Common questions and common arguments can surround the issue of pocket money. At what age should we start giving children pocket money? And how much should we give? As children get older and wiser they compare these answers with their friends. Likewise, parents will discuss these questions with other parents.
Here are ’10 tips’ regarding pocket money for children:
- If you have more than one child, be careful in what you agree to. You do not want to agree to more than you can afford.
- Decide if pocket money is something your child gets as an entitlement as they grow older or if it is something they must earn.
- If you decide that your child has to earn pocket money, ensure it is possible for them to have some level of success. But be careful, they cannot earn more than you can afford. Children should help with household chores, that is what family is about, so only certain agreed tasks earn pocket money.
- Talk in advance about what pocket money is for. Set boundaries around what it can be spent on. You cannot tell your child what to spend it on unless you have agreed this in advance. For example, if you have always bought ice-cream on Sunday now it is fair to expect them to buy their own.
- Encourage children to save their pocket money to buy things they really want as opposed to things they actually need. Encourage them to think wisely about how they spend their money.
- Pocket money can teach your child a lot about life if you choose to use it in that way. Support your child to understand the value of money. If you just keep refuelling their empty purses you may not teach them anything.
- It is okay to decide that you do not want to give pocket money. Perhaps you want to wait until your child is old enough to get a job, baby sit, wash cars or cut grass. A lot of children get money as gifts for birthdays and Christmas, maybe this can be used as pocket money.
- Children of different ages will get different amounts of money. If your child is old enough to have a part-time job, but they are not interested in getting one, maybe their pocket money needs to decrease. They need an incentive to work.
- How often do parents actually spend money foolishly on themselves? Not very often. If you agree to give pocket money do not begrudge them.
- Never take back pocket money for poor behaviour unless that was an agreed consequence. Children live by fairness. You have to agree the rules and live by them. You need to come up with a separate consequence for other behaviours. Do not barter everything on the pocket money or your child will not want it at all.
This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.