The "A" Word - By Peter Geckeler
The topics of “allowances” has garnered much debate over the years. In fact - If you Google the word allowance, over 93 million results appear – many of which have their own view on the “correct way” to give an allowance to your child. There is no arguing that an allowance can be a great tool to teach children about the value of money and wisely stewarding their allotted funds – but an allowance can also lead to a mentality of entitlement.
Each child is unique, so it’s important to think through the right questions and stand firm on the implementation of your allowance method. In light of all the information about allowances, I wanted to offer five brief questions that you and your spouse could wrestle through and five short tips that could be helpful in implementing an allowance.
Question 1: Will you tie allowance to regular chores or only to extra effort beyond the normal chores?
Question 2: Based on our child’s maturity, when should we begin giving an allowance?
Question 3: Should the amount of allowance be based on our child’s age or other factors?
Question 4: What are some ways that we can teach our children basic money principals through the giving of an allowance?
Question 5: Should we allow our child to borrow against his/her future allowance?
Based on your answers to those questions, I wanted to offer some ideas:
1. Before handing over the first dollar of allowance, talk with your child about saving, spending, and giving. Help them begin to understand that money is a tool.
2. It can be helpful to give children their allowance in a broken-up manner. Give them four quarters instead of a dollar, or five one dollar bills instead of a five. This will make your child more likely to save or give a part of the allowance.
3. Consider the timing and context of when you give the allowance. It is a lot easier for the child to spend their earned allowance if they are given the cash while in the toys section at Target vs. giving it to them at home on a Sunday afternoon.
4. Give your child reasonable control on what they do with their allowance Even though it may be difficult, allow them to learn from their spending mistakes while they are young and don’t shy away from conversations about wise spending
5. Consider utilizing some of the technology resources out there, which allow you and can help them learn about.
Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” My hope would be that the allowance becomes more than just a weekly allotment of funds to your child, but rather a tool to begin their lifelong journey of biblical stewardship.