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Family Project: Don’t make an allowance for children’s chores

Editor’s Note: The “Family Project” resumes twice per month on the Lifestyle page of the Focus section in Lehigh Valley Press.

Q: How should I handle giving my son an allowance? Is it better to make him do chores to earn his allowance or should he just get an allowance and have the chores be a separate matter?

Children need to become comfortable with making basic money decisions and an allowance is the perfect way to start, the “Family Project” panel agreed.

Use an allowance to teach about money and making good financial decisions.

It is not recommended that allowances be tied to chores, good behavior or getting good grades, said panel member Denise Continenza.

“You can start giving an allowance to a child as young as age five. Then he has money when he wants something. It builds financial literacy,” Continenza said.

Although some basic chores, such as cleaning his room, should be expected and not tied to money, the panel suggested allowing a child to earn additional money by doing extra chores.

“There are so few ways a child can earn money before he’s old enough to work. All he can do is wait for birthday and Christmas gifts. This gives him the opportunity to earn money and learn all the things that go with it like budgeting and saving,” added panel member Chad Stefanyak.

“Allow him to earn extra money by doing extra chores. However, there are always things that are expected with no pay. Make a list of chores for which he can be paid with the price next to them. This creates a work ethic and the idea that hard work brings rewards,” agreed Continenza.

Money can be given for grades, but it should be separate from the allowance, said panel member Teri Haddad.

“You never know what will works for kids,” Haddad said.

It may even be somewhat different between siblings, the panel added.

“You can’t be lost in ‘equal is fair.’ Jobs and money will be different for different kids,” Stefanyak said.

“There are always different circumstances. Kids like to say, ‘It’s not fair,’” Haddad said.

Other tips for giving a child allowances include:

- Give the same amount at the same time every week.

- Allow the child to decided what to do with the money.

- Increase the amount as the child gets older.

- Encourage the child to save by opening a savings account.

This week’s panel: Chad Stefanyak, school counselor; Denise Continenza, extension educator;

Teri Haddad, Community Services for Children’s vice president community initiatives & advancement; Kaitlyn Kelly, Community Services for Children’s assistant director of school readiness; Jasmine Hines, Community Services for Children’s administrative coordinator advancement.

Have a question? Email: jhines@cscinc.org.

The “Family Project” is a collaboration of the Lehigh Valley Press Focus section and Community Services for Children’s Project Child.

The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (Lehigh Valley Press) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the columnist and column do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Lehigh Valley Press. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health-care provider, with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.