize they do not have enough money to buy it. This could lead to complaints that they do not receive enough money and should have their allowance raised.

Part of deciding whether to give an allowance includes thinking about how it will work if one does. Parents need to decide how old the child should be before he begins receiving such funds and how much money he should be given. Generally, children in the 3- to 5-years range show signs of understanding how money works. When determining how much to give, a good rule of thumb for younger children is to give them money according to their age. That means a 5 year old would receive $5 US Dollars (USD) a week or month, depending on how often the allowance is distributed. As children get older, their expenses increase, so it is best for parents to sit down with their children and decide what they need and give them money based on that.

Whether children should be paid for doing chores around the house is a debatable topic, and there are reasons for and against it. Supporters say children who are paid for doing chores learn the value of getting paid for doing good work, which will help when they are adults and have a job. Others feel children should not be paid for chores and, as part of the family, should help out around the house just like everyone else does. Another consideration is whether the only punishment for not doing chores is not getting paid. If so, children may choose not to do them, especially if they do not need the money at the time.

When deciding whether to give children an allowance, it is best to weigh the benefits and the risks and then make a decision. Talking to other parents may be helpful, and they could offer further advice based on how they handle the issue with their children. Keep in mind, though, that what works for one family may not work for another, and the allowance decision should be based on what works best for one's particular situation.

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