The Importance of Teaching our Kids to Manage their own Money
How and When to Start?
Our oldest child is six. And, like most six-year-olds, she asks for a lot of things. And even though she understands the basics of how our family budgets our money, she still has a lot to learn. (If you missed my previous budget post follow this link ). We have developed a system that works in our family to teach our six-year-old how to manage her own money.
Stop the endless begging
We talk very openly about our family finances. We feel like this gives us control over our money and not the other way around. However, at times we have a Saturday of constant begging (from her) and questioning our budget choices (also her). So we decided it was time to stop telling her “no”, and instigate a system for her to earn her own money. We did not want to give her an “allowance” for no reason – she needed to have the responsibility in earning the money. Compensation without earning it is not how we roll. But we also recognize that she is six, and her “jobs” needed to be age-appropriate. I mean, she can’t have a lemonade stand every single Saturday, am I right?
What types of jobs are age-appropriate?
I consulted several resources and podcasts talking about age-appropriate skills. We started with her needing to complete various tasks every single day (6 days a week). She is held to a certain standard. On the first day, I demonstrated how things needed to be done. In order for her to receive payment on “payday”, her jobs needed to be completed to this level.
In order for her to receive payment on payday, she also must complete these jobs every single day. These may seem like basic responsibilities that any child should already be doing, but we felt like this was a good starting place.
- Getting dressed on her own (believe it or not, this was still met with some resistance…I know insert eye roll here)
- fixing her hair
- making her bed
- taking dirty clothes to the laundry room, and putting away clean laundry
- feeding the cat
- Cleaning Room
She earns $1.00 a week if she completes these chores. She also has the opportunity throughout the week to earn extra money by doing various tasks.
- entertaining her brother while I get work done around the house
- cleaning her baby brother’s room
- washing living room windows
- tidying up the back patio
- washing bathroom mirrors
There is a difference between needs and wants (only you can define that)
The plan is that every month or so we can add chores to her daily responsibilities. We obviously find great joy in providing everything our children need. But we also knew our daughter needed to start somewhere, learn how to feel joy in a good day’s work, and take pride in our home and take care of her things. Also, $1.00 was a great way to start saving. We know as she grows we will need to increase her earnings, but she will also need to increase her responsibilities.
Keeping track of completed chores
We have tried various chore charts and none have really made her excited. That is where Smore’s Up saved the day (not an ad just a fan). This is an app designed to help parents and children complete tasks throughout the day. Our daughter loves getting on the app and “checking off” her tasks! We then receive a notification when she completes a task. You can put a monetary value on each chore, and set goals and work towards them all on the app. She loves demonstrating her independence in this way.
Now she has the choice to bring her own money to buy a special treat at the movies (we buy the movie ticket but treats are extra), or she can save up all her money for a special toy she has been eyeing. We feel like we can honestly say “Did you bring your own money?” because she does have her own money. She also is learning that it’s fun to save up and purchase something later on. She even has been caught sharing 50 cents with her brother for a treat.
I think we are on the right track, but I do, however, look forward to the day when her paychecks don’t come from us.