Wednesday, November 28, 2012


To give allowance or not to, that is a question that seems to plaque every parent at some point in time. It is one that we have gone either way on over the years, but have mostly landed on the not side. The bottom line for us is money doesn't come because you exist, it comes because you work, and daily chores around the house are part of being in a family.

And even though I strongly feel that way, we've started giving the kids $2 per week. Doesn't make sense does it? Let me explain.

I found myself at a place of frustration with the kids. Frustration at whining, feet dragging, and complaining over school work and chores. I found myself nagging, and getting angry for needing to repeat myself 20 times before anything got done. No one thing was really enough for a consequence, but added up, times four kids was very frustrating.

A friend had told me about how she uses quarters to address this kind of issue. I started with her idea, adjusted it a little, and put it in place. This is how it works.

Each child has a container. Every week I put two dollars in quarters in the containers. When someone whines about their school work, or has to be asked repeatedly to complete a task, I take a quarter out of their container. If they run out of quarters, (which no one has yet) there are more serious consequences. At the end of the week they get the money that is left.

Admittedly, this plan was put in place mostly for the youngest two. I really didn't expect a quarter to mean much to the older children, but I have been surprised how well it really does work.

We've been using this system for a couple months now. On the one hand, I realize I am paying my children to do what they should do anyway. On the other had, I've found that my children are very motivated by money, and the peace this has brought to this household is well worth the potential loss of $8, and the slight change in our stance on allowances.

An added bonus is that the two younger children now have a way to earn a little money. The older two have the opportunity to earn quite a bit of money from farm activities. Before the quarters, the younger ones really only had their own money from birthdays or holidays. It has been good for them.

I'm still not a huge fan of allowances, but I am a huge fan of figuring out what works to keep my children motivated and on task. Who knew that all it took were a few quarters?

1 comment:

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