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.

I got an allowance when I was growing up. 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.

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, you Denim Jumper Wearer. 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 (are my capital letters annoying you yet?).

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.”

By the way, I don’t think brushing your teeth and cleaning your room are chores that you should get paid for. When I pay the kids, I tell them, “Nice having you on my slave roster” because they think they have it so bad. Who else thinks I need to take my kids Downtown to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter so they can see just how good we have it?

The boys are not allowed to buy anything until after Christmas so Santa has something to actually bring them. Then Joel wants to save $50 to donate to WWF and get a stuffed animal in return.

What are your opinions on allowance?


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