One topic that I often discuss with parents is whether it’s right to give children pocket money for completing chores at home. Every family will have their own opinion and what’s clear is that there’s no right or wrong way. Some parents will link receiving pocket money to chores, whilst for others this won’t feel right. In my mind, there is no hard and fast rule but what’s most important is once you’ve made your decision, you stick to it.
By linking pocket money to chores, it becomes a way of helping your child learn, inspiring a certain behaviour, and reinforcing that behaviour. At the same time, the child is involved (and important to) the day to day running of family life.
The other benefit of linking pocket money to completing chores is that it becomes your child’s first introduction to handling and using money. This means pocket money can then become a really effective way of teaching vital life lessons, particularly around the relationship between earning and then spending, saving and reaching a goal.
The big decision with pocket money, particularly when you have more than one child, is how much to give and how often so that it doesn’t become something that breaks the family budget. My rule is to give it little and often. Think about as like your salary; if you were given all your income, in one lump sum, once a year, you would struggle to manage it effectively and stay motivated in your work year round.
The best way for any child to learn is through doing, giving them the chance to (in a controlled way) make their own mistakes with money so they can learn from them. They may choose to buy something you wouldn’t but it’s their money and therefore their mistake to make and learn from. It’s vital that a child experiences what it’s like to have run out of money, so that they then appreciate the value of money and the need to save.
The discussion around when is the right age to give pocket money is one I’ll come back to but again will differ from child to child and from family to family. But, when it comes to 'earning money’ by linking pocket money and tasks, my recommendation for parents is that it is a great way of helping your child to learn about money and start understanding its value.