Many parents use chores, allowance, and rewards for good grades to teach their children good work ethics and money management skills. Parents of teens take a variety of approaches to chores, allowance, and rewards for grades, but there are some things all parents can do to help their teens develop good habits now that will benefit them later in life.
It is usually a good idea for teens to have responsibilities around the house, and many parents want to provide their teens with some money to teach budgeting skills, or as a reward for chores or good grades. In many homes, chores and/or good grades are expected, but teens may earn money or rewards by doing extra work. Regardless of how parents choose to manage chores, grades, and allowance, the following ten tips can help establish rules that will teach teens good habits.
- Make your expectations clear and reasonable. Sit down with your teen and discuss what chores and grades are expected of him or her, and what consequences will be in place for reaching or not reaching these expectations. Use a behavior contract to remind both of you of what you have agreed upon.
- When assigning chores, consider all the demands on your teen’s time. While teens do need responsibilities around the house, they also have to balance schoolwork, extracurricular activities such as sports and part-time jobs, and time to relax and have fun with friends. Talk with your teen about his or her chores and other activities and help him or her to find a good way to manage his or her time to make room for schoolwork, chores, and other activities.
- Decide with your teen which expenses, such as clothing, school supplies, lunch money, extracurricular activities, driving expenses, spending money, and college savings, will be your responsibility, and which your teen must provide for through allowance money or money earned through household work, good grades, or a part-time job.
- When deciding how teens can earn money around the house, consider your teens and what you want them to learn from the experience. An allowance can teach money management, but may foster a false sense of entitlement. Paying for grades or chores motivates some teens, but for others it slows the development of internal motivation.
- If you choose to give your teen an allowance, or pay him or her for chores, grades, or extra housework, base the amount you give on your family budget and which expenses the teen will be paying for out of the money, not on what other parents give their teens. Even if you are able to, do not pay for everything your teen wants.
- Be consistent in upholding the consequences you have agreed on with your teen. If your teen spends all of his or her money and wants more, only give him or her what he or she can earn under the agreement you reached. If you have more than one teen, keep your expectations consistent between them.
- Help your teen learn to budget his or her money. Explain wants versus needs, savings, and spending money wisely. Set a good example by budgeting your own finances.
- Consider requiring that some portion of the money earned from you go into a savings account. Many banks offer free savings accounts to teens under 18.
- Set some guidelines on what your teens may spend their money on, but let teens make their own financial decisions and see the consequences. Don’t bail them out of financial inconveniences, such as speeding tickets or wanting something they can’t afford. Dealing with consequences will help them learn responsibility and money management.
- Don’t use allowance as a punishment or reward for behavior – find non-monetary ways to deal with behavior problems.
10 Tips On Kids Allowance Sources:
- EHow.com, “How to Give Your Teen an Allowance” [online]
- Whole Family Parent Center, “Allowance and Chores,” by Dr. Sylvia Rimm [online]
- UC Berkeley, Berkeley Parents Network [online]
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation, For Parents, Allowance Advice [online]