My 10 year old is becoming more money conscious and for that reason I am wondering whether it’s time to introduce a pocket money chart.
My older children did get pocket money but it was largely reward driven or as they chose to tell me driven by blackmail!
The YD is in my view very fortunate. She dances 2x a week, goes to Guides, has swimming lessons and has a guitar tutor once a month (and forgets to practice) At school she fences and goes to netball club and she is an altar server at church! On top of having a tutor for 11 plus practice there is little time for anything else and everything is paid for by me.
It is important though to appreciate the value of money and I have been looking for some ideas.
I suppose the thought behind this is as recently she was at her Dad’s and he said getting a lunch box out of a school bag and putting a dirty school dress in the wash and cleaning shoes was too much to expect for a 10 year old. Ridiculous in my opinion but I thought I would do some research
I found this article which is good:
Should you hand over pocket money to children on a reward basis?
Yes says Siobhan Feegard. Founder of Netmums.com and mother of three
In the supermarket this week my nine-year-old daughter came running over to my trolley with a DVD in her hand. “Mum! Hotel for Dogs is out – can we get it? Please, please, pleeeeeease?”
I explained that she could, if she wanted to buy it out of her own money.
“Mmm, how much is it?” She was suddenly interested in the price. She paused and thought: “£13! I can rent it for £3 if I want and it’ll probably be on TV soon anyway.” She put it back.
As usual, my kids are delighted to spend my money on whatever they can get in the trolley, but are much more sensible and thoughtful when it comes to putting their hands in their own pockets (or piggy banks). I like to think this is because they have, to some extent, earned their money and it therefore has a value to them.
My children’s pocket money is reward-based. They each have certain weekly jobs: they tidy their rooms, fold and organise their clothes and clear the table. They also know that if they are asked to do little jobs such as taking out the recycling or sweeping the floor, then that is part of the deal. None of their jobs are arduous and they don’t feel put upon. The concept is that we’re a team and we work together and as a reward and a thank you for their contribution they get their pocket money.
There are also opportunities to earn a little extra money sometimes, especially if they are saving for something special. Occasionally, I have to explain the difference between family teamwork and the opportunity to earn extra money – such as when I recently emptied a basket of odd socks on the kitchen table and asked the three children to work together to pair them up and was asked: “How much per pair?” But my raised eyebrow was greeted with good humour, the socks got matched and no money changed hands.
There are pitfalls to financially rewarding children that we need to be aware of: with any motivation for children the rules needs to be clear, transparent and very obviously fair. And I don’t want money to be associated in their minds with the giving (or withholding) of love.
Hence, my children’s pocket money is not based on them “being good”, which is in any case too difficult to interpret and unachievable for most normal children all day, every day for a full week. And I know myself well enough to know there will be certain fraught moments in every week when I yell: “Right, that’s it. No pocket money this week/month/year/ever again.”
I also don’t believe in paying my children to be kind, considerate and well-mannered. This is something we expect from them as part of our family and as little human beings. For motivation and reward for good behaviour such as going to bed on time, or learning times tables, I’d rather use a reward-based activity or experience that involves time together: a bowling, ice skating or cinema trip instead of money. Sanctions for bad behaviour will usually be addressed with a time out (“go to your room”) or withdrawal of favourite toys such as games consoles or mobiles.
In this age of disposable income, credit cards and buy-now-pay-later,
I really want to instil good money management skills into my children, and I believe allowing them to earn – and spend – their own pocket money is a great place to start.
No, says Mary MacLeod, Chief executive, Family and Parenting Institute
No. Pocket money is not a wage or a reward. It’s a gift. Giving pocket money is about giving pleasure. When I used to run into Ullapool Post Office, aged 10, and ask my father (he was the village postman) for a “tanner” to buy sweeties, he would look up from sorting the mail, delighted to see me, reach into his pocket and give me the sixpence with a wide grin. For him, the lad who had grown up with next to nothing, the pleasure of being able to give was immense. And I remember still the delight of giving and receiving.
Funnily enough, pocket money only became a common practice in families around the 1940s and 50s; perhaps it was a small cultural expression of satisfaction following the upheaval of depression, war and evacuation – children’s pocket money signifying peace and prosperity. Now, in another time, we seem to believe pocket money produces materialistic, spoiled children who take everything for granted. We worry about this as we do about almost everything to do with parenting.
If you Google “pocket money” you get sent to one place after another (out of millions) to learn how to manage pocket money, how to deploy it to improve children and get them into good habits. Without being against the lessons that can be learned through the judicious use of rewards, I believe we should worry less, enjoy more and see pocket money as one symbol of the “gift” relationships within families.
This symbolism is expressed in different cultures at the big festivals – weddings, christenings, naming ceremonies and funerals – where money is given in ritual ways to assist families with costs, help people embark on family life, and to express regard, esteem, care and hope for the future. Giving pocket money, we love the look on our children’s faces, the way you can see them thinking, almost out loud, as they decide at the sweetie counter. We love our children having fun, getting a longed-for toy or clothes they love to wear. We are touched when our children want to spend their money on a gift for us. So money is not just a commodity, it’s a token of love and attachment.
Of course, pocket money can be functional as well as symbolic. It teaches lessons about money – saving for something you want, having the freedom to make your own decisions. Withholding it can be a useful tool when parents are responding to bad or unkind behaviour. Extra pocket money is a great reward for kindness and helpfulness.
But if pocket money is only for good behaviour or in return for chores done, some of the pleasure and fun goes, despite the useful lessons learned about working for what you get. We don’t want children only to be helpful because there is a cash reward. Rewarding children doesn’t necessarily have to be with money – words of praise give as much or more as a cash handout. Children don’t need to have pocket money to feel loved.
Maybe we wish for a cash-free utopia where children don’t manipulate and whine and parents don’t use money to battle for children’s affection when they are at war with each other, or to assuage guilt. But money is not just the “root of all evil”, it is also the root of much pleasure and good. And nowhere more so than when we give to each other freely to show love and care and to exchange pleasure and delight.
I am going to ask the YD to make a chart based on these below, for her to identify her areas of responsibility will be a good start and we can negotiate pocket money after this. We will use £3-5 pounds a week as a start!
I do rather like these for guidelines! The last one is so sweet! I’m definitely learning to sit reverently x