I come from a Greek background, my husband is Italian so I never got an allowance growing up, it was just expected that I do chores around the house. As a teenager, I wasn’t allowed to go out Friday or Saturday night until I had my chores done, which included cleaning the house. Now that I have kids of my own, I often wonder if I should be giving my kids an allowance.
Growing up this way, it’s ingrained that we all have to do chores and clean up after ourselves in the house, and that we shouldn’t attach money to daily tasks such as making your bed, putting your dirty plate into the dishwasher. So I haven’t been giving my kids an allowance.
Should I be giving my children an allowance?
Teresa Cascioli, author of the children’s book series M is for Money™, says giving an allowance to children is important for parents to see how children respond to money. “Parents will see whether they are savers or spenders, and give kids an opportunity to understand there is a correlation between work and reward.”
M is for Money™ is a children’s book series following the financial adventures of its main characters, Tessa and Benji, as they learn about money, making and saving money, visiting a bank, taking out a loan and more. M is for Money™, written by Teresa Cascioli, is aimed to children 5-9 years of age, the perfect time to start talking about dollars and coins, and their value.
Parents should monitor how their child responds to having money, how they save for something they want to buy, and learning how to budget. Some kids are natural savers, some are natural spenders.
I already know that my 11 year old will save his money, but my 9 year old will spend every dollar he receives. How do I teach him to save?
Give your spender play money
Teresa suggests giving him play money, which she provides in her book series. “For x and y chores, they’ll get a $5 Benji bill. That Benji or Tessa money, then they can buy something special – parents can convert play money to real money.”
This way, my big spender will learn to understand work very early, thats it’s not easy to earn a buck – and that they don’t take my money for granted. By giving him an allowance with play money, I’ll learn what he will do with it, and how he’s going to spend it – teaching him how to budget. And if my children make a mistake, it’s ok.
“We understood money in a different way because our parents didn’t have money to give us. That’s not the case anymore,” says Teresa. “When parents now give their children money, they get the $5 and think, ‘oh mommy gave me the $5, or it comes out of the machine.’ By having them work for it, and having them make decisions with the money, it helps them understand the value of a dollar, the hard work that is involved in earning it, and you’ll find they won’t be as free to give or spend their money.”
Chores recommended for allowance?
Chores that aren’t necessary every day, that require extra effort, can be great for allowances. Here are some examples:
- Helping clean the car
- Helping in the garden, ie. water flowers
- Spring cleaning
- Helping to wash the windows
- Shoveling the snow
The book series are available now in eBook, soft and hardcover format at MisforMoney.ca, Indigo/Chapters, Mastermind Toys and other fine retailers across Canada.