Sunday, December 7, 2008

How Much Allowance Do You Pay Your Kids?

I got tired of being one of those over-indulgent mothers who buy their kid something every time they leave the house. So when the boys turned about 5 and 7, Aron and I discussed chores and allowance. Those boys could darn well buy their own plastic animals and gum. (Flash forward 12 years to the post How to Make a Simple Chore Chart for Kids)

I got an allowance when I was growing up (FYI and shocker: I'm an only child). I had a different chore for every day of the week: dusting, vacuuming, changing the cat box, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting again. Every day I had to clean out the cat box. Mom wouldn’t let me near the laundry, which was probably best. I only had to do dishes in the summer when I was home all day. You don't even want to know what that house looked like a few months after I moved out!

Some parents don’t give an allowance. That’s cool. You are part of a family, Kid, so you should chip in. I agree.

I know a woman who pays 7 cents per year of age of the kid, which is too complicated for me. That’s taking homeschooling to the extreme, and it hurts my brain. So I would be making 7 cents times 37 years is … my brain hurts already. And my oldest son would be getting 49 cents per week? What’s he going to buy with that? That’s not even minimum wage in Kid World. Talk about living below Poverty Level.

My boys basically do the same chores even though they are 22 months apart in age, so I pay them the same: $3 per week (plus 50 cents to church and 50 cents to their savings account). Yes, it does add up, but I definitely love having the help bringing up dry laundry and diapers, putting away silverware, recycling, emptying smaller trashes into a large one. I will keep adding chores (vacuuming, dusting, dishes) as they become more capable but will keep the allowance amount the same for a while.

My friend Ellen charges to mediate, which I LOVE. If her kids are loudly fighting and asking her to do something about the other kid, she says, “Okay, I charge a quarter per fight to mediate.”

I wrote this little piece for KC Parent Magazine titled The Allowance Conundrum, so check it out!

What are your opinions on allowance?