Since the very early days of building Roosterbank we have been lucky enough to talk to lots of parents to find out how they manage pocket money. The big point to make at the beginning of all of this is that every family approaches pocket money differently. As one mum we spoke to said – much of it comes down to the personalities of your children and your family circumstances.
Here are some of the reasons parents have provided for giving pocket money:
- Their kids have got to an age where they want more independence and pocket money is a good way of loosening the reigns while retaining some control.
- To teach their kids the value of things.
- To encourage their children to learn the consequences of their decisions.
- To manage the family budget and track how much is spent on non-essential items for their kids.
- To teach that instant gratification doesn’t necessarily bring happiness in the end.
- As a means of applying fairness amongst siblings.
- To reward good behaviour.
Putting your children in the driving seat.
One common experience many parents share is the often painful negotiations held at the shop counter. In several cases this involved a bumper pack of plastic figurines carefully positioned by the shop assistant to grab an 8 year olds attention – the owner of the wallet often disagreeing with the demands of the hopeful recipient.
Giving pocket money to your children puts the onus on the child to make the decision – aside from being practical for you, it is also empowering for them and teaches children the opportunity cost of buying that item. It’s also worth reading this post on NetMums about encouraging children to understand that once they have spent their pocket money it is gone.
Encouraging fairness in the family.
Siblings are also very influential. Parents who managed presents and purchasing in an ad-hoc way complained that they lost count of what they had given and to whom. Getting into a pocket money routine means that you can track exactly who gets what and know its fair. This of course has its own problems if your eldest didn’t previously get pocket money. Here several parents have applied different rules, such as tasks and ensuring there are tiered amounts given. Check out our post on approaches to giving pocket money and how much to give if you are trying to get to grips with how much to give.
Teaching children the value of their possessions.
One thing to bear in mind (especially given the current economic climate) is that you don’t have to spend a huge amount to cover pocket money. Taking the entrepreneurial route could be an interesting way of getting them to think about the current value of their possessions. If they have toys and things they no longer use, you could take them to a car boot sale or get them to upload their unwanted stuff to Ebay – it will teach them the value of their possessions, while giving them the pleasure of earning some cash from it – the satisfaction of earning their pocket money will also be greater than just giving it to them!