Pocket money: monster or master teacher

Pocket money can so easily deteriorate into a manipulation game. However, it can also be a tool that you can utilise to teach children vital life lessons. The following principles are useful:

  • No household responsibilities – no pocket money. (Chores should not only be limited to cleaning up your own mess, but should include serving the rest of the family).
  • When basic tasks are left incomplete – no pocket money.
  • No bonus pocket money for extra jobs if basic responsibilities have not been carried out.
  • No bribery for obedience, in other words, don’t add or subtract money for obedience or disobedience.
  • Punish disobedience in other ways, otherwise children think that obedience only costs R2 or 50c!
  • Start to give allowances when children are cognitively capable of making calculations; when they can add and subtract; can estimate what things cost; they have a concept of whether or not they can afford something (around 7 years of age). Before this age they are too young to understand these
  • Don’t raise pocket money based on age, rather base increases on your child’s increased sense of responsibility. As soon as children wish to use their money for something other than buying sweets at the tuck shop, it is a sign that they can save and delay gratification.
  • Assist your children with setting up their budgets so that they can save for the holidays, gifts to friends and for other things that they would like to buy. They will also learn to understand that your boss doesn’t automatically give extra money every time you go on holiday. Children who receive enough pocket money will be able to save for special items and occasions (like you had to, right?)