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Categories > Children’s Health > Growth and development

Making allowances

Want to give your child an allowance in exchange for helping around the house? Make it a learning tool, too. Done right, an allowance not only puts spending money in kids’ pockets, it also teaches them how to watch pennies and reach goals.

• Time it right. Kids younger than 6 or 7 probably won’t understand the workreward concept.

• Make it modest. Set the starting allowance at a few dollars. The idea is to teach kids to earn and save, not get a handsome reward for a minimal effort.

• Start slowly. Assign your child one chore the first week. At week’s end, pay the allowance, discuss job performance and decide if another chore can be added.

• Remember, it’s theirs. Once the allowance is paid, try not to “help” your kids decide how it’ll be spent. And never make them contribute part of their allowance to things like lunch money or school clothes.

• See nothing. So your daughter just spent all her saved-up allowance on CDs of the latest boy band? Don’t criticize—she bought something she wanted by working for it, which is the point of having an allowance after all.