NZ Woman's Weekly

Children and pocket money

Children and pocket money

Dear Diane,
Has anyone ever worked out how much pocket money is appropriate for each age? I feel as if we are constantly giving money for various things and still my kids turn around and say that we “owe” them! They tell us their friends get more pocket money than they do but that reminds me of being at work and none of us knowing really what each other earns! My son empties the dishwasher each day but he needs a lot of prompting. My daughter makes her bed and dusts a bit, but frankly it’s not a huge contribution. I’m an only child and was very spoilt so I don’t know how to create a framework that will work!

Susie, by email

Dear Susie,
No matter what amount of pocket money you give your child, they will always be able to find one – or several people – who get more. Pick four of each of your children’s friends’ parents (choose parents who are raising fairly responsible, well-mannered children) and find out how much pocket money they get, if and how they are expected to earn it and what they use it for. There are two basic systems of children getting pocket money and doing chores.

One system is to have them tied to each other. There is a list of expected chores and children are expected to do them without coercion or reminder. Chores not done incur a loss of a fixed amount of pocket money. The problem with this method is that not all children are motivated by money. The other way is to keep chores and pocket money separate. Children of the household are expected to do chores without coercion as part of their contribution to the household. Children of the household are given pocket money so that they can learn about spending wisely, delaying gratification and saving. This way means that you have to find ways other than payment to get children to do chores. Whichever way you choose, you need a system that is transparent, fair and consistent.

Diane Levy provides expert answers to your parenting queries. Send your questions to: family@nzww.co.nz. Diane’s parenting books are available in book shops.

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