Star charts (say, for toilet training or tidying when they are toddlers) can be monetarised as soon as your child gets the concept of money being needed to buy things - often between the ages of 4-7. When taking your kids to the store to finally part with their cash - Barefoot Investor Scott Pape advises to insist kids use physical cash where possible. Piggy banks are preferred to bank accounts to allow a more tactile learning experience. Our tendency to ‘tap and go’ can make it hard for kids to learn the concept of ‘change’, and see the real value of the money changing hands.
How much is too much? What your family budget will allow and the chores expected of the child all need to be factored in. Roughly a dollar per age might be a suitable place to start. Also discuss what pocket money should cover. Most basics for living are covered by parents, but does the cost of tuck-shop, bus fares or a weekend movie come from their pocket or yours? Stipulating boundaries on what the child may spend their hard-earned money on is also wise to avoid arguments along the lines of ‘I bought it so I’ll eat it when I want!’ as they bite into a block of Cadbury chocolate right before dinner, or ‘it’s my phone so you can’t take it off me!’ when imposing screen-time limits. One tip for young players - beware of the trap of paying too much. Inflated prices set expensive precedents for future negotiations and you want to avoid raising divas that won’t get out of bed for under $20. Regardless of wealth, a general rule is to give your kids enough money to do something with their lives but not enough to allow them to do nothing.
What should I expect kids to do at what age? AWhile it can feel unproductive to spend more time explaining how to do a job than it would take to just do it yourself, parenting isn’t about efficiency. Teaching skills for living as independent adults is part of the job. The following list is a guide only and safety should always be the number one priority. Even if you feel your child has only a 20% chance of doing a task successfully, you should give them the chance to prove you wrong. They may surprise you.
46 April 2019 | mychild