Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Giving money to children who behave well is a somewhat touchy subject. There are so many differing views from parents about the different factors when it comes to giving children a portion of the overall family’s income to reflect the amount of work they share at home. Obviously, you aren’t splitting the money evenly between parents and child, but rather giving them a small amount of money to test what they would do.

The amount a child receives should be based on their respective age, needs and how they handle their funds. It’s normal for parents to set guidelines on spending and what you expect them to use that money for. Some kids may want to use some of their money on snacks at school during lunch period, or maybe cover lunches overall. They receive these funds through an allowance paid for doing work around the house.

Some children use their allowance wages to save up for clothing they really want – i.e. the newest Air Jordan sneakers. The value of their wants can grow with their age and while you will have their basic needs covered, parents are expected to help children learn the importance and the true value of their money.

This money will provide a great way for children to learn how to establish goals and save for bigger purchases like a brand new bicycle or a skateboard. This requires planning and building a budget for what they need to save every week from their allowance and how long it will take to get it. This is the best way for children to develop financial independence.

But not all children spend with the best of judgements. Some money might be spent rather quickly instead of having some of it kept away. Or maybe the allowance is spent on something that was great at first, but doesn’t really last all that long (i.e. expensive toy that breaks). While parents need to allow their children to discover their independence, there are moments when mom and/or dad have to step in and provide some additional guidance in the best interest in the child’s future.

For example, if a child develops a weight problem, the parents are likely going to have to interfere and restrict money being spent on snacks. Consider decisions like these a matter of common sense. But then there are the moments when a child isn’t acting in the best behavior and some believe the child should not receive his or her allowance.

Unfortunately, behavior is best to be kept out of it because withholding funds from the work that they accomplished can cause resentment between parent and child. There should be additional measures to help promote maintaining a positive attitude around the house that doesn’t involve the allowance earned for chores.

This allowance should be paid on a regular basis – pending chores actually being done. We as adults receive our paychecks either weekly or bi-weekly, so schedule your child’s payments along that same schedule. A good side note is using small bills and coins if possible so that they don’t have to worry about breaking larger bills.

It’s best to start with small amounts for children at the age of 4 and then let it grow gradually with age until they turn 15 – the perfect time for your child to start looking for a part-time job that will continue to build on responsibility and independence. When they are young, have them keep their money in a box or bank and then when they get older, they can have a savings account or basic checking account opened up for them.

The most important thing about providing an allowance is to help alleviate the pressure that kids sometimes place on parents to buy this and buy that. If they see a toy that their friends have and they want it, they can start earning the money to buy it by helping around the house.