he 11-year-old can do her family’s dishes for two quarters.
Devlin Hall, a sixth-grader at Clark-Pleasant Intermediate School, can clean her room weekly for $2 or shovel the sidewalk and driveway after a snowstorm for $5.
Her parents decided that, when she turned 10, the free allowance she was getting ended. Now, she has to do chores to earn her pocket money.
“We made the switch because she was getting into that older child stage, and it didn’t seem right to just give her money without understanding that we have to work for what we have and get,” said her mother, Lee Ann Hall. “ So the way to compromise was to create an opportunity. If she does the chore, she can be paid.”
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Not all parents agree.
Allowances have long been a way to reward children for doing extra chores and have been touted as a way to teach kids about money and that money comes from hard work.
Choosing not to give an allowance to kids is a calculated decision, too, parents said.
Anita Gazaway of Franklin has chosen not to give her 6-year-old daughter an allowance.
Neither of her two adult children had an allowance. If they needed spending money, she would give them the money on special occasions, Gazaway said.
Attaching a chore to an allowance gives children the idea that they should be rewarded for what they should be doing anyway, she said.
“We believe that, if you are part of the family, you should be doing your fair share,” Gazaway said.
Families who don’t have a lot of income may struggle to give their children allowances, and finding the right balance for teaching children about money can be delicate, said Greta Pennell, education professor at the University of Indianapolis.
She said allowances have gotten a lot of attention lately. If families do choose to give an allowance, Pennell offered parents some general rules.
Allowances should start the first time children are given their own money, such as when they are given money after losing a tooth or when they start showing an interest in money, she said.
And then, the general rule is the amount of the kids’ age, she said. For example, a 10-year-old would get $10 a week. But she cautioned that children shouldn’t get too much money.
Parents should use the money to teach children about saving versus spending and should mandate that the child saves some of the money, Pennell said. They need to learn to save for something they want and to understand that if they buy one thing, they can’t get the other item that they want.
“You want them to make those decisions,” she said. “You want to show them that money doesn’t grow on trees.”
Kristi Judson of Franklin is weighing if or when she will give an allowamce to her two children — the elder is 7. Her children have everything they need, and she doesn’t want to give them money for what they should be doing already, she said.
“We kind of view (chores) as a responsibility for being in this family,” she said. “(Chores) are not something you will be rewarded for.”
The Halls gave their daughter an allowance without restriction when she was younger but decided to tie it to chores to show that hard work pays off, Hall said.
But if Devlin has to be asked to do a task, she won’t get paid, she said.
“As adults, we work for our money. My husband and I wanted our daughter to learn that her future entails working for a living,” Hall said.
Earning an allowance has made Devlin more savvy with money, Lee Ann Hall said.
When she finds something she likes, she will price compare and know that she has to save enough money to go to the movies with friends or do extra chores, she said.
While the Gazaways do not give their children an allowance, they are careful to teach them about money, Anita Gazaway said.
When her daughter gets money from a relative or opens a birthday card with cash, she has to price compare on something she wants and must handle the entire transaction on her own, Gazaway said.