When I was a kid, we got an allowance each week. My parents assigned us chores, and we got our allowance every Friday. I seem to think it was $1 a week, but my memory could be slightly off.
Now I am a parent and my own children have assigned chores which they must complete each week. Unlike my parents, I don’t just automatically dole out the allowance each week. In fact, the whole “allowance thing” works totally different at our house.
We have a large family, which means that it takes a lot of work just to keep up with the laundry, dishes, and “basic” household tasks. It can take several hours just to go grocery shopping and put away the grocery items alone!
Since the children contribute to the household mess, I expect them to help clean up after themselves. I do expect them to load and unload the dishes, and fold the laundry for free. I also expect them to put away their folded clothes, to carry in groceries to the house after a shopping trip, and to help put away those groceries–all without expecting an allowance for these chores.
Yes, my teens have complained about the fact that this is unfair. Yes, they have mentioned to me that their friends get paid an allowance for doing the very same things. They also mention that their friends get paid LARGE sums to do chores. I listen to them complain, and then explain why I do things the way I do things.
As an adult, I don’t get paid to wash, cook, clean, and do the shopping. These are things that I do because I am a responsible parent. I have explained to the children that as responsible members of the household, they are expected to also do certain chores without an expectation of financial gain. One day, they will be adults and they will be expected to wash, cook, and clean for free too because they will be responsible and because this is what responsible people do.
Do the children ever get an allowance? Yes. For several days, my oldest was really good about doing the dishes without my asking her to do so. I did give her an allowance on those days because I appreciated her initiative.
I should mention that I do pay the children an allowance to do the more unattractive chores that need to be done. For example, they earn “top dollar” for cleaning up after the dog! They also get paid to wash and clean out the cars. If I have a pressing work deadline and need to work in the evening when my husband is traveling for his job, I do pay them to “watch” their younger brother so I can work mostly undisturbed.
Do you give your children and allowance? Why or why not?