Pocket money in exchange for chores? Or handouts whenever they want it? What’s your attitude tomoney and your children?
He’s washed the car, cleaned his room and swept under the kitchen table. Now your child holds his hand out for
his weekly pocket money with a satisfied grin.
Meanwhile, further down the road, another child the same age is handed a five-pound note without having done any chores at all.
So which is the best attitude to kids and money? Should they be earning their dosh? Or should they be allowed a childhood where the meaning of money doesn’t matter?
Educational psychologist Lyn Fry says that we should start teaching children about the value of money from the very beginning.
She says: ‘It’s my belief you should be giving children pocket money from about age four.
‘Money is part of life. It’s on the maths curriculum at school — learning the value of coins — and so by giving kids money early on they can learn the concept of money.’
Lyn believes that at this young age, children can simply be given a small amount of money weekly as pocket money, so that they can understand what money is.
She adds: ‘Say you give them £1 and they want something that is £1.20, then the idea is not to top it up but to say they have to wait until next week so they learn early how to save for things and not overspend.’
But as children get older, should they only receive money for helping out around the house?
Some parents believe the answer is yes — that kids should only get money as a reward for doing something useful such as cleaning their room or helping tidy up.
Lyn says: ‘I think money can be used as a reward but I also think, if you can afford it, children should get a basic allowance. You can then use extra or reward money as part of a star chart for good behaviour.
‘The good thing about rewarding with money, rather than a toy, is that it’s universal and they can then spend it on what they want.’
But what about the parents who don’t want to make their children have to ‘earn’ money, or don’t even want them to worry about the concept of money while they’re so young?
Many parents feel that we spend enough of our lives concerned with money and they want to protect their kids from having this burden early on. However Lyn says this is not a good idea.
‘Children need to learn the value of money and how not to overspend,’ she explains. ‘Eventually your kids will have to budget their money, so it’s good to start teaching them early.’
Edited by Julie Cook