Monday, January 12, 2009

What's everyone doing about allowance?

All righty, here's the deal: Ben's 8, and he's a quasi-spoiled only child who's not expected to do much around the house. He has no specific scheduled chores, though we sort of put him on empty-the-trashcans duty. We haven't started giving him a weekly allowance, but I'm wondering if it's time.

So: What are you doing, if you've got a kid of allowance age in the house?
  1. How much money per week (or other unit of time)?
  2. Are you paying per chore rather than per week?
  3. What sort of chores are on the kid's list?
  4. Do you withhold allowance for any reason?
  5. How do you make yourself remember not to do a chore you've assigned to the kid? Like, if the kid's off at school and you just want to get rid of the dirty dishes, do you empty the dishwasher yourself even if that's the kid's chore?
Thanks for your input, folks.


imnverted said...

We pay our 11 yo $5 a week but that includes getting homework turned in, getting good grades, doing dishes, cleaning toilets & bathrooms, keeping his room clean, vacuming and other help around the house when asked. It is withheld if his grades are poor or homework isnt turned or attitude is crappy. Now for our 7yo, he gets $1 a week but that includes the same for homework, attitude and keeping his room clean. We are starting to have him help more around the house which he isnt liking.

For your #5 item it depends on how many times that day a chore has needed to be done. There have been times dishes needed to be emptied 3 times. I may take pity on the kids and do it myself but most of the time I make them suffer ;oP After all, I fill it and make dinner (lunch, breakfast) so they can do their part.

Jay said...

Eve is the same age as Ben, as you know. We started her on an allowance to teach her about budgeting and saving. We don't treat it as salary; it's not tied to chores and we don't withhold it for any specific reasons (although we do sometimes forget to give it to her). Eve gets $2.00/wk. She is expected to give tzedakah (charity) at religious school out of her own money, and certain discretionary purchases (Pokemon cards and DS games, in particular) are her responsibility. She can use her money for vending-machine snacks at the JCC but she doesn't do that often because she'd rather buy cards. Which was sort of the point we wanted her to get.

We are considering paying her extra to do special chores, like helping paint the sewing room or packing up the clothes for donation.

She has no regular chores because we don't have enough of a routine to set that up. She is expected to generally pitch in when we're getting dinner ready, usually by setting the table or feeding the dogs. She is responsible for tidying her room, putting away her laundry and making sure her swim stuff is hung up to dry on swim days. She also has homework and violin and piano practice, so she doesn't have all the much time for other chores.

Since Sam and I don't get paid for work around the house, we chose not to pay Eve for it, either. We want her to think of housework as something everyone in the family does, just because it's the right thing to do. There are other consequences for having a nasty attitude. Not doing homework would have its own consequence and I'm perfectly happy to let the school enforce that one. So far it hasn't been an issue.

Lots of potential answers, depending on your goals.

(btw, your word verification os moronske, which sounds like a Yiddish word for a stupid person)

Laura said...

I don't have kids but I think my parents had a pretty brilliant idea for deciding how much allowance I received, so I wanted to share it with you :)
When I was in elementary school a water ice truck would go down the street every day from spring through fall. It would also be parked outside my school when students were let out for the day. Beginning in kindergarten, I received a weekly allowance equal to the cost of two kids-sized water ices. I could use these whenever I wanted, but when the money ran out, that was all my water ice for the week.
I guess this only works if you've got a similar high-frequency demand, but I remember it working really well. I didn't ask for a lot, but before my allowance I wanted water ice EVERY TIME I saw the truck. With my allowance, I could have water ice when I wanted it, but knew that I couldn't have it all the time.
Maybe you should ask Ben what he would use his own money for, if he had it, and figure out a rate from there? If he thinks he'd use it for vending machine snacks, figure out how many times a week you'd like him to be able to afford that, and peg the allowance there. If he'd like to save for video games, think about how often you think is reasonable for a kid to be buying new video games, and set up his allowance so that's the minimum amount of time it would take him to save up for one.

Narya said...

CK didn't get an allowance w/ us; don't know if he does now (and he's a whole other level of spoiled, but a good kid nevertheless).

I digress.

He WAS required to help around the apartment, under the household rule, "In this house, everybody helps." He also knew of the rule about whoever cooks, everyone else cleans up, but enforcement of the cleaning up was spotty, because I didn't have full backing on that one. I did get him to help cook sometimes, though.

Mo said...

I agree with Jay that I personally wouldn't attach allowance to doing chores. We haven't started giving allowance yet, but I remember that my dad gave us 10 cents per week per grade in grade school and $1 per week per level (as in $1 freshman year, etc.) in high school. Isn't it funny how the times have changed? I'm sure we will give more than that, but I'm going to keep it fairly low.