Deciding on an Allowance - A Newsletter for Parents of Third Grade Children
What Do You Think?
On Monday evening Megan is shopping with her Dad. After looking through the jewelry department at the store, she says, "Dad, I really want to get this pretty necklace. I know I've spent this week's allowance and don't get the next one until Saturday. But, can't you give me an advance? If I wait, the necklace might be gone!"
(See end of newsletter for a possible answer.)
Should you give children an allowance or should you just give them money when they need it?
It might help you decide the allowance question if you start by listing advantages and disadvantages.
Some advantages might be:
- gives child practice getting by on a set amount of money
- means child must make choices
- teaches child to learn from mistakes
- eliminates constant asking for money
On the other hand disadvantages might be:
- becomes a power struggle between you and your child
- feel pressured to give an allowance or keep up with what your child's friends are getting
If you've decided to give your child an allowance, start by talking about how it will be spent. You may want to put the agreement in writing. If you do, it might look like this:
Child's Name ___________________________
To be worthwhile an allowance should:
- be a set amount that is paid regularly (a third grader can probably handle a weekly allowance)
- cover items agreed on (remember to write these down)
- allow some extra with "no strings attached" (encourages making decisions)
- not be tied to regular household chores or be used as a reward or punishment (the purpose of the allowance is to learn how to manage money)
Dad says, "Megan, this is the third week in a row that you've asked for an advance so the answer is no. But when we get home let's sit down and review your allowance. We need to look at how much you're getting and what you're spending it on. I may need to raise your allowance or you may need to watch your spending more closely."
Prepared by Donna K. Donald, family life field specialist, and Vicki W. Sickels, former family support program associate, and edited by Laura Sternweis, communication specialist, Iowa State University Extension
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Stanley R. Johnson, director, Cooperative Extension Service, Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa.
This newsletter is published for families with first grade children by Iowa State University Extension. For more information about parenting education, contact your local county extension office or access the Iowa State University Extension to Families website, www.extension.iastate.edu/families.
Reprinted with the permission of the Iowa State University Extension. © 2008 Iowa State University Extension.
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