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Pocket-money for independence

8 March
Posted by:
Michael Grose

“How should I give my children pocket-money?” is one of the most common questions asked at parenting seminars.

“Should kids receive pocket-money when they complete jobs and should they lose pocket-money if they are poorly behaved?” are also common queries.

Giving pocket-money is an excellent way to develop independence in children and young people.

Children should receive pocket-money as their small share of the family wealth just as they should share the workload at home. For this reason I prefer not to link pocket-money to chores or behaviour. This is not to say that the family income is divided equally between all members. Rather, children are given a realistic sum of money, given their age, needs and ability to deal with money.

Here are five ideas to help you use pocket-money to develop independence and also a sense of generosity in your children:

1. Give pocket money regularly: Weekly is best, or fortnightly to promote planning.

2. Use the three jars concept: one for spending, one for saving/investing and one for charity. Ask children to distribute their pocket-money among the jars. Giving children coins rather than notes makes this activity easier. This is a fascinating activity which gives you the chance to teach kids a great deal about money and its use.

3. Link pocket-money to age and stage of development and their needs (not wants): Provide guidelines about spending including letting them know just what they are expected to buy.

4. You can pay me back later: If you get sick of your children asking you for treats or even the latest fad or gadget suggest that they can make a purchase or at least make a contribution from their personal wealth.

5. Teach children about goal-setting: By encouraging children to save for a big ticket item (or even make a contribution) such as a bike or skateboard children learn a great deal about planning and looking ahead, the value of budgeting and experience personal satisfaction of reaching a goal.

When used wisely, pocket-money is an excellent way to develop independence in children and young people. And by the way, it may be smart to cut or reduce pocket-money when they turn fifteen and encourage them to get a part-time job so they begin to pay their own way.

  • adolescents
  • kids
  • pocket-money
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